Largest grouping of radio operators yet declare DAB is not right platform for local commercial radio

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1:04pm 20th September 2011

Responses to Ofcom’s consultation on DAB transmission build out shows clear and growing support amongst owners and operators of local commercial radio for the dumping of DAB as the future platform for local commercial radio in the UK. The consultation has prompted operators to publicly declare, for the first time in such significant numbers, that DAB is not an appropriate platform for local commercial radio delivery.

The consultation issued by Ofcom, confirms the need for a costly build out of hundreds of transmitters to deliver equivalent service coverage and growing numbers of operators are now calling for a change of policy and the removal of a switch over to DAB for local commercial FM services.

“What this consultation shows us is that DAB is a hopelessly inappropriate platform for the existing FM local services to migrate to and it’s time that local commercial radio services were excluded from the present DAB planning process and allowed to continue broadcasting on FM,” said William Rogers, Chief Executive of UKRD.

The response to Ofcom, urging the abandonment of DAB as the future local radio platform, has been signed by radio groups from England, Wales and Scotland including Tindle Radio Group, Town and Country Broadcasting, Brighton and Hove Radio, Celador and UKRD, the country’s fourth largest operator of commercial licences, together with others, representing 52 stations between them.

“DAB is clearly a nonsense for genuinely local commercial radio services and the growing realisation amongst operators that this is a car crash waiting to happen has now bubbled to the surface and needs to be taken seriously,” said Rogers. “It’s quite clear now that a growing number of existing local station operators do not want DAB as their future platform.”

“There are many of us in the industry who are clear about what needs to be done and I hope that the Government won’t take too long before it realises the errors that are being made and allows local radio operations to be left alone to continue to broadcast on the excellent, and far more appropriate, FM platform.”

“We don’t need, want or support this change. Things are tough enough as it is without the Government heaping more costs, uncertainty and damage on the local commercial radio sector. DAB for local commercial radio is inappropriate. It should be dumped.”

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