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Connect FM and Heart Herts sold by Adventure Radio

Thu, 2019-02-07 13:04

Communicorp has made its first radio acquisition with the purchase of Connect FM in Kettering and Heart in Hertfordshire from Adventure Radio.

RadioToday understands Communicorp will continue to licence the Heart brand from Global, but will now rebrand Connect FM – currently a hit music station – as Smooth Radio to become part of the East Midlands regional service.

Connect FM operates as a stand-alone full service for Kettering (previously KCBC), Peterborough (previously Lite FM) and Corby (launched as Connect FM in 1998). Presenters include Carlo Fiorentino who has been with the station since in launched in 1990, and Gregg Nunney who joined the team in 1996.

Turning Connect FM into Smooth is expected to bring about a number of staff departures, as the majority of programmes can be shared from London and Nottingham.

Communicorp has recently been running the stations under a management contract from Adventure Radio, and the plan to rebrand as Smooth is subject to Ofcom approval.

Adventure Radio also owns Radio Essex but is not part of the sale.

DJ Spoony to make BBC Radio 2 debut

Thu, 2019-02-07 12:33

Former Kiss, Radio 1 and 5 live presenter DJ Spoony is hosting his first show for BBC Radio 2 this month.

He’ll cover for Craig Charles on the station’s funk and soul House Party show on Saturday 16th February, 10pm-midnight.

Spoony was first heard on 90s pirate station London Underground before forming the ‘Dreem Team’ with Mikee B and Timmi Magic on Kiss 100 and Galaxy before joining Radio 1 in early 2000.

On his own he hosted Radio 1’s Weekend Breakfast show 2003-2006 as well as presenting the 606 football phone-in on 5 live. More recently he’s been on Ministry of Sound Radio as well as his work as a club DJ and producer – and as a presenter on Premier League TV.

DJ Spoony said: “I cannot wait to bring the ‘good groove’ to Craig’s House Party. His record box is legendary no doubt so I’m looking forward to playing tracks you might expect and some you definitely won’t!”

RAJAR Q4 2018: Regional and local radio round-up

Thu, 2019-02-07 01:24

Hits Radio in Manchester continues its downward trend in the latest listening figures, and now has 271,000 weekly reach compared with 325,000 last quarter.

The station rebranded in June 2018, with its first set of quarterly figures after the relaunch down from 374,000 to 325,000.

All of its sister stations in the Hits Radio Network are now branding as the ‘Hits Radio Network” at the top of each hour, and collectively the Hits Radio Brand has dropped from 6.43m to 6.16m weekly reach. The Hits Radio national Breakfast Show with Gethin Jones, Gemma Atkinson and Dave Vitty is reporting 347,000 listeners, down from 349,000 listeners last quarter.

Before we tour around the commercial stations, let’s look at the BBC Local Radio network, which has been in the news recently after plans were announced to take them in a new direction. BBC Local Radio collectively reached 7.79 million listeners per week, from 7.84 m last quarter and 8.2m last year. BBC Radio Scotland has lost a few listeners – from 854,000 to 749,000 in three months. In England, the network reaches 5.95 million listeners per week.

Stations with a considerable increase this quarter include:

  • BBC Essex – 160,000 to 178,000
  • BBC Radio Leeds – 174,000 to 216,000
  • BBC Radio London – 443,000 to 565,000
  • BBC Radio Manchester – 184,000 to 203,000
  • BBC Radio Sheffield – 183,000 to 260,000

Stations with a drop in listeners this time include:

  • BBC Radio Lancashire – 191,000 to 164,000
  • BBC Radio Leicester – 185,000 to 167,000
  • BBC Radio Solent (total) 240,000 to 218,000

Around Bauer, local stations on the up include Radio City Talk and Gem, whilst Radio Aire, Radio City, Clyde 1, Downtown Radio, Forth 1, Hallam FM, Metro and Rock FM are noticeably down in weekly reach.

New Bauer-purchase Fire Radio has increased its weekly reach from 56,000 to 65,000 in the last three months – its highest ever figure. And Lincs FM has just lost 44,000 listeners this quarter, taking it from 298,00 to 254,000 weekly reach – it’s lowest figure in recent history.

All the Sam FM stations, now owned by Bauer (/Nation) have seen a rise in weekly reach, with the exception of DAB-only Sam FM Thames Valley which remains static at 3,000 listeners.

At Global, 2BR is still increasing its weekly reach, with 86,000 listeners, ahead of any news about rebranding the station to an established Global brand. Capital Brighton, recently rebranded from Juice, has increased from 36,000 to 50,000 reach – its highest RAJAR figure ever. Capital Liverpool is down this quarter, from 225,000 to 203,000, as is Capital Manchester from 538,000 to 500,000 and Capital North East from 453,000 to 414,000.

Around the Heart network, noticeable climbs include North West, Solent, Sussex and Yorkshire, with Heart North East, North Lancs and Cumbria, North Wales, South Wales and West Midlands reporting a lower reach this quarter.

Smooth Radio meanwhile is on the up in South Wales and East Midlands, and losing listeners in London, North West and West Midlands. Smooth Radio North East, whilst down slightly in reach, has record hours and market share this quarter.

In Scotland, Original 106 now reaches 85,400 listeners per week – its highest reach ever, up from 79,300 last quarter and up from 68,700 a year ago, and Central FM has recorded its best ever share, at 11.6%, up 20%, whilst hours are up 66% this quarter too.

kmfm Group is back up to above 200,000 listeners in Kent – the 2nd time the station has achieved the figure.

Guernsey’s Island FM has the highest weekly reach percentage in the British Isles and increases weekly reach this quarter once again.

106 JACK FM and JACK 2 Hits have lost listeners this quarter, but Jack 3 has increased by 1,000. Jack Radio, the new national female-led service has debuted with 32,000 listeners.

Around the Wireless Stations, first results for Pulse 80s which has 11,000 weekly reach, Signal 80s with 16,000 and Wave 80s with 12,000. Scottish Sun 80s halves its audience, from 23,000 to 11,000 weekly reach, whilst Scottish Sun Hits and Scottish Sun Greatest Hits remain fairly static.

Signal 1 is up this quarter, as is Peak FM, Swansea Sound, Tower FM, U105, The Wave, Radio Wave, Wire FM and Wish FM. Signal 107 has added 8,000 listeners giving it the highest reach since December 2015 at 58,000.

Pulse 1 has achieved its highest total hours figure for 9 years increasing 28% quarterly and 88% year on year.

At UKRD, the team at Yorkshire Coast Radio are celebrating another increase, with its share of listening getting a record high of 24.4%. Total hours of 584,200 are also another record for the station, whilst the Weekly Reach stands at 51%. The rest of the group stations are remaining fairly static.

