What we need...
...is an enterprising hacker-type to see if there is a way to take down huge chunks of the FM radio transmissions in the UK. A proof-of-concept "this is what it will mean" when people actually realise what the transition to DAB will be.
I know a dozen people with DAB receivers... back in their boxes, in the loft or the back of the cupboard by the kitchen.
I'm very pleased for those who have DAB, and the bloke that got the old lady up to speed with her DAB. But the sad reality is likely to be quite different. Like Freeview, some people will be lucky enough to have good clear reception (although FM quality it isn't). Some people will get reception provided the weather is good and no other electrical device in 50 metres is operating. And some will just get nothing. Sad reality because I think the first group is a much smaller number than the last group.
With FM you can put up with the odd bit of interference. Hissing in the sound. Maybe, like if you use an underground tunnel in a railway station, it'll get quite hissy, but still enough to hear your programming. DAB, being digital, suffers from the same problems that blight Freeview (and badly installed satellite). That is, the ability of the receiver to recover from errors means that it can accept a variety of qualities of input signal. But stray a tiny bit beyond what the error correction can cope with and you'll get jibberish. A tiny but further, nothing. It'll just give up because trying to play a totally messed up signal would be painful. There's no fade-out, just good to gone with a tiny hiccup of crap. But, hey, you probably know the same issues for mobile phones, where it goes "twangy" before dropping the line on you.
The march of technology is often a good thing. I'm writing this on a miniature computer that is connected to absolutely no wires of any kind while waiting for my rice to cook. I have an MP3 player providing music (the computer could do it, I suppose, but it means swapping SD cards). The one in the computer, a thing smaller than an old 50P coin, contains around 9 hours of stuff recorded off the telly. Digitally. British telly, many hundreds of miles away from Britain. Technology rocks, so long as it isn't a bomb with AI. That wouldn't rock.
However, and this is very important, all of the above examples I just listen provide enhancements. A small portable, yet powerful, computer. A little thing with a hundred or more songs on it. Think of nine hours of video tapes compared to an SD card. Think of a video deck compared to a decent digital recorder. I can't get French TV, too far from any sort of signal, but I can get - in lovely quality - all the BBC regions, plus loads of other channels. I grew up with the BBC micro and the leap in tech from then and now is nothing short of amazing.
But to take good, efficient, widely available radio and replace it with something that offers worse quality when it is working, much more restrictive zones of operation, much more sensitivity to sources of interference (what FM was designed to get around, as AM is quite susceptible), not to mention laughing in the face of efficiency (the chip may be so efficient that it's an embedded system designer's wet dream, but it's still not a patch on any cheap FM radio)... Really, I think Hermann Hauser would call this evolution a "retrograde step".