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Industry leader calls for digital radios in phones

The BBC’s new director of radio has called for mobile phones to come installed with digital radio receivers because the experience of streaming radio on smartphones is so poor.

Helen Boaden said radio faced a battle for the attention of young audiences.

“As you know if you’ve tried to listen, buffering, data charges and bill shock are all too common problems when listening on mobile phones,” she said. 

“It’s just not good enough and the young will not be interested.”

Ms Boaden’s comments to the Radio Festival in Salford come as the European radio industry begins negotiations with handset manufacturers about installing digital radio chips as standard.

“Together with a coalition of radio broadcasters from around the world, we’re developing new standards to transform this experience and to encourage manufacturers to build digital radio into their phones as part of the standard offer in the UK,” she said.

So far, built-in DAB receivers have been restricted to a few phone models.