If we’ve missed something, let us know straight away via

RAJAR Q4 2018: National brands and London radio update

Thu, 2019-02-07 01:08

Radio’s total reach has dropped more significantly in London over the past 12 months than across the rest of the UK.

Total UK radio audiences were down 0.9% in Q4/18 compared with Q4/17, but in the capital the drop was 3.9% – with some stations losing hundreds of thousands of listeners.

But we can’t lose sight of the fact that 88% of the population still listen to the radio at some point each week.

Despite Radio 1’s falling audience, Greg James added 231,000 listeners to his Radio 1 breakfast show in the final quarter of 2018. The number rises to more than 300,000 when adding in listeners aged between 10 and 15. For 15+ audience, Greg’s reach has gone from 4.88m in Q3/18 to 5.111m in Q4/18. But a year ago in Q4/17, Grimmy had 5.722m weekly listeners. Radio 1 says the number of under 25s listening is up 20% since the previous quarter, and that Matt and Mollie on Friday to Sunday breakfast reach 4m a week.

Radio 2 continues to be the biggest station in the UK, though audiences are down 3.9% year on year to 14.8m. The decline is replicated across all BBC network stations with the exception of the World Service. 5 live Sports Extra loses a million listeners quarter on quarter, while Asian Network drops by 134,000 year on year (16.5% of its audience). Radio 4 has lost more than three quarters of a million listeners across the UK in the last 12 months.

In the London market, Capital remains commercial number 1 on reach (although audience is down year on year by nearly a quarter of a million to 1.866m) and LBC is the top commercial station on share at 5.5% (though down from 6.6% in Q3/18).

The biggest national commercial radio brands are Heart (9.7m), Capital (8.2m) and Smooth (5.8m). And Bauer’s shiny new Hits Radio brand doesn’t appear to be a massive success yet in Manchester, with the former Key 103 station continuing to lose listeners.

Here are our detailed observations for Q4 2018:

Digital radio listening
Digital listening hit a new record share of 52.6% in Q4/18 – up from 49.9% a year earlier. Digital listening to national commercial stations has increased by 13.9 million hours (or 10.3%) year on year, and now accounts for 80% of all national commercial listening. In-car digital listening grew by 15 million hours (19% year on year), but still only accounts for 37.5% of all listening in cars.

6 Music is still the biggest digital-only station (2.3m reach), followed by Radio 4 Extra (2.1m). Kisstory remains the biggest commercial digital-only station – and its 1.8m could be increased further in 2019 following its move to the Digital One multiplex.

DAB accounts for 38.3% of all radio listening, and 72.7% of digital listening. The remainder of the digital listening is made up of online/apps (9.4%) and digital TV (9.4%).

National commercial radio brands
As mentioned above, Heart, Capital and Smooth are the biggest commercial radio brands on reach across the UK. They’re followed by Kiss, Classic then Magic.

Based on percentage year on year increases the star performer appears to be Hits Radio, which has seen reach go up 43% from 562k to 804k. In its press release, Bauer says the “Hits Radio Brand posts 6.2 million listeners” – though this includes all of the group’s ‘local radio division’, including the former big city stations that still have heritage names across the North of England and Scotland plus Free Radio, Wave 105, Gem and all of the Greatest Hits and ‘2’ services in Scotland.

With Bauer’s new acquisitions this week, it’s likely the number of stations branded as Hits Radio will increase – so after the first six months on air, how’s the Hits Radio brand doing in Manchester? The simple answer is: not as well as Key 103. Hits Radio Manchester now reaches just 271,000 people a week. This compares with 325,000 in Q3/18 and 385,000 in Q4/17, so the station has lost 114,000 listeners in a year – that’s 30% of its audience. Total hours are down from 2.186m a year ago to 1.658m in Q4/18; share down from 5.3% of the Manchester market to 4.1%. Bauer says the Hits Radio national Breakfast Show with Gethin Jones, Gemma Atkinson and Dave Vitty is up 70.1% year on year – to an audience size of 347,000 listeners across the UK.

Greatest Hits Radio – including the Scottish stations that are still branded as Clyde 2, Forth 2 etc – has a Q4/18 reach of 1.2million. Radio City 2 ended on a high at 218,000 weekly reach in Liverpool ahead of the rebrand to Greatest Hits last month.

Absolute Radio 90s and Absolute Classic Rock had positive ends to 2018, recording 30.1% and 13.8% year on year reach increases. The 969,000 listeners to the 90s service have just had to retune their radios this week as it moves from Digital One to the SDL multiplex, so it will be interesting to see whether that has an impact on audience data next time out. Absolute 70s lost 11.6% of its audience over the course of 2018, shedding 30,000 listeners to post a reach of 229k. The main Absolute Radio station also dropped audience over the year – going from 2.608m to 2.387m.

At 652k, Heat’s reach in Q4/18 was the best it’s been in two years. It’s now making way for Bauer’s new Scala Radio on DAB, so becomes online only.

LBC is celebrating its highest ever reach in its 46-year history, with 2.2m weekly listeners – adding almost 200,000 over the year.

Other year on year winners include Capital Xtra (up 14.9% to 1.792m), Gold (up 12.2% to 1.253m), Heart 80s (up 12.5% to 1.312m), Heart Extra (up 19.7% to 583k), Smooth Extra (up 16.4% to 908K) and the three Magic brand extension stations. Mellow Magic adds 27.5% more listeners year on year – taking it to a record 603,000; Magic Chilled is up 25% to 337k; and Magic Soul increases by 20.9% to post a 307k reach. Kiss Fresh posts good quarterly and yearly growth, reaching a record 620k. And while Kisstory is up by just under 100,000 listeners year on year, it falls back from the record 2.158m in Q3/18 to 1.805m in Q4/18.

Virgin Radio has increased its audience quarter on quarter, but it’s down 7.5% year on year (483k in Q4/17 to 44k in Q4/18). Wireless points out that following the announcement that Chris Evans would be joining Virgin in September, the station recorded its highest listening hours ever (1.7m per week). talkRADIO’s reach of 302k at the end of 2018 is up from 242k a year earlier (25% increase, or 60,000 extra listeners). talkSPORT’s audience remains exactly the same quarter on quarter, while talkSPORT 2 is up to 326k – its highest reach in more than a year.

Digital-only national stations reporting for the first time including Panjab Radio, which records a respectable 187,000 weekly listeners – and Jack Radio, which has 32,000 people tuned in each week across the UK. Sister station Union JACK – also on the SDL multiplex – has seen a massive rise in audience over the last 12 months, with a 74% rise from 88,000 to 153,000.

