“BBC to provide free DAB radios to over-70s”

(Source: IBC via Tony Robbins)

  • BBC Radio to provide free DAB radios to over-70s
  • Radios to be given away due to isolation caused by coronavirus
  • Broadcaster partners manufacturers, retailers and charity for giveaway

The broadcaster’s local radio unit will give away free DAB radio units to over-70s nominated by local listeners, as part of the BBC’s Make a Difference campaign.

The project is running across all 39 of the BBC’s local radio stations in England, with partners – including Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis & Partners, Pure and Roberts Radio – setting aside thousands of radios to give away.

The radios will be distributed by loneliness charity Wavelength, while manufacturer Duracell has agreed to provide batteries for free for the radios.

Tony Hall, the outgoing director-general of the BBC, said: “Local radio is a lifeline at this time and has never been more important as a source of trusted local news and information, and also as a companion for people who are isolating.

”Make A Difference is already having a huge impact right across the country with 28,000 thousand calls in just five days. It is offering support and practical solutions to people who have nowhere else to turn.

“We want everyone who needs access to the radio to have it, that’s why we’re giving away DAB radios. I’m proud we’ve been able to coordinate this initiative with our partners who have been so generous in offering their resources.”[…]

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10 thoughts on ““BBC to provide free DAB radios to over-70s”

  1. KPC

    whilst that Sony looks a nice radio, it was used as a DAB radio picture with the article, I do not believe it is an actual radio that is being given away as part of this promotion.
    The article doesn’t mention Sony as one of the manufactures (only Pure and Roberts ) .
    The article referred to says nothing about Sony (or anyone else) donating DAB radios worth as much as 100 pounds.
    It is not clear what models of radio are actually part of this giveaway and whether they are DAB+ as well as basic DAB capable


    1. Thomas Post author

      You’re correct. Sorry–I haven’t been following comments closely. The Sony radio was just used as an image of a DAB radio. I’m not sure what model they’ll actually use. Sorry for the confusion.

      1. mangosman

        Thomas, I can see why you are not sure. The article refers to Pure and Roberts, and an examination of their current range is not the same as the photos used in the BBC and IBC links are different radios. So I suppose they have done the same thing with photos.

        Even so the Sony radio’s power consumption figures stand.

  2. Mangosman

    You really should check out the facts https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/dab-radios/xdr-s61d and you will see that this radio can be mains powered as well. It’s a great donation at a retail price of 100 pounds
    The radio contains a 5 V 0.7 A power supply which is 3.5 Watts. The audio amplifier produces 1.5 W to drive the speaker. There is some old fake information on digital radios using lots of battery power compared to analog FM radios. Remember that those radios have no electronic display and the tests were done on a radio which was not supplied with a DAB signal! The error correction would have been working overtime!

    Harald AM broadcasting started in 1920 we have come a long way since then however AM still uses a carrier which contains no sound and consists of 100 % of the transmitter’s output for silence and down to 67 % for the loudest sound. The total power output goes up by up to 150 %. This consumes a lot of electricity let alone the power required for fans to keep the transmitter cool. This is very wasteful and can produce a lot of carbon dioxide at the power station. The biggest disadvantage is that the transmitter can carry only one program!

    What is more important is that these radios will receive DAB+. Nearly all UK transmissions are in DAB mono, so an upgrade to DAB+ means that stereo can be transmitted at a much lower bit rate improving the poor sound quality. Australia has been broadcasting in DAB+ since 2009 an most transmitters carry 18 programs all are in stereo except for a few voice only programs.

    1. Harald

      Mangosman, this is all known here. Still, I doubt that because of the current difficult situation it is the right time for switching from one broadcasting system to a new one.

      1. mangosman

        In Norway they did not have AM, and they had a national chain of old FM transmitters which needed replacement. So they bought and installed a national chain of DAB+ transmitters and transmitted FM and DAB+ simulcasts for 2 years. They told the population that FM would be switched off from the North of the country to the South over the second year. 12 months after the last FM transmitter had been switched off, the ratings had returned to their previous values. Now there is only a Government and a Commercial DAB+ transmitter per site with many more programs to pick from. This is not dissimilar to the conversion of TV to digital.
        Remember that AM started broadcasting in 1920 and FM mono in 1936, FM stereo 1968

  3. Harald

    Wouldn´t it be a good idea to just keep on running the mediumwave stations the BBC wants to close?

    I suspect most people in the UK still have a receiver available for that band.

  4. arthur ascii

    Gonna need a lot of Duracell’s to keep those pieer hungry Dab sets going.

    That’ll keep the army busy !


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