BBC seeks to develop digital radio device (DAB) for Apple iPods

“The BBC is in talks with technology companies to develop a plug-in device that turns MP3 players into digital radios,” The Scotsman reports.

“While the BBC refused to name its potential partners, Apple, maker of the iPod, is understood to be one,” The Scotsman reports. “The device would be a small tube containing a DAB [Digital Audio Broadcasting] digital radio chip that clips on to an MP3 player. Users of the iPod already use tiny bolt-on transmitters, such as the iTrip, to play their MP3 collections through car radios.”

“BBC officials stressed last night that talks were in their early stages. However, the corporation believes part of its public service mission is to make digital radio as available as possible,” The Scotsman reports.”Simon Nelson, controller of radio and music interactive at the BBC, said: “We need to ensure there are devices that can enable people to listen to radio – especially on something they already carry around.’

Full article here.

Nelson, in a report in Broadcast magazine (via DTG News), “We are aware that the iPod makes up a significant proportion of the MP3 market and it doesn’t have a DAB chip. It’s very early stages, but we would like to enable everyone in the UK to listen digitally. We need to ensure there are devices available to enable people to listen to radio—especially on something that they already carry around. The problem in Europe is that radio is regarded as old-fashioned. Part of our job is to go to these manufacturers and explain that the situation in the UK is very different. We want to encourage manufacturers to use the UK as a beachhead. No one we’ve spoken to has told us that this is a barmy idea or that it is not going to work.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “spinaltap” for the heads up.]


  1. That’s the thing, in the UK radio stations get big ratings, ratings that are consistently going up whilst television ratings are going down. It has been mentioned on this site and others about how non-iPod players that include radio are pointless because people don’t really listen to radio and if they do it should be an add-on. In the UK it’s a totally different story. I would love a DAB player to go with my iPod or even in my iPod.

  2. Okay, though iTrip is fine to broadcast your own iTunes music and the iFM for listening to radio is around.

    Both of those products are made by Griffin Tech.

    In the UK there is still a missing piece or pieces of the digital media and that is with the iTunes Music Store – as yet there are no TV programs or movies made available via iTMS.

  3. Macjammer “…… the iFM for listening to radio is around. “

    Obviously that’s true, but this story is about DAB, which is digital radio and quite different to FM radio.

    All the national channels are available on DAB in the UK, but in addition, there are many more channels which are only broadcast on DAB and can’t be accessed via an FM receiver.

    This is a sensible development and one that should benefit broadcasters, listeners and manufacturers alike.

  4. Radio is not dead and is not dying. In fact radio has been attracting much more
    interest than TV in many slots. Big TV names now want to do radio programmes
    not TV. I think the quality of radio has alot to do with its resurrgence in the UK and possibly the change in the way we live our lives, i.e commuting.

  5. “why does Apple hate AM radio?”
    Or in other words, why only FM options.

    Good question! I wouldn’t mind the option to switch over to AM news, and for my daughter, Radio Disney (Steve’s other company) is only available on AM in the Los Angeles area.

  6. The reason BBC radio doesn’t suckass like everything else is because it’s not commercial – i.e. no adverts, no ratings-grabbing stunts, just good listening. Seriously, I think I’ve learnt more from Radio4 in the past week than from 18 years of schooling.

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