Other brands worth a mention.. Chris Country has a new record reach, with 49,000 listeners a week in London. This has more than doubled from 23,000 in Q4/17. And Nation Radio London drops back to its joint lowest ever reach – 4,000 listeners, compared with 15,000 a year earlier.

BBC networks
With the exception of the World Service, every single one of the BBC’s national networks saw its audience size drop year on year. When looking at quarterly figures, the only rises are for Radio 4 Extra, the World Service, 1Xtra and Radio 2.

Compared with a year ago, the BBC Asian Network is down 20% (527k reach compared with 661k in Q4/17).

5 live and 5 live Sports Extra combined drop by 10%, losing more than half a million listeners. The main station falls from 5.4m a year ago to 4.9m (its second-lowest ever reach), while the digital-only sports channel drops from 1m to 667k (the lowest it’s been since 2014, and more than a million listeners fewer than Q3/18).

Radio 1’s audience is down from 9.8m at the end of 2017 to 9.37m at the end of 2018 (rises to 10.19m when listeners aged 10-15 are included)

Radio 2 is down from 15.49m a year ago to 14.89m; Radio 3 down from 1.95m to 1.83m and Radio 4 down from 11.25m to 10.48m (a drop of 769,000).

1Xtra had a reach of 1.06m weekly listeners compared with 1.07m last year, 6 Music posts 2.29 million listeners (down from 2.34m last year) and Radio 4 Extra attracted 2.13 million listeners per week (from 2.01m last quarter and 2.26m last year).

The BBC World Service is the only success story among the networks in this RAJAR release, recording a weekly UK audience of 1.55 million (up from 1.47m last quarter and 1.51m last year).

The BBC’s combined Local Radio network also drops – from 8.2m in Q4/17 to 7.79m in Q4/18.

London market
While radio’s overall reach across the UK is down by 0.9%, in London total reach is down by 3.9% over the last 12 months. This means we see some big drops in audience for stations including Kiss, Capital, Classic FM and BBC Radios 1 to 5 live.

Winners in London over the last 12 months include Smooth (up 67,000 year on year to 818k), Gold (up 5.7% to 296k), Capital Xtra (added 39k to 816k), Magic (up 42k to a record 1.606m) and Premier Christian Radio (60% increase in reach from 142k to 227k).

Not doing so well year on year are Absolute Radio London (down 192k to 726,000 reach in Q4/18), Kiss London (down 392,000 listeners – a fifth of the audience – to 1.631m) and Capital London (down 242,000 to 1.866m).

Capital remains the biggest commercial station in London on reach (1.866m), followed by Kiss (1.631m), Magic (1.606m), Heart (1.523m) and LBC 97.3 (1.147m).

On share, commercially, LBC is number 1 in London with 5.5%, – followed by Heart on 4.6% then Kiss and Capital tied on 3.7% share.

Despite losing almost 289,000 listeners in the capital over the last 12 months, Radio 4 remains the biggest and most listened to station in London with a 2.483m reach and 13.7% market share. Radio 2 is second on both counts with 2.259m and 12.3%.

Year on year drops on the London market include Radio 1 down 141k, Radio 2 down 201k, Radio 3 down 70k and 5 live down 153k.

Classic FM has also lost 151,000 listeners in London since Q4/17 – dropping from 1.4m to 1.249m.

Breakfast shows
Greg James’ arrival on Radio 1 breakfast has seen him add around 230,000 listeners in his first full quarter, with the show back over 5m listeners.

Chris Evans’ final quarter on Radio 2 breakfast saw an increase of 241,000 listeners, though the 9.065m reach was down almost 400k from the end of 2017.

5 live Breakfast has lost 316,000 listeners over the year (2.245m down to 1.929m), while Radio 4’s Today Programme drops from 7.146m to 6.798m – a loss of 348,000.

At the national commercial stations, Absolute Radio’s Dave Berry adds 65,000 listeners to give him a weekly reach of 2.165m and move above Kiss – which drops from 2.235m to 1.846m across the UK (a drop of 389k – or 17%). Fellow One Golden Square station Magic posts a great breakfast figure – up over a hundred thousand year on year to 1.532m for Ronan and Harriet.

At Leicester Square, Classic FM breakfast loses around 200,000 listeners year on year, dropping to 1.711m. And there’s a new record high for Chris Moyles on Radio X – who adds 81,000 throughout the course of 2018 to post a reach of 991,000.

In London there are increases in audience for many of Global’s brands – Jez Welham on Capital XTRA, Tony Dibbin on Gold, Jamie & Emma on Heart, Gary King on Smooth and Chris Moyles on Radio X. Capital, Kiss, LBC, Magic and Absolute all drop year on year in the London market.

Premier Christian Radio’s overall station reach increase is matched by a good performance from its breakfast show, which is up from 88,000 to 135,000.

Groups and quotes

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “Q4 2018 marks the fourth quarter in a row when digital listening has been above 50%. The growth of digital listening and launch of new digital stations is providing a platform for growth for all broadcasters and we welcome the increasing levels of digital radio content innovation and investment. We look forward to the listening data for Q1 2019 which will reflect the massive surge in smart speaker sales and usage post-Christmas and the impact of the new stations and schedules launched in January.”

Global reports that it now has 25.3m weekly listeners and a 23.2% share of UK radio listening.

Ashley Tabor OBE, Founder & Executive President of Global, said: “We’ve had another superb set of scores right across the group. Global continues to grow its audience with 25.3 million people tuning in every week, one of our highest ever. We have the top three commercial radio brands nationally in Heart, Capital and Smooth and we’ve set a record high for both the Smooth and LBC networks across the UK. We’ve also won commercial reach, plus hours and share at breakfast in London, with Roman Kemp on Capital and Nick Ferrari on LBC respectively, and seen trending growth at Radio X across the UK, particularly for Chris Moyles at breakfast who scores a record high. These results are a testament to the dedication of all Globallers across our brands, and I want to thank all of them for their incredibly hard work. I know Richard Park has been looking at these numbers carefully and he’s very happy with them! He’s doing very well and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Bauer reached 18m listeners a week now, and says the group continues as industry leader with record high listening via a digital device. Digital reach to Bauer services is 13.3m, a 10% year on year increase. 65.5% of the group’s audience is digital – compared with the commercial radio average of 52.6%.

Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: “It’s fantastic to see commercial radio being the driving force behind the UK’s love affair with radio. Bauer’s strategy of creating strong and distinctive networks is paying dividends. I’m particularly delighted that Magic has delivered its biggest ever audience, and to top that off, an extra quarter of a million listeners now tune in to Ronan Keating and Harriet Scott at Breakfast. Bauer has long been the industry leader in digital listening, and will continue to be on the front-foot by delighting audiences with new and distinctive services such as Scala Radio which launches on the 4th of March.”

