Call for digital Walkie Talkies in phones

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The BBC’s new director of radio has called for mobile phones to come installed with digital radio receivers because the experience of streaming radio on smartphones is so poor.

Helen Boaden said radio faced a battle for the attention of young audiences.
“As you know if you’ve tried to listen, buffering, data charges and bill shock are all too common problems when listening on mobile phones,” she said.
“It’s just not good enough and the young will not be interested.”
Ms Boaden’s comments to the Radio Festival in Salford come as the European radio industry begins negotiations with handset manufacturers about installing digital radio chips as standard.

“Together with a coalition of radio broadcasters from around the world, we’re developing new standards to transform this experience and to encourage manufacturers to build digital website into their phones as part of the standard offer in the UK,” she said.

So far, built-in DAB receivers have been restricted to a few phone models.
Offered resignation Ms Boaden became head of BBC Radio in April after being moved from her post as head of BBC News in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

She told delegates she offered her resignation in the week the ITV documentary about Savile’s abuse aired. BBC Newsnight had earlier dropped its investigation into the presenter.
“I offered my resignation… not because we’d suppressed the journalism but because as the head of news I felt we’d made a bad mistake – we’d missed a story, and it was on my watch,” she said.
“They turned it down because they said, ‘If you leave now it will look like we did suppress the journalism’.”
She said she was allowed to take another senior post at the corporation because she had been a “good citizen over many years”.

Asked after her speech whether she had been “palmed off” on BBC Radio, she replied: “People have to judge me by how I do the job.
“It’s not nearly the easy job that people think because a we’re facing huge financial challenges in the BBC, we’re facing this digital revolution and I think we always have to shout hard in an organisation that’s obsessed with television.”
During her speech, Ms Boaden, a former BBC Radio 4 controller, said the radio industry “is being challenged like never before”.

“I’ve returned to find our radio industry in the midst of probably its greatest ever period of change, or certainly since the birth of commercial radio 40 years ago,” she said.
‘Twitter DJs’ Meanwhile, BBC Radio 1 has announced it is to hire its first “social media DJ” to talk to its audience on Facebook and Twitter.
The station’s controller Ben Cooper said he would hire one for Radio 1 and another for sister station 1Xtra.
He told the Radio Festival radio stations have to “win the battle on the mobile phone if you are to stay relevant with young people today”.

“We employ DJs to talk to our audience, communicate with our audience, relate to our audience,” he said.
“[They] set a conversation going with our audience on the airwaves, and they represent our brands on the airwaves.
“What I want to do now is employ two people, one for each station, to just look after the social media.”