Is DAB Radio Dead? (Can You Still Listen to It Today?)

You’re likely familiar with DAB radio if you grew up in the 90s. These radios were common then due in part to the fact that people lacked alternative channels to consume content. However, the situation is different today. These radios seem to slowly fade away as people turn to streaming. So this begs the question, is DAB radio dead?

DAB radio is not dead and is the future of radio in the 21st century. DAB radio came in at the right time when media technologies like television were transforming from analog to digital. Therefore, DAB technology will convert radio from analog FM/AM broadcasts to digital.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss why DAB radio is not dead. I’ll also talk about the reasons a DAB radio may stop working. Let’s get started!

Is DAB Radio Gone?

Contrary to popular belief, DAB radio is not gone.

According to research, DAB radio accounts for 65 percent of all digital listening hours. This is in comparison to digital television listening (14 percent) and Internet listening (17 percent).

Moreover, as countries launch DAB radios, people are more interested in them than analog radios.

Numbers never lie. Let me demonstrate to you through numbers why DAB radio is neither dead nor gone.

Over six years (from 2009 to 2014), the digital share of all radio listening hours was on an uptrend year on year in the UK.

In 2009, the share was 20.1 percent and increased tremendously to 36.6 percent in 2014. This trend was mainly attributed to access to DAB receivers countrywide.

Compared to DAB radio’s share, only 18 percent of the UK’s adult population claimed to listen to radio via mobile and tablet.

What does this mean? Many people in this country are more interested in DAB radios than analog FM/AM radios.

The graph below illustrates digital radio listening share in 2014.

Alt: Digital listening share in 2014. Source: Rajar

Why Is DAB Radio Not Common in the US?

Woman on beach wearing a white long shirt listening to a DAB radio in the sand
US residents have not had as much access to DAB radio as those in the UK.

If you’re a US resident, you might wonder why I claim that DAB radio is not gone yet its reach is not that much in the US.

You might have also heard people claim that the US doesn’t have DAB radio services.

The answer to this lies with the US radio broadcasters.

According to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), broadcasters in the US use in-band on-channel (IBOC) technology.

IBOC technology facilitates the simultaneous broadcasting of analog and digital signals.

The propagation of analog and digital signals simultaneously means wavebands will have similar frequencies. For instance, a radio station using 105.7FM will have 105.7 on the digital radio.

In a nutshell, your radio must be compatible with the IBOC technology to access DAB radio services in the US.

This requirement implies that most radio users in the US will be unable to access DAB radio services and, instead, listen to analog FM and AM radios.

Why Is DAB Radio Not Working?

Poor signal coverage is the main reason your DAB radio may not be working.

DAB radios use the principle of multiplexing and compression to combine the signals of multiple radio stations into a single-frequency waveband.

The radio can only receive these wavebands when signal coverage is strong.

Poor signal coverage is one of many reasons your DAB radio is not working. Other causes include the following:

● Poor aerial installation makes it hard for the radio to receive and decode the signals

● A problem with the transmitter

● Mechanical issues such as a broken or disconnected cable

● You need to re-tune or update the radio

● Poor positioning of the telescopic aerial

Troubleshooting Tips for a DAB Radio That’s Not Working

If your DAB radio is not working, try the following tips.

● Check the telescopic antenna and ensure it’s fully extended for the best reception.

● Verify the aerial installation and make sure it’s installed correctly.

● Check that the radio is set to the right frequency.

● Re-tune or update your DAB radio.

If you’ve tried the above tips to no avail, you need to boost your radio’s reception with an external aerial.

An external aerial can make a difference since it’s a radio frequency booster. Remember, the stronger the frequency, the better the reception, sound quality, and coverage.

However, it’s worth mentioning that not all external aerials will work perfectly with your DAB radio. You need a compatible antenna like these.

Oehlbach Digital Wire: This excellent throwing antenna improves DAB radio reception. The antenna has a quick 75-ohm connector that facilitates a perfect connection.

SLx Indoor TV Aerial: This wideband antenna receives frequencies from 470 to 790MHz. Its in-built amplifier is adjustable for optimum reception.

SLx 27895K4 Outdoor Aerial: This aerial offers a 360-degree reception for omnidirectional signal strength.

Is Digital Radio Still a Thing?

Closeup of digital radio display in red reading 97.5
Digital radio still remains prevalent even to this day.

Digital radio is still a thing because it represents the new face of radio. As media channels like television adopt the digital shift, radio is following suit through DAB.

As technology changes, so do the way people listen to the radio. Recent radio listening trends indicate that radio is going nowhere but evolving to meet the needs of its audience.

A recent study revealed that radio reaches 92 percent of US citizens weekly. As technology advances, these people will need digital radio to continue enjoying their favorite stations and music.

Final Thoughts

DAB radio is not dead and might never die. The only thing that’s happening is that radio is evolving with technology to cater to the needs of its audience.

With the increasing availability of receivers in countries like the UK, DAB radios will continue having a significant share of listeners despite stiff competition from streaming services.

Therefore, you can still listen to DAB radio today.

Now that you know about DAB radio, check out this review for the Roberts Elise DAB radio.

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