The majority of new commercial vehicles come with DAB as standard
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The majority of new commercial vehicles come with DAB as standard
The majority of new commercial vehicles come with DAB as standard

The majority of new commercial vehicles sold now come with DAB as standard, according to new industry data.

In Q3 2018, 54.3% of commercial vehicles were line fitted with DAB as standard, up from 50.5% in Q2 2018, according to the latest data from CAP and The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show. This means that 175,000 new commercial vehicles with DAB as standard have been sold in the last 12 months.

The CAP/SMMT data on new cars showed that the percentage of new cars with DAB in Q3 2018 has increased to 91.4%, up from 87.5% compared to the same quarter last year. This means a total of 545,000 new cars with DAB as standard were sold in Q3 2018.

According to Rajar Q2 2018 data, 23.7% of all radio listening takes place in car. Vehicle manufacturers made the decision to fit digital radio in new cars in response to the increasing popularity of digital radio, the increase in the number of exclusive digital radio stations, and the expansion of DAB transmitters to cover the major road network.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, says:

“It’s great news that the number of commercial vehicles with digital radio as standard is now 54.3%, bringing the benefits of digital radio to thousands more drivers who rely on their van for work every day. Our priority now is to continue to work with broadcasters and the automotive industry to develop the digital automotive radio experience and ensure we preserve radio’s place on the dashboard in the emerging connected and IP-enabled driving environment.”

Government removes barriers to radio stations going digital
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Government removes barriers to radio stations going digital
Government removes barriers to radio stations going digital

Hundreds of small radio stations across the UK are to receive a helping hand to broadcast in digital for the first time.

In new measures announced today, the Government will make it easier for smaller community and commercial radio stations to broadcast on small scale digital radio multiplexes.

With more than 50% of all radio listening in the UK now on digital, the new lighter touch licensing regime means these small stations won’t be left behind by the growing shift from FM and AM to digital radio and will give more choice to millions of radio listeners across the UK.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said:

“We are breaking down one of the main barriers in the transition of radio from analogue to digital, to secure long-term benefits for the UK’s smaller commercial and community stations and ensure a range of local content for listeners.

“No one should be left behind by technological advances, so as part of our modern Industrial Strategy we will give small and local radio businesses affordable, practical access to digital radio networks to reach new and longstanding audiences.”

The roll out of small scale multiplexes across the UK could help more than 450 existing small community or commercial radio stations go digital.

Since 2014, Ofcom have been supporting successful trials of small scale radio multiplexes in ten areas of the UK. These trial multiplexes now carry around 160 small radio services offering listeners in these areas a broader range of content and formats.

To put these small scale services on a proper long-term footing, the Government is revising the current legal framework for licensing radio multiplexes - originally drawn up in the mid-1990s.

The new framework will allow Ofcom to reserve capacity on new small scale multiplexes for community stations, helping them to go live on the Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) platform.

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said:

“We welcome today’s announcement from DCMS supporting the future development and expansion of small-scale DAB. This is good news for radio and good news for listeners as the expansion of small-scale DAB gives listeners a wider range of smaller stations available on DAB and gives small local stations a path to a digital future.

“Following the success of the fantastic range of unique and fresh local commercial and community services in the 10 trial areas we can expect to see many hundreds of local stations joining radio’s digital revolution across the UK.”

Switch Radio is a community radio station that operates and broadcasts one of the trial multiplexes in Birmingham.

Dean Kavanagh, Head of Content and Technology at Switch Radio, said

Switch Radio welcomes the publication of the DCMS consultation response document. Small Scale DAB is a game-changing innovation that will drive real benefits for listeners and we are delighted that the government is actively supporting the progression of this technology from concept to delivery.

“Small scale DAB has been able to provide not just an increase in the quantity of stations that listeners can receive, but also the variety of what is available. We look forward to the further developments that will undoubtedly stem from the publication of this consultation response.”

This new streamlined structure for licensing small scale radio multiplexes comes at a time when DAB has greatly increased in popularity. Almost two-thirds of households have a DAB radio and only 43% of listening at home is on analogue. DAB coverage now reaches 90% of the UK.

The proposals will support the rollout of new digital-only radio networks within county areas, helping to expand the community radio sector. The Government will bring forward secondary legislation to make the necessary changes to the licensing regime in 2019.


Notes to Editors:
A small scale DAB radio multiplex is a more efficient way of transmitting compared to analogue and uses a low cost software-based approach that makes it particularly suitable for smaller radio stations. A multiplex consists of a number of DAB radio stations bundled together to be transmitted digitally on a single frequency to a specific geographic area.

Among the measures set out today in its response to the Small Scale DAB Licensing Consultation, the Government has stated it will:

- Create a new category of small scale DAB multiplex licence for community radio stations - the C-DSP (Community - Digital Sound Programme) licence;
- Place requirements on new small scale multiplex licences to make a certain proportion of capacity on small scale DAB multiplexes available to community radio stations holding new C-DSP licences.