Wireless says its investment in sports rights and talent is the driver behind improved audience figures.

Scott Taunton, Wireless CEO, said: “Wireless’ growth in listening hours and reach by 13% and 4% respectively is a significant achievement. These results reflect the talent and dedication of teams right across the business. The Chris Evans Breakfast Show is already the story of the year in the UK’s radio industry, and Wireless is set to continue to drive growth across its portfolio.”

Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and Music, said: “It’s brilliant that our new and fresh Radio 1 Breakfast Show is doing so well, on air as well as digitally on BBC Sounds, social media and YouTube. Greg James is a superb DJ and we know his listeners love the show. We can see that a busy few months for listeners in the run up to Christmas has impacted on all radio listening in the UK, but despite that our radio breakfast shows demonstrate what an important role live radio still plays in people’s daily lives with millions waking up to BBC Radio, whether it’s for brilliant music, great guests or comprehensive news coverage.

“Nearly 9 in 10 people continue to listen to radio in the UK but as we know listening habits are changing. We’ve made great strides in reinventing our overall audio offer so that audiences now and in the future can discover the very best of the BBC, whenever they want to. This is paying off and increasing numbers of people are listening to music, radio and podcasts on BBC Sounds with recent record figures.”

Ben Cooper, Controller BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra & Asian Network, said: “It’s a fantastic start for both Breakfast Shows with Greg James putting on over 300,000 new listeners for a total of 5.59 million, and Matt & Mollie with the Weekend Breakfast Show reaching 4 million weekly listeners. RAJAR figures are only part of the story, and as well as over 10 million listeners, Radio 1 had record highs of 14 million weekly views on Radio 1’s YouTube channel.”

OXIS Media‘s national service Union JACK has seen audiences increase 74% year on year, while female artist station Jack Radio debuts with a national reach of 32,000 via the SDL multiplex. JACK CEO Ian Walker said: “With our two national radio stations, Union JACK and JACK Radio, achieving a combined total of close to 200,000 listeners who are listening for almost a million hours each week, we are really starting to make our mark on the national digital radio landscape and can offer advertisers an exciting opportunity to reach a large – and most importantly an engaged – audience of ABC1 men and women. Union JACK has been bringing more and more exciting programming initiatives to the fore – such as our forthcoming live broadcasts from the world-class Leicester Comedy Festival – that are clearly resonating with our listeners, while there is so much more to come from JACK Radio, which launched just three months ago. We’re delighted with these results and can’t wait to build on them further.”

RAJAR Q4 2018: Digital radio listening remains static

Thu, 2019-02-07 01:02

The last three months of digital radio listening in 2018 remained almost the same quarter on quarter, with a slight increase from 52.4% to 52.6%.

Yearly, however, the figure broke the halfway mark, jumping from 49.9 in Q4 2017. It has remained above 50% now for the last four surveys.

Digital listening accounts for 51.5% of all BBC radio and 53.9% of commercial radio listening. Commercial radio’s digital share has increased as the availability and number of digitally distributed national commercial stations continues to grow. Digital listening to national commercial stations has increased by 13.9 million hours (or 10.3%) year on year, and now accounts for 80% of all national commercial listening.

Digital listening is increasingly the norm and all age demographics between the ages of 10-64 years old have digital listening above 50%, with 35-44-year-olds having the highest digital listening at 58.5%.

In-car digital listening grew by 15 million hours or 19% year on year and reached a new record share of 37.5% of all in-car listening. 93% of new cars sold now come with DAB as standard and an additional 2.36 million new vehicles were registered with DAB as standard in 2018, according to CAP/SMMT data for Q4 2018.

The most popular digital-only station remains BBC 6 Music with a weekly reach of 2.3 million listeners, with Radio 4 Extra regaining the second most popular spot, growing to 2.1m listeners. KISSTORY is the most popular commercial digital-only station, with a weekly reach of 1.8 million listeners.

DAB remains the most popular digital platform, accounting for a record share of 38.3% of all radio listening or 72.7% of all digital listening. 65% of the population now own a DAB radio at home compared to 62.3% in the same quarter last year.

Listening hours via online/Apps grew by 6.6% year on year, to now account for 9.4% of all radio listening and 17.8% of digital listening. Listening via digital television now accounts for 5% of radio listening and 9.4% of digital listening.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “Q4 2018 marks the fourth quarter in a row when digital listening has been above 50%. The growth of digital listening and launch of new digital stations is providing a platform for growth for all broadcasters and we welcome the increasing levels of digital radio content innovation and investment. We look forward to the listening data for Q1 2019 which will reflect the massive surge in smart speaker sales and usage post-Christmas and the impact of the new stations and schedules launched in January.”

RAJAR Q4 2018: The quarterly Infographic is here

Thu, 2019-02-07 01:01

The quarterly RAJAR Infographic is here with all the data you need for Q4, 2018, including All Radio Listening, Average Hours Per Listener and Digital Platforms.

RAJAR Q4 2018 results delivered to radio stations

Wed, 2019-02-06 21:21

The latest Quarter 4 2018 listening figures for UK radio stations show a number of changes this time round.

New stations taking part in RAJAR include Jack Radio and Fosse 107, plus Signal 80s, Pulse 80s and Wave 80s – the spin off stations by Wireless Group.

Connect FM Herts Beds and Bucks is also appearing for the first time, measuring the station’s transmission on DAB away from its FM coverage area. Connect FM also has a revised TSA from 457,000 to 484,00.

There are revised areas for Sam FM Swindon (206k to 268k), Dream 100 (135k to 276k), Fire Radio (327k to 426k) and The Breeze Cheltenham and Gloucester (171k to 296k).

Stations leaving RAJAR this quarter include Encore Radio, 100% Dragon Hits and Whatever, Coast and Country Radio, and Like Radio.

Small name changes include Absolute Radio Classic Rock to Absolute Classic Rock, TFM Radio to TFM, Moray Firth Radio to MFR, Gem 106 to Gem, Wave 105 FM to Wave 105, Town 102 FM to Town 102, and Free Radio (Coventry & Warwickshire) to Hits Radio Brand (Cov & Warks). In addition, Aire 2, City 2, Hallam 2, Viking 2, Rock FM 2, Metro 2 and TFM 2 are all now known as Greatest Hits Radio (area name).

RadioToday’s usual reports on national and local stations plus the digital scene and radio brands will be online just after midnight. Our easy to use RAJAR Graphs will also be uploaded to within the hour too.

Andover Radio says sorry for drunken reporting

Wed, 2019-02-06 15:47

Andover Radio has issued an apology for what happened after its attempt to cover a local news story went wrong.

