Digital radio “doesn’t get perfect reception”

The UK’s advertising watchdog has swatted away claims that digital radio is interference-free.

Digital radio

The offending advert, which was produced by the The Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), claimed that analogue signals suffered from bad interference and the service faded out in certain areas. The ad featured a voice being continuously cut-off by crackling interference, stating digital radio provides “crisp” and “clear” sound in comparison.

Three complaints were lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), claiming the ad was misleading because digital radio also suffers from interruptions.

We considered that the claim gave the misleading impression that listeners would never experience any interruption to a (digital) signal when that was not the case

The DRDB refuted the claims, stating that “a digital radio was not subject to the background hiss and interference that might be audible with an analogue radio.” It also claimed that digital radio wasn’t subject to interference from pirate stations, as pirates couldn’t afford the costly equipment required for digital broadcasts.

However, the group conceded that digital radio also suffered from coverage blackspots, with some areas of the country unable to receive certain stations.

The ASA upheld the complaints on the grounds that digital signals could drop out “whilst travelling… [and] when entering a built-up area or walking between tall buildings”.

“We considered that the claim [made in the ad] gave the misleading impression that listeners would never experience any interruption to a [digital] signal when that was not the case,” the ASA adjudication read.

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