Scots radio stations join opposition to digital broadcasting plans

TWO Scottish radio companies have added their voice to growing disquiet about UK Government plans that stations no longer broadcast on the FM and AM frequencies, but on digital, instead.

Dundee-based New Wave Media, which operates Wave102, and the Shetland Islands Broadcasting Company are both signatories to an appeal being fronted by two of the UK’s four biggest radio groups, UTV Media and UKRD.

They are doing so as the Digital Economy Bill makes its way through Westminster.

One of their biggest concerns is that some radio stations will not have access to – for want of a better description – a digital transmitter, in order to broadcast to DAB radios.

Other signatories include Atlantic FM, Brighton & Hove Radio Ltd, Isle of Wight Radio, 107 The Bee, The Local Radio Company, 96.2 The Revolution, Tomahawk Radio Ltd and West Berkshire Radio Ltd. In total, some 53 radio stations are involved: almost a fifth of all local commercial radio licences in the UK.

The proposed switchover date could be as early as five years, but it depends on there being a majority of consumers in any transmission areas with DAB radios.

UTV Media and UKRD are the third and fourth largest radio groups in the country by the number of licences issued by broadcasting regulator, Ofcom. In Autumn, both companies resigned from the commercial radio industry body, RadioCentre, due to – say the pair – “their opposition to the [RadioCentre’s] support for the Government’s switchover proposals in their current form”.