Two directors from the station attended the Ocado warehouse in Andover where a major incident was declared following a fire.

Andover Radio Founder and Director David Harber and Community Development Director Maurice Sweeney arrived at the scene but were asked to move away from the area as police attempted to place a cordon around the incident, but an argument broke out as police said they were being obstructed.

David Harber says: “Andover Radio is a small team, working from Andover High Street, which delivers local information to listeners and users online. We do not have a huge team of journalists and we care passionately about this town.

“Last night, it became increasingly impossible to avoid having to go to the scene and report the situation as it unfolded. The alternative would be to not respond to the increasing expectation that the radio station would be at the incident. Our behaviour was uncommonly unacceptable. This morning we have spoken to Hampshire Constabulary and apologised unreservedly. Additionally, I have personally offered to apologise to the female officers who were attempting to make the area and bystanders safe.

“We took our dedication to reporting incidents in this town to an unacceptable level.”

Director Maurice Sweeney added: “Whereas we appreciate some of the positive comments we have had regarding our commitment to reporting on the fire, we also accept the less eloquent comments which have been made regarding our attitude to the requests to leave the scene.

“We absolutely accept the criticisms we have received and accept the consequences.”

John Humphrys confirms his upcoming Radio 4 exit

Wed, 2019-02-06 14:20

John Humphrys has confirmed that he will leave the Today Programme in the autumn after 32 years, following speculation.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One this afternoon, the 75 year old says he should have left Today years ago but fears he will miss it.

When asked how it felt to be leaving, he told The World at One: “I love doing the programme, I have always enjoyed it, always loved it. And I still (do), that’s the problem; I should have gone years ago, obviously I should have gone years ago, but I love doing the programme.”

Speaking to former Today presenter Sarah Montague, who worked alongside Humphrys for 18 years on the programme, John said: “As you know, when you do this programme it dominates your life, not just because you have to get up in the morning so many days a week, but all the time, you have to be obsessed – I think that is the right word – with what’s going on out there.”

“You have to read everything and listen to everything and all the rest of it. There are so many things you think ‘oh I could have done this, I could have done that’ and I’m never going to do them if I stay on this programme.”

John admitted he had vague thoughts in the past about it leaving the programme but then “lost his nerve”.

When asked if he worried about what would happen after leaving Today John said no, but admitted he still fears he will miss the programme: “I worry about missing the programme, and I do now. I genuinely worry about what it is going to be like not doing the Today programme – 32 years is very long time.”

John assured listeners he will not be retiring and plans to continue presenting Mastermind. “I will stop doing the Today programme, yes, but I will not retire.”

When asked by Montague what he will remember the most from this 32 years on the Today programme, John paid tribute to the listeners.

“This is unspeakably corny but it’s not the politicians, it’s not even the interviewees, it’s the listeners. You genuinely feel after you have done this programme for long enough that you have – now I’m not going to say ‘friends’, you can’t say that as a lot of them aren’t your friends, they hate your guts – but you do feel that you have a relationship with a huge amount of people… It’s a relationship with millions of listeners that is a huge privilege.”

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4, says: “It’s hard to imagine the Today programme without John Humphrys. We have relied on him for so many years to take power to task and speak up for our audience. Particularly at times of instability his tough questioning and no nonsense approach on behalf of the listener has been central to our news coverage. When he leaves Radio 4 later this year our listeners will miss him and so will I.”

During his career with the BBC, John has also worked as a foreign correspondent in both America and Africa, as well as being a diplomatic correspondent and presenter of the Nine O’Clock News. He has presented Panorama and You Decide, fronts On the Ropes on Radio 4 and presents Mastermind on BBC Two.

John’s interviews on Today have occasionally attracted criticism from politicians, among them Jonathan Aitken, who in March 1995 accused him of “poisoning the well of democratic debate”. The criticism triggered an outbreak of pro-Humphrys comment among listeners and the media, including the Daily Mail, which described him as “one of the most brilliant journalists in the country”.

He won a Sony Radio Academy Award in 2013 for his interview with the BBC Director General George Entwistle over the Savile scandal, in which the DG resigned the same day.

Fran Unsworth, BBC Director of News and Current Affairs, said: “For more than thirty years John Humphrys has been a stalwart of Today. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that anyone who’s played a key role in the political events of the last three decades has been interviewed by John. But most importantly, he has always been a champion of his listeners, holding the powerful to account on their behalf.

“John will be sorely missed by audiences and his colleagues when he leaves the programme this year – if perhaps less so by the politicians he interviews.”

Spotify agrees to buy two podcasting companies

Wed, 2019-02-06 13:18

Music streaming service Spotify has entered into agreements to acquire podcast content producer Gimlet Media and podcast creator/publisher Anchor for an undisclosed sum.

Gimlet was founded in 2014 and is behind series such as StartUp, Reply All, Homecoming, Mogul and more. Gimlet Creative, the company’s in-house advertising agency, produces official podcasts for brands like eBay, Tinder, Gatorade and Mastercard. Gimlet Pictures, the company’s film and television development and production arm, was created in 2018 and focuses on bringing Gimlet franchises to the small and big screens. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Gimlet podcasts are listened to in nearly 190 countries worldwide.

Anchor has a smartphone app which allows anyone to easily create and distribute a podcast. It has creative tools, unlimited free content hosting, plus distribution everywhere podcasts are heard. The company was founded in 2015 in New York City.

“These acquisitions will meaningfully accelerate our path to becoming the world’s leading audio platform, give users around the world access to the best podcast content, and improve the quality of our listening experience as well as enhance the Spotify brand,” said Daniel Ek, Spotify co-founder and CEO. “We are proud to welcome Gimlet and Anchor to the Spotify team, and we look forward to what we will accomplish together.”

“Spotify is poised to become the largest audio platform in the world and we are excited for Gimlet’s award-winning podcasts to connect with new audiences around the world,” said Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, co-founders of Gimlet Media. “The medium of audio is uniquely great at creating human connection and understanding. We are thrilled that Gimlet is joining Spotify to do that at a global scale, on the platform and beyond.”

“We are incredibly excited to introduce Anchor’s industry-best podcasting tools to Spotify’s massive user base as we continue our journey, now with even greater resources,” said Michael Mignano, CEO of Anchor. “We look forward to continuing to empower creators all over the world to build an audience, generate revenue, and most importantly, have their voices heard.”

The transactions are expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 and subject to customary closing conditions.

Spotify is already boosting its library of podcasts by inviting submissions on its website.

Tributes paid to Radio Clyde’s Mike Riddoch

Tue, 2019-02-05 18:35

Tributes have been paid following the death of former Clyde 1 and Clyde 2 breakfast presenter Mike Riddoch.

