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BBC and other stations to launch radio scrappage scheme

The scheme aims to create technology awareness among listeners who are not keen on digital radios.

The BBC and other commercial radio stations are to launch a scrappage scheme this Saturday. It encourages listeners to exchange their old radios for discounted digital sets as part of efforts to persuade listeners to make the switch to digital radio.

The scheme, which is akin to the government's car scrappage scheme, aims to create technology awareness among the listeners who are not keen on digital radios.

The radio industry together with manufacturers and retailers, including Pure and Roberts and chains such as John Lewis, Tesco, Comet and Argos, will offer discounts between 10 and 15 per cent on new DAB sets. The analogue FM signal will be turned off in 2015.

The government is keen on the DAB coverage reaching 90 per cent of the population by 2013. It also wants to ensure that 50 per cent of listening should be digital, compared to just 24 per cent currently.

However, industry authorities are expecting a backlash from loyal FM listeners. The cost of disposing millions of radios is also a problem. The government plans to send the old radios to children's charities in Africa under the name "radio amnesty".