DCMS-funded technical work by Ofcom to test the technology, including 10 field trials in Portsmouth, Aldershot, Brighton & Hove, Bristol , Norfolk, Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow and London. These demonstrated the viability of using an open source software based approach to broadcasting on DAB at a small scale.

However, the temporary licensing arrangements for the 10 trials are not a suitable basis for the long-term licensing of small scale DAB radio multiplexes. To address this DCMS supported the successful passage of a Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Kevin Foster MP, through Parliament in early 2017. The Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Act 2017 gives the DCMS Secretary of State a power to modify through secondary legislation the provisions under existing broadcasting legislation that are concerned with the award of radio multiplex licences.

In its Communications Market Report 2018, Ofcom found:
Nine in ten adults in the UK listen to radio every week for an average of nearly 21 hours a week, and 75% of all audio listening is to live radio;
DAB coverage is now at 90% of the UK (BBC national DAB coverage is 97%), and almost two-thirds of households have a DAB set;
Digital radio has enabled many more commercial stations to broadcast nationally, and the share of listening to national commercial stations has increased from 13.0% in Q1 2016 to 17.5% in Q1 2018. As a result of this, radio advertising revenues increased by 1% in real terms in 2017, compared to a 7.5% decline in television advertising revenues.

In its Media Nations 2018 report, Ofcom found:
The total reported income for the community radio sector in 2017 was £11.9m, in line with 2016. Average station income was just under £51k;
Overall reported sector expenditure for the community radio sector was £11.9m, up 1% in real terms since 2016;
At home, only 43% of listening is on analogue, as DAB increases in popularity;
Across the UK, listeners in Berkshire have the highest proportion of listening digitally, at 60%.


Digital Radio Hall of Fame awards presented to inductees at Drive to Digital 2018
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Digital Radio Hall of Fame awards presented to inductees at Drive to Digital 2018
Digital Radio Hall of Fame awards presented to inductees at Drive to Digital 2018

The first inductees to the Digital Radio Hall of Fame were presented with their awards at the leading radio industry conference, Drive to Digital, this week.

The Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP and Helen Boaden, former BBC Director of Radio, and Dianne Fuller, Global Sales Director, Roberts Radio, presented the Digital Radio Hall of Fame awards to the nine inductees, all of whom were present.

The awards culminated with a surprise presentation to the former Culture Minster with a Special Recognition award for his contribution to digital radio progress during his tenure, which include launching the Digital Radio Action Plan, spearheading the expansion of local DAB coverage, and announcing the second national DAB commercial network.

Reinforcing that the establishment of digital radio as the majority of radio listening in the UK has been a collaborative and cross-industry effort, the Digital Radio Hall of Fame recognises individuals from all sectors and areas that have contributed to digital radio progress, with representatives from broadcasters, retailers, manufacturers, automotive, Ofcom and Government.

Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said:

“We congratulate the first ever inductees into the Digital Radio Hall of Fame on their recognition and their achievement. It has taken over 20 years to get to a point where digital radio represents the majority of radio listening in the UK and this simply couldn’t have happened without the outstanding contributions of these individuals and the organisations they represent. It was wonderful to see the inductees receiving their Hall of Fame awards from former Digital and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP who himself has made a major contribution to UK radio’s successful digital transition.”

The Digital Radio Hall of Fame Inductees are:

Dame Jenny Abramsky
Former Director of Audio and Music, BBC

Grae Allan
DAB Radio Director, Bauer Media

Ralph Bernard
Former CEO GCap Media

Michael Hill
Founder and Managing Director, Radioplayer

Quentin Howard
Former CEO Digital One, and Managing Director, GWR

John Kempner
Buyer, John Lewis

Rashid Mustapha
Engineer, Ofcom

Ian O’Neill OBE
Head of Television; Programme Director Radio, DCMS

Sir Hossein Yassaie
Chairman, Pure, and Former Chief Executive Officer of Imagination Technologies

The Digital Radio Hall of Fame judges were: Dee Ford, Bauer Media; Helen Boaden, formerly-BBC: William Rogers, UKRD; Will Harding, Global; Jimmy Buckland, Wireless Group; Lindsey Mack; BBC; David Lloyd, Radio Consultant and Historian; Bernie O’Neill, WorldDAB; Emma Hill, Radioworks; Peter Davies, formerly-Ofcom; Glyn Jones, Arqiva; Diane Fuller, Roberts Radio; and Sophie Spooner, Pure.

Minister renews Government support for radio’s transition to digital
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Minister renews Government support for radio’s transition to digital
Minister renews Government support for radio’s transition to digital

Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and Creative Industries at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, today urged the radio industry to continue with the outstanding collaboration to support a successful digital radio transition.

The Minister’s comments came via a video message at Drive to Digital 2018: The Future of Radio, a major radio industry conference sponsored by Arqiva, which was held at the British Museum in London, attended by 300 senior executives representing radio broadcasters, radio manufacturers, car manufacturers and retailers.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said:

“Radio’s transition to digital has helped the medium stay robust and relevant in a digital age, and I’m passionate about ensuring the industry continues to grow and succeed. Now is the time for a strong commitment to a collective vision for the future from the many organisations involved in getting digital radio this far.”