After a spell at BBC Radio Manchester in the early 1970s, Mike went on to spend almost 40 years on air in Glasgow following a move to Radio Clyde in the late 70s.

He was the first breakfast presenter on Clyde 1 when the AM and FM frequencies split in 1987. After 10 years on that show, he had a spell at Scot FM before returning to Clyde 2 in 2000 – first on drivetime before a move to Clyde 2’s ‘Riddie in the Morning’ breakfast show.

Mike remained on air on the Bauer network in Scotland until June 2017.

Graham Bryce, Group Managing Director of Bauer Radio in Scotland, told RadioToday: “Mike was an inspiration to everyone at Radio Clyde and will always hold a special place in the history of the station as the very first presenter on Clyde 1’s flagship breakfast show.

“Our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this sad time.”

George Bowie who took over the breakfast show from Mike in 1997 told us: “Riddie set the bar for the breakfast show at Clyde 1 and I knew I had big shoes to fill when I took over.

“I was proud to call Mike a friend and a colleague and was lucky to have had him next door in Clyde 2 for many years. He will be missed by everyone at the station and across the industry.”

Nation purchases five radio licences in England

Tue, 2019-02-05 15:28

Bauer Media will transfer five radio licences to Nation Broadcasting as part of a deal to buy Celador Radio and Lincs FM Group.

Four of the licences are local stations whilst the fifth is a large regional service covering the Solent area.

Following Bauer’s purchase of Celador and Lincs today, Nation will take control of Lincs FM Group-owned KCFM in Hull, and Celador’s The Breeze in Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton (which operates as one station), along with regional station Sam FM South Coast.

Whilst KCFM is locally programmed, Sam FM shares most of its programmes with other Sam stations in the South. The Breeze also shares the majority of its output, created in Southampton, with the rest of The Breeze network.

Speaking to RadioToday about the move, Martin Mumford, Managing Director at Nation Broadcasting told us: “We’re very excited to be expanding Nation Broadcasting’s portfolio by welcoming Sam FM and The Breeze in the Solent area and KCFM in Hull into the group from March.

“As there are various legal processes involved in these transfers taking place we are currently unable to comment further.”

The group cannot comment on its plans for the services – whether they will continue to use the same on-air names, or if they will rebrand to match Nation’s growing brand Nation Radio, which now operates in London, Wales and Scotland.

Nation Broadcasting bought Sun FM from UKRD last year and kept its local name instead of rebranding.

IRN Award nominations revealed for 2019

Tue, 2019-02-05 14:15

Bauer leads the commercial radio groups with 23 nominations for this year’s IRN Awards, just ahead of Global’s 19.

There are also four for Wireless and three each for Premier Christian Radio and the Jack FM Oxfordshire news teams. Making up the nominations list are single nominations for each of Quidem, Bob FM and Central FM.

There is one nomination for Lincs FM Group’s Yorkshire News Team, which we have counted in the Bauer total after news of the group’s purchase earlier today.

The nominations across 12 categories were revealed by Sky News presenter Kay Burley on Tuesday morning. Winners will be announced on Thursday 7th March at Sky Cinema in west London – and a ‘Gold Award’ will also be presented on the day to recognise outstanding contribution to commercial radio news.

IRN Editor and Chair of Judges, Dave Terris said: “It’s a big achievement being nominated for an IRN Award given the strength of the competition in commercial radio news. The Awards recognise the breadth of talent and the quality of journalism that exists in the network at a time when clarity is an essential ingredient in reporting news in an uncertain world. I’d like to thank the excellent panel of judges for their time and congratulate everyone who’s been nominated.”

Here are the full shortlists…

Best Interview:
James Bulger 25 Years: The Police Tapes – Global’s Newsroom North West.
PRIDE: Bryan Rutherford Interviews Anti-LGBT Campaigner Donald Morrison – MFR
Adam Ellison Murder: A Sister’s Grief – Radio City
Tim Farron MP: I Was Foolish I Was Wrong – Premier Christian Radio
Lockerbie: Love Never Dies – Global’s Newsroom Scotland

Newcomer of the Year:
Steve Forbes – Jack FM Oxfordshire
Phil McDonald – Global’s Newsroom Scotland
Cara Bentley – Premier Christian Radio
Abi Smitton – Hits Radio Manchester
Lucy Hough – LBC Global Radio

Best Sports Coverage:
Scottish Football: Home And Away – Clyde 1 and Clyde 2
World Cup 2018 Coverage – talkSPORT
Geraint Thomas: A Welshman Wins The Tour De France – Global’s Newsroom Wales
Latics Live – 102.4 Wish FM
Global’s North West Sport – Global’s Newsroom North West

Best News Special or Feature:
Stillbirth: The Need For Loss Certificates – Global’s Newsroom North West
Commuter Chaos – Bob FM Hertfordshire
Egypt Church Bombings One Year On – Premier Christian Radio
Echoes of Dunblane: Journey to Parkland – Global’s Newsroom Scotland
Be Here Tomorrow -Metro Radio

Student Journalist of the Year – supported by the BJTC:
Thea Matthews – Bournemouth University
David Applin – Canterbury Christchurch University
Dave Wheeler – Bournemouth University
Callum Clark – Glasgow Caledonian University
Alice Knight – Bournemouth University

Campaigning Journalism Award:
No More Knives – Viking FM
Stillbirth: The Need For Loss Certificates – Global’s Newsroom North West
Take The Time – Radio Forth
Dying To Diet – Hallam FM and Free Radio
Joan’s Legacy – West FM

Newsreader of the Year (hubs or stations under 1m TSA):
Charlotte Murphy – CFM Radio
Patrick Hildred – Global’s Newsroom East
Jaimielee Rendall – Radio Aire
Bekki Clark – Northsound
Paul Philbin – Central FM

Newsreader of the Year (hubs or stations over 1m TSA):
Rebecca Cook – Global’s Newsroom Scotland
Becky Cahill – Hits Radio
Katie Radley – Global’s Newsroom Yorkshire and North East
Simon Conway – LBC Global Radio
Sam Thomson – Global’s Newsroom Yorkshire and North East

Reporter of the Year (hubs or stations under 1m TSA):
Emma Grant – The Wave and Swansea Sound
Alice Sofield – 2BR
Bryan Rutherford – Northsound and MFR
Emma Kirwan – Jack FM Oxfordshire
Kathy Peart – The Wave and Swansea Sound

Reporter of the Year (hubs or stations over 1m TSA):
Megan Jones – Free Radio
Rachael Venables – LBC Global Radio
Nick Codling – Global’s Newsroom South
Hope Webb – Radio Forth
Rosanna Austin – Hallam FM and Radio Aire

News Team of the Year (hubs or stations under 1m TSA):
Free Radio Coventry and Warwickshire
Lincs FM Group Yorkshire News Team
West FM News
The Jack News Team
Radio Aire News

News Team of the Year (hubs or stations over 1m TSA):
Radio Forth News Team
Global’s Newsroom Yorkshire and North East
Global’s Newsroom Wales
Quidem News Team
Hallam FM News

Bauer Media continues to grow with two acquisitions

Tue, 2019-02-05 12:31

Bauer Media has bought itself 33 analogue radio stations and three digital services after buying Lincs FM Group and Celador Radio, but will sell some of those for competition reasons.

