Look Beyond Digital Radio UK Spin urges Rogers

Look Beyond Digital Radio UK Spin urges Rogers

10:35am 30th November 2009

Chief Executive of UKRD and The Local Radio Company, William Rogers, has urged radio operators to "look beyond the spin" of lobby organisations like Digital Radio UK as the debate about local radio's future heats up ahead of the publication of the Governments Digital Britain Bill due in the Queens Speech this coming week.

"The recent speech by Lisa Kerr, an acknowledged good advocate and campaign director of Digital Radio UK, highlights by omission, as many issues which people running local commercial radio stations should be really concerned about, as those it attempted to clarify on digital radio's behalf," said Rogers.

"What was telling was the complete lack of acknowledgement that the very proposal that she was advocating, namely "Why Radio must go Digital" is itself completely out of step with reality as the fact is that a lot of radio is not able to go digital and no-one, least of all Digital Radio UK, is seeking to address that fact," he said. "This is a really serious situation and we all need to wake up before we sleep walk into a disaster."

"It is extra-ordinary that we have an organisation advocating a position which implies it is speaking on behalf of the radio industry and yet completely ignores the fact that the policy it is supporting and advocating will leave potentially over a hundred local commercial stations denied any such future. This is poor policy planning and for many years has highlighted a real lack of concern for genuinely local commercial radio. It is not surprising that the likes of UTV, UKRD and The Local Radio Company feel they all need to speak out. Only one conclusion can be drawn from this position and that is that the hundred odd stations that Digital Radio UK obviously cares little about, are not considered an important enough part of commercial radio to be included in what Digital Radio UK want as the industries future."

"Only just over 13% of the population listen to DAB radio after ten years of hammering away. And yet, here we are talking about a review in 2013 with a possible switch-over in 2015. Let's not get conned into talking about digital listening at levels of 20% plus and assume it relates to DAB. It does not. DAB listening is just over 13% and we all need to remember that. In many parts of the country, you get a poor signal and in too many parts you get no signal at all. There should be no consideration of any analogue switch-off date until the infrastructure is fully in place and everyone's future route clearly understood."


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