Digital radio future about choice not just DAB

Radio Reborn: Digital radios future is about offering consumers convenient access and compelling content and not just DAB, according to radio industry experts.

Radio Reborn: Digital radio’s future is about offering consumers convenient access and compelling content and not just DAB, according to radio industry experts.

Speaking at the MediaGuardian’s Radio Reborn conference today (April 27) in London, radio executives from across the industry stated that although industry debates on the future of DAB need to be resolved, radio needs to make sure it stays relevant in the digital age.

Grae Allan, DAB radio director at Bauer Radio, says: “We need the medium more attractive to consumers in a way we haven’t done before by making it convenient, completing and easy to access.”

Mark Friend, controller of multiplatform and interactive for BBC Audio and Music, says that although DAB is “at the heart of the digital offering” the radio industry needs to make it “exciting and easy” regardless of whether the medium is DAB, mobile or online.

Despite the majority of speakers on the digital radio panel, including Digital Radio Development Bureau chief executive Tony Moretta, being in agreement on the role DAB will play in the future, many of the same concerns over the medium’s cost and coverage still exist.

Allan says that an analogue switchover date needs to be brought forward. “We need to round off this circle and do it quickly.”

He adds that Bauer would “love” to make some of its digital-only brands, such as Q Radio, nationally available but the challenge of economic viability remains.

Daniel Nathan, chairman of Festival Productions, was more forthright, saying that a “radical restructure” is needed in terms of carriage costs and coverage.

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