KCFM will be sold to avoid problems with Bauer’s current station in Hull, Viking FM, along with Sam FM South Coast to avoid issues with Wave 105. The Breeze Solent, which is made up of licences in Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester, will also be sold on. Nation Radio has already agreed to buy these stations.

The move gives Bauer a soft AC network across the south of England, an adult hits network in the southwest, a network of local stations in Anglia and Lincolnshire, and a hit music station in Bournemouth.

It also spells the end of radio for Paul Smith CBE, Chairman of Celador Entertainment Limited, and Lincs FM Chief Executive Michael Betton, both founders of their own radio groups.

How these stations will fit into the Bauer portfolio of Hits and Greatest Hits has yet to be announced, but it almost doubles the amount of ‘radio brands’ owned by Bauer.

The stations in full are:

  • The Breeze (Andover)
  • The Breeze (Bristol)
  • The Breeze (Basingstoke & North Hampshire)
  • The Breeze (Bath)
  • The Breeze (Bridgwater & West Somerset)
  • The Breeze (Cheltenham & North Gloucestershire)
  • The Breeze (East Hampshire & South West Surrey)
  • The Breeze (Frome & West Wiltshire)
  • The Breeze (Newbury)
  • The Breeze (North Dorset)
  • The Breeze (North Somerset)
  • The Breeze (Reading)
  • The Breeze (South Devon)
  • The Breeze (Yeovil & South Somerset)
  • Sam FM (Bristol)
  • Sam FM (Swindon)
  • Sam FM (Thames Valley – digital)
  • Dream 100 FM (Colchester)
  • Town 102 (Ipswich – digital)
  • The Beach (Norfolk)
  • North Norfolk Radio (Norfolk)
  • Radio Norwich 99.9 (Norwich)
  • Fire Radio (Bournemouth and Poole)
  • Lincs FM (Lincolnshire & Newark)
  • Compass FM (North East Lincolnshire)
  • Trax FM (Doncaster & Bassetlaw)
  • Dearne FM (Barnsley, Penistone and the Dearne Valley)
  • Rutland Radio (Stamford & Rutland)
  • Ridings FM (the Wakefield district)
  • Rother FM (Rotherham)
  • Suffolk First (Suffolk – digital)

Numerous operating changes are expected at these stations following the sale – and we’ll keep you informed during the coming weeks and months with any details.

Bauer Media acquires Lincs FM Group

Tue, 2019-02-05 11:51

Bauer Media Group has bought Lincs FM Group, which comprises of nine licences across Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Rutland.

The company has also bought Celador’s radio division, which includes 25 anlogue stations and two digital services.

Paul Keenan, CEO Bauer Media UK and European Radio commented: “The UK’s love of radio shows no signs of diminishing and we are investing to extend our reach and broaden our offer. Radio enjoyed record revenues last year and continues to exceed advertiser expectations, offering proven positive brand impact within an uncertain landscape.“

The Celador and Lincs FM Group stations add 1.1 million weekly listeners to the Bauer portfolio and extends its coverage of the UK. In one announcement the group has bought 36 radio stations across the country, but will instantly sell The Breeze and Sam FM in the Solent region, and KCFM in Yorkshire to Nation Radio due to Bauer already operating in these markets with Wave 105.2 FM and Viking Radio.

Keenan adds, “Bauer’s strong position on new listening platforms – with more than 60% of our listening now digital – will help secure the future of the acquired stations in the new audio world. Through this investment Bauer Media is demonstrating its fundamental belief in the UK, one of its key markets, which it is certain will continue to offer great opportunities for growth and economic success and in the continuing relevance of radio as a medium.”

Read more on the sale, and see a full list of stations here.

Celador’s radio stations sold to Bauer Media

Tue, 2019-02-05 11:42

Bauer Media has bought all of Celador’s radio stations, which includes 25 analogue stations and two digital services.

They consist of the Sam FM and Breeze network of stations, Fire Radio, Radio Norwich, The Beach, North Norfolk Radio, Dream 100 and Town 102.

Celador Radio Broadcasting was formed in October 2008, which immediately followed the entertainment group’s acquisition of its first radio station, Original 106 FM, a regional licence covering the Solent area of South England. Celador re-branded the station as The Coast, delivering a classic and soft rock format.

Celador’s most recent acquisition in May 2017 was Jack FM (Reading) which was replaced by The Breeze on FM and Sam FM on DAB.

The sale of Celador Radio Broadcasting will see Celador Entertainment exiting altogether from the commercial radio business. Part of the deal includes Bauer instantly reselling Sam FM South Coast to avoid issues with Wave 105. The Breeze Solent, which is made up of licences in Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester, will also be sold on. Nation Radio has already agreed to buy these stations.

Bauer has also bought Lincs FM Group of stations. Read more on the sale, and see a full list of stations here.

Entries now open for British Podcast Awards 2019

Tue, 2019-02-05 11:00

Entries are now open for this year’s British Podcast Awards with a few new categories available for podcasters and radio stations to enter.

The new categories includes Moment of the Year, Best Sex and Relationships podcast and the Bullseye Award, alongside returning categories True Crime, Entertainment, Interview, Fiction and Current Affairs.

‘Acast Moment of the Year’ is a brand new award that will recognise the podcast that has made a massive impact, resonated with listeners, united or introduced people to the medium.

And The Bullseye Award, supported by Podiant, will honour the podcasts that are producing exceptional listening experiences for niche audiences and those under-represented in other British media.

Amongst the special awards of the night is the Audioboom Podcast of the Year, chosen from the winners of the other categories, and the Listeners’ Choice Award which is voted for by the public. Last year saw over 110,000 votes cast for the most popular British podcasts.

Any podcast creator can enter the awards, with the shortlist created by over fifty judges. Overseeing the process as Chair of Judges is Miranda Sawyer, Radio Critic for The Observer, providing guidance and advice on what makes a podcast great.

