I grew up with the BBC – it was truly an Auntie. I still love bits of it, and Radio 4 has been a very important comforter in recent months. I love Listen Again. But I am on the verge of falling out with Auntie. I am about to give up my house, and with it my WiFi, and am moving onto my lorry. I bought a mobile broadbrand lease, and since then bought an iPhone, and looked forward (in particular) to Listening Again. But I find that the BBC iPlayer doesn’t work on mobile broadband. I’m not asking for telly – that’s a luxury that I can, in the main, do without. I do understand that TV is more data heavy, etc etc. However, I have watched severa Channel 4 programmes very successfully on my mobile broadband. I just want a bit of radio.
This incompatibility between the Beeb and mobile broadband needs to be sorted. Or perhaps it’s a conspiracy – the IT chaps are deliberately keeping out mobile broadband so that DAB’s future is secured. But I really don’t want DAB. First, I think, like the mini-disc, it’s a technological dead-end – even now it’s being replaced by DAB+ (not compatible with your DAB sets). More and more people will be listening to radio over the internet – especially the mobile internet. Those who won’t are probably the sorts of people who don’t really go for technology, in which case, they won’t be fussed – at best – about changing their FM sets over to DAB. Secondly, I don’t want to buy a radio set when I’ve got several very good ones – and it means having to change the car (or lorry) radio too: I just can’t afford this. Thirdly, DAB radios use vastly more electricity than FM radios. I live on a lorry with no mains electricity. I have two batteries, and am miserly about electricity. If I’m not listening to the radio on the internet (itself quite energy-consuming enough), then I’ve wound up my wind-up radio and am smugly glowing green as I listen to Paul Temple.
The sound quality is apparently better on a DAB radio. Perhaps; I’ve never found sound quality an issue with FM, and I much prefer the interference fuzz on FM to the awful broken sound on DAB. DAB also gives us more choice of stations. I don’t want any more stations – there are too many as it is. I rarely listen to any channel other than Radio 4 (I can’t bear Radio 3 any more).
Why can’t the Beeb spend the money it’s wasting on promoting DAB on actually making iPlayer work properly? Then we don’t have to replace our sets and everyone’s happy. Well, I am, at any rate. For the moment, I’m glad that I don’t have to pay a licence fee – the BBC really isn’t meeting my needs.