Sunday 16 March 2014

FM and DAB Should Operate Side by Side

UK commercial radio debating the future of radio
At the Westminster Forum on the future of the UK radio industry DAB lobby organisation Digital Radio UK’s Ford Ennals said that radio should be united for a digital future, with more choice and national and local coverage buildout. The future for radio is digital but it is also collaborative. Big and small, local and national working together to ensure radio does remain competitive and relevant in a multiplatform digital age.

However, Phil Riley, the founder of UK commercial radio group Orion Media, said a radical new approach should be adopted embracing a “multi-platform world”, in which FM/AM and DAB operate side by side for at least the next decade. Phil calls on the Government to delay the “Flawed” switchover policy.

He said the radio industry should stop planning for switchover any time soon, get on with running their businesses in the most sensible way for them, and the Government should end regulatory uncertainty by agreeing to keep the FM frequency for the foreseeable future, and issue new longer term FM licences as a result.

When consumers simply expect content to be delivered whenever, wherever, in the most convenient manner possible, why have we in radio come to the conclusion that we can simply impose a diminution of platform availability on people, simply because it’s currently costing us more money. I’m not sure it’s a defendable position, said Riley: I believe multi-platform availability is simply the price we need to pay for being in business in the 21st century.

Let’s end the uncertainty of switchover by scrapping it for now. Relieve existing local layer DAB service providers of the threat of increased costs, and free the industry from the stranglehold of licensing/formats in this new world of plenty. Radio is in great shape right now – let’s keep it that way.

Consultant James Cridland said that the mobile phone is a threat to traditional radio, along with the car. He says radio needs to be part of the “connected dashboard” of new cars, some of which now just have an “audio” button rather than a dedicated “radio” button.

Read the full story: Radio Today UK