The switch to digital television may have a detrimental affect on theatre – and not simply because audiences may be tempted to stay home with the increase in TV viewing choices. Bandwidth on the analogue spectrum is licensed to the various sound companies that currently supply wireless microphones to theatres as well as broadcasters. There’s a fear that, as the airwaves freed up by TV’s total switch to digital in 2012 are made available to others, especially the cash-rich mobile phone providers, theatre producers and companies will be outbid and unable to afford rising costs. According to Andrew Lloyd Webber, in an interview this week with the Daily Telegraph: “The long and short of it would be the end of musical theatre in this country. Wireless mikes are an intrinsic part of what an audience now takes for granted. We can’t go back to (the cabled microphones) of the 1950s and 1960s: it would be like asking audiences to go back to a version of the musical stone age.” It’s been proposed that a suitable proportion of the analogue spectrum be reserved at more affordable rates particularly for the theatre industry.