It has its uses...
Anonymous Coward: "First we have to have digital TV whether we like it or not. Now digital radio."
Digital television, at least here in the States, was pushed (in part) as a means to fix the adjacent UHF channel issue. Historically, you couldn't have two analog stations close to each other on the UHF band because they would clobber each other. This was due to limits with "SuperHET" tuners and just the general characteristics of AM television transmissions. That's why in North America, UHF channels were often 6 channels apart from each other. Therefore, by switching to DTV, radio licensing authorities were able to consolidate UHF channels, allowing them to sell bandwidth in the upper UHF television band (ch52-69/700-800MHz) for big money. Governments get cash, commercial interests get a new product to sell, and we get new bandwidth for our wireless gadgets.
Meanwhile, digital radio really isn't being pushed by government officials. This is strange because it could be used as a way to radically expand radio channel capacity. Your average wideband FM radio station in the VHF Band II (88-108MHz) uses a 200KHz channel slot. By switching to a digital radio standard that uses 50KHz channel slots, you could get 4x as many stations.
You could also use it as an opportunity to expand the range of radio stations. Here in North America, most of the TV stations dumped the VHF Band I (ch2-6/54-88MHz) for DTV transmissions because of atmosphere reflections and other issues. Imagine having 1,000 radio stations by combing both Band I and II together. Even if your metro area only used a quarter of them to keep adjacent channel interference down, that would be a huge gain over what we have today.
I think one reason why digital radio has sucked up till now is because many have been MPEG-2 layer-2 based. Unless you have a very wide channel, it doesn't leave enough room for both audio and high amounts of error correction. Since the channels were too narrow, you had crappy sound.
Now that we have a newer generation of standards, including HDRadio, DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting Plus), DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) and DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale), all of which use MPEG-4 HE-AAC (or a proprietary variant of HE-AAC for HDRadio), broadcasters are able to include enough error correction so that a light breeze doesn't cause the signal to fall over.
Problem is, there are too many standards. And there are too many bands for audio. Too many interests with too much money at stake. Every country wants to do it a different way. So, expect that multiband radios will become a fixture in our future if you plan on any sort of international travel, or if you live near a border.