The Institute of Broadcast Sound (IBS) is pressing the government to consider the impact of analogue switch-off on the use of radio microphones, writes Barbara Marshall

At a seminar held on Wednesday

The Institute of Broadcast Sound (IBS) is pressing the government to consider the impact of analogue switch-off on the use of radio microphones, writes Barbara Marshall

At a seminar held on Wednesday (6 March) by the Joint Frequency Management Group (JFMG), the IBS hoped to highlight the effect switch-off will have on its members, many of whom have invested thousands of pounds in UHF channel 69 radio mic equipment. Under the government's proposals, the analogue radio mic frequencies will be switched off before digital kit is available, making much of the existing kit unusable.

IBS chairman John Andrews said his members were extremely concerned about the lack of awareness of this problem and the 'unreasonably short' consultation period - the proposals were published just before Christmas and responses are due in by 12 March, although there are suggestions this deadline may slip.

Under the current system, radio mics can use unused frequencies in amongst TV channels as well as using the dedicated channel 69. However, digital TV uses a blanket system across the whole allocated frequency range, leaving no room for radio mics. Andrews said the IBS would be pushing for some UHF frequencies in the existing band to be retained specifically for the use of radio mics.

The use of radio mics has grown rapidly in recent years with many TV programmes and theatre productions reliant on them. Furthermore, less than half of radio mic usage is believed to be licensed, further hiding the scale of the problem.