It’s often been said that commercial radio in the UK can never hope to compete with the license fee financed BBC radio stations and that it would be nigh impossible for a commercial radio station to take on the likes of radio 4.However Channel 4 had planned to do just that and had been granted channel space on the DAB radio service as a majority shareholder of a consortium that included BSkyB, Carphone Warehouse, Bauer Radio and UTV Radio who own TalkSport.
Bits And Pieces
Dab radio is split into various multiplexes. The BBC has one of these and fills it with 11 digital radio stations. The other multiplex is joint owned by Global Radio
and Arqiva and is there to accommodate the commercial radio sector.
Over the past year the number of stations on this multiplex has dwindled to just four as falling advertising revenues, a slow down in the public take up of DAB radio sets and the high carriage costs charged by Arqiva have forced many commercial radio stations to question the commercial viability of the DAB platform.
I’ve always been a big radio listener and we’ve probably been spoilt by the quality and output of BBC radio stations and their increasing prominence too within the BBC iPlayer
which frees many of us from the need to catch all programmes as they go out.
It’s a great shame that DAB radio now looks lacklustre and less than cutting edge as promises of better quality were undermined by cutting bandwidth in order to cram more stations into what is now a very dated technology choice (mp2 audio) and a decision to replace this system with a bandwidth friendly and more cost friendly AAC+ system now seems dead in the water as sale of DAB sets remains stagnant despite high initial take up.
Some European countries have added digital radio alongside existing analogue channels (FM+) by broadcasting the digital signal as part of the FM sub carrier in order to keep the cost of offering digital radio as low as possible .