In her video message, the Minister said that Government will need to examine carefully the progress made on digital radio and to work closely with all partners, including the BBC and commercial radio, Arqiva, car manufacturers, the supply chain and listeners. She said that she hoped to be in a position shortly to announce how Government plans to take the work forward.

The message was welcomed by broadcasters and the supply chain, and in a conference panel, senior executives from the UK’s leading radio broadcasters, BBC, Global and Bauer, said that they are fully committed to delivering radio’s digital future and looked forward to working closely with the Government.

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “Today we’ve heard how the success of digital radio has helped transform UK radio enabling it to be a more robust, relevant and competitive medium than ever. The completion of UK radio’s transition to digital will bring significant benefits for listeners, broadcasters and industry and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Government and stakeholders to continue to accelerate digital progress.”

Tom Wrathmell, Head of Radio & Education Strategy, BBC, said: “The move towards digital has allowed radio to thrive and it’s crucial that we continue to innovate to ensure that radio remains accessible and robust. We are committed to a digital future for radio, and in the immediate term we continue to support hybrid delivery of DAB and FM running alongside new IP innovations such as BBC Sounds which brings together live and on-demand radio, music and podcasts into a single personalised app.”

Will Harding, Chief Strategy Officer, Global: “Global continues to invest heavily in digital. We spear-headed the investment to improve coverage of local DAB networks and in the last 5 years we have launched 7 stations onto national digital radio including new digital-only stations such as Heart 80s, Smooth Extra and Heart extra as well as taking LBC, Radio X and Capital XTRA national. DAX, the digital audio exchange we launched in 2014, now gives advertisers access to an audience of 160 million worldwide. Last year we launched the innovative new Global Player, home to all Global’s stations on mobile and connected devices.”

Travis Baxter, Content and External Affairs Consultant, Bauer Media, said: “As we celebrate ten years of Absolute Radio in the same year as also launching the UK’s newest national digital station, Hits Radio, Bauer Media has consistently been a pioneering and innovative force in digital radio content and delivery. We welcome the Government review of next steps and look forward to completing the transition to digital.”

Senior executives from techUK, representing the technology sector, and the SMMT, representing the automotive industry, said that the digital radio review is an important milestone which they hoped would provide an actionable plan to accelerate the transition to digital that the supply chain, radio industry and DCMS can collaborate on.

Elsewhere in the conference agenda, the progress made by digital radio and the achievement of the 50% digital listening threshold was celebrated, with speakers highlighting a series of major innovations and investments in digital radio content and coverage, including the return of Chris Evans to Virgin Radio and the expansion of the Sound Digital DAB network.

Jimmy Buckland, Strategy Director, Wireless, said: “The return of Chris Evans, the biggest name in UK radio, to Virgin Radio, is one of a series of hugely exciting developments for our portfolio of digital radio brands. In recent months we have acquired the exclusive rights of England’s cricket tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies and brought two of the UK’s most popular chat and talk show broadcasters, Matthew Wright and Jeremy Kyle, to talkRADIO. We look forward to continuing to grow and strengthen our proposition through our investments in DAB, digital content and streaming audio services.”

Speaking on behalf of the Sound Digital consortium (Bauer Media, Wireless and Arqiva), Arqiva’s Laurie Patten announced that 19 new transmitters, which will increase coverage of the UK’s second commercial DAB network to 83% of the population from 77%, will be switched on in the coming weeks. This means that almost 4 million more listeners in areas such as Kent, East Anglia and South West England, will be able to listen to Sound Digital’s 19 stations, including Virgin Radio, Planet Rock and Absolute 80s, on DAB digital radio for the first time.

Laurie Patten, Director of Strategy, Ventures, Product & Marketing, Arqiva, said: “The Sound Digital proposition has established itself strongly in the two years since its launch, and it was always our hope that we would be able to expand its reach to some of those parts of the UK that were not initially in coverage. We are delighted to now be bringing the network’s diverse range of content to almost 4 million new listeners, and are proud of the role we have played extending the national and local networks over the last 3 years to allow millions more people to receive DAB.”

There was also a focus on new initiatives and innovations in the areas of connected cars, smart and voice-controlled audio, and podcasts.

The conference culminated with former Digital Minister, the Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP, taking to the stage to present awards to the nine Digital Radio Hall of Fame inductees for their outstanding contribution to digital radio progress across the past 20 years – Dame Jenny Abramsky, former BBC; Grae Allan, Bauer Media; Ralph Bernard CBE, former GWR and GCap Media; Michael Hill, Radioplayer; Quentin Howard, former Digital One; John Kempner, former John Lewis; Rashid Mustapha, Ofcom; Ian O’Neill OBE, DCMS; and Sir Hossein Yassaie, Pure.

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