Chaos? – Government announces analogue switch off
Not radio mics this time but something that is going to directly affect way more people. The Government has announced that all radio stations in the UK will be digital only by 2015. Most radios in the UK by far are analogue and they will all become pretty useless (in this country) in 2015 when the signal is switched off.
Just think how much junk that is going to generate. I don’t know how many analogue radios there are in this country but I personally own at least four so that’s got to be a lot of technology to throw away. I don’t want to throw it away either, we throw way too much away. My car radio also plays CDs and talks to my ipod, but what it’s doing most of the time is bringing me the wonderful radio four. I’m not sure I can even drive without it! On my allotment I listen to a wind up radio. I thought I was being green by buying it, but now I find that I am going to have to replace it with digital in 8 years time.
Sad that as I write that I’m thinking that 8 years is an ok lifespan for a piece of technology. Technology moves at such a pace we replace things like mobile phones and computers way more often than that, but radio had so far remained apart, sets my parents had when I was a child still continue to work with pleasurable reliability.
It’s an overwhelming shame, the radio is such a simple piece of technology and so cheap to make and power. I grew up in a house with radio in every room and while that may not change, with stations streamed over wi-fi a beautiful simplicity will be gone. As a child I built a crystal set and marveled at being able to hear a scratchy signal from something with so few components. Will the children of tomorrow have anything to listen to if they make such a set?
Don’t get me wrong, I love new technology. I love that I can listen to radio online or via freeview. I love that I can download programmes as a podcast or “listen again” these things have brought radio up to date. I shall miss the simplicity of analogue, it always works it’s not reliant on wi-fi or broadband or even mains electricity. If people are still broadcasting, we can hear them, can we really not have both? The FM spectrum we are told is going to be used for “ultra local” and community stations, so at least the amount of analogue radios that are bound to still be in use in home and cars in particular may help to boost their audience.
The blurry picture at the top of this rant is a crystal radio set I made a year or so back, well it would be, but the diode is missing, but you get the idea of how simple and how few components it has. It also needs an aerial that’s a piece of wire that goes all the way down the garden….. but try receiving a digital signal on something that simple that you can build with instructions from a ladybird book. The end of an era I say.