BBC and Commercial Radio unite on digital plan

The BBC and the commercial radio sector have formed a new partnership called The Radio Council designed to try to secure radio’s place in the digital age.

The plans have been unveiled by BBC director of audio and music Tim Davie (pictured), Andrew Harrison from trade body the RadioCentre and Ashley Tabor, founder and Global Group CEO, ahead of the Radio Reborn conference today (April 27).

The group will initially be made up of the BBC, Global Radio, Bauer Media and GMG together with the RadioCentre.

The initiative follows mounting criticism of BBC Radio’s financial and technological resources and the threat posed to commercial radio’s ability to innovate and generate revenues from digital.

The Radio Council is expected to meet quarterly and its chairmanship will rotate annually between the BBC and the commercial sector, with Davie holding the chair for the first year. The initiative is tabled for agreement at the next RadioCentre board meeting,

The Council has prioritised three cross-sector digital projects. These are the development of an online live radio player streaming all UK radio in one place, a common user interface and electronic programme guide for listeners across all devices including DAB, DTV, online and mobile phones, and the development of a calendar of exclusive digital only content.

All these projects will need approvals from the BBC Trust and RadioCentre board .

The Radio Council also aims to co-ordinate with government the appointment of a CEO for Lord Carter’s Digital Radio Delivery Group. This new role is likely to oversee key areas necessary for a digital radios switchover including coverage, devices, platforms and marketing.

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