Miranda says: “I am delighted to be the Chair of Judges for this year’s British Podcast Awards. Podcasts have changed my life (NB for the better), and I can’t wait to listen to this year’s entries. I’m also thrilled that so many brilliant podcast creators and fans are going to join me on the judging panel. As the Observer’s audio reviewer, I get sick of my own opinions, so it’s great to have other gobby pod-connoisseurs to argue with.”

Organiser Matt Hill tells RadioToday: “2018 was a fantastic year for podcasts and we think this year will be our biggest yet. We’re over the moon to announce today support from Acast, Audioboom, Radioplayer and Podiant with more announcements due soon”.

Last year saw Cariad Lloyd become one of the biggest winners of the awards so far with her podcast Griefcast; Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode won the Listeners’ Choice Award for Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review; and long-time podcaster Helen Zaltzman was crowned Podcast Champion.

Fearne Cotton, Simon Mayo, Mark Kermode, Jake Wood, Fi Glover, Josh Widdicombe and Evanna Lynch handed out awards on the night.





Entries close on Friday 1st March, nominees will be announced on Tuesday 9th April, and the awards event will take place on Saturday 18th May at Kings Place, London. See more at

UKRD Yorkshire stations join together for tribute

Mon, 2019-02-04 22:53

Stray FM, Minster FM and Yorkshire Coast Radio will join together for a special day of programmes to tell the story of Mick Atkinson who took his own life last year.

In what marks four months since the death of Mick, the day coincides with national mental health awareness day It’s Time to Talk; a day which encourages people to be more open about their own mental health problems.

37-year-old Mick was a serving police officer who worked as a dog handler across North Yorkshire. A father, partner, brother and friend to many, Mick was often described as a larger than life character. His death in October 2018 shocked his family and his police colleagues across the force.

On Thursday 7th February, the three UKRD Group stations will break normal format and join together to broadcast a special tribute to Mick. This will start at 8.10am when Mick’s partner Kellie Taylor will share her story in a bid to try and encourage those who are suffering to talk.

Throughout the day, Mick will be remembered with a series of interviews from close friends and former colleagues. The topic of mental health will be addressed on both the radio and online with a focus on encouraging people to speak about their own mental health.

Will Smith, Deputy Content Director of Stray FM told RadioToday: “1 in 4 people in the UK suffer with a mental health problem every year, so talking about our mental health has never been more important. The UKRD group are open to ideas and want to have a positive impact in the communities they serve. We work in a medium where we can reach a large audience both on the radio and online.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues at Stray FM, Minster FM and Yorkshire Coast Radio as well as North Yorkshire Police to raise awareness across North Yorkshire of such an important topic.”

Superintendent Mike Walker of North Yorkshire Police added: “The prevalence of mental health within the policing family and the need to speak out has never been so important. As a police service we are improving our mental health awareness and have already put measures in place to encourage people to talk about their own mental health. The psychological wellbeing of our workforce has to be a priority but we need the help of everyone if we are really going to look after those who need us most. Therefore, the support of the radio stations in North Yorkshire is greatly appreciated as we must keep the ‘speak out’ message at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”

Bridget Meynell, Managing Director of Minster FM said: “Life throws many challenges at us and we all have good days and bad days. How we handle those challenges can vary depending upon our emotional health. That’s why it’s so important to be able to talk problems through with others so that we can avoid them seeming insurmountable and spiralling out of control. We sometimes spend more waking hours per week with our colleagues than anyone else and it’s important to create an open environment in the workplace where we can take time to talk about mental health without fear of judgement”.

Ofcom proposes to allow more DAB+ radio stations

Mon, 2019-02-04 16:25

Ofcom has today published a consultation proposing changes to the technical rules that DAB broadcasters need to follow.

Amongst the technical details, one of the proposals includes removing the 30% limit on DAB+ stations on the SDL multiplex.

At the moment, the multiplex must have at least 70% of its services in original standard DAB.

For all other multiplex operators, the Technical Code states that DAB+, which is a more efficient method of encoding audio than that used in the original DAB system, can only be used when specifically permitted by Ofcom. The default expectation in the Ofcom Code is that conventional DAB audio encoding will normally be used.

The regulator says DAB+ compatible receivers have become increasingly widespread in recent years and DAB+ more widely used so wants to remove the requirement for licensees to obtain specific authorisation from Ofcom for adopting DAB+.

But whilst it will be easier to launch a station using DAB+, any multiplex operator switching a current station from DAB to DAB+ will be expected to liaise with the individual radio station(s) with the aim of providing appropriate information to listeners on the changes (e.g. on-air announcements), and providing advice on the steps listeners can take to continue receiving the service (e.g. purchasing a DAB+-capable receiver).

The new technical rules ensure that digital radio signals are transmitted in a uniform way and don’t conflict or interfere with one other. This helps enable digital radio listeners to receive the same listening experience from the digital radio stations available in their own areas.

Today’s consultation proposes changes to ensure the Technical Codes keep pace with new technology and industry developments, including making the rules more suitable for the needs of future ‘small scale DAB’ services.

The consultation closes on 18 March 2019.

Young ARIAS awards now open for entries

Mon, 2019-02-04 11:01

The Young ARIAS, a new awards scheme celebrating radio and audio created by under 18s are now open for entries.

Both the BBC and commercial stations will begin promoting the awards from Monday encouraging school radio stations, podcasts, homemade audio projects, community and hospital radio contributors and DJs to enter their work.

With BBC Radio 1’s Matt Edmondson and Mollie King and KISS FM’s new Breakfast team Tom Green and Daisy Maskell on board as ambassadors, the Young ARIAS aim to widen the talent pool coming into British radio and provide an opportunity for young people to access the industry.

The awards will provide young audio talent with a chance to gain exposure to, and a better understanding of, the radio and audio industry.

The winners and the institutions that support them will also be offered prizes such as the opportunity to guest host on a national radio show, mentoring and special school assemblies. The Young ARIAS will showcase and nurture talent and will be promoted nationally on some of the UK’s biggest radio stations.

The awards, sponsored by BBC Sounds, Arqiva, Pure, Fun Kids, Broadcast Bionics and School Radio, will take place on May 17 in the BBC Radio Theatre and entries will close on March 15.

The full list of categories and details of how to enter free of charge are available on and @theyoungarias.

Bob Shennan, Director of Radio and Music at the BBC, said: “Spotting and developing new talent for the British audio industry is a hugely important part of what we do across BBC Radio so I’m delighted to be joining forces with the commercial radio sector for the Young ARIAS. It’s quite appropriate that BBC Sounds, our new digital audio destination, is sponsoring the Rising Star categories in these inaugural awards and I can’t wait to hear who will make the shortlist. Good luck to all the entrants!”

BBC Radio 1’s Matt Edmondson said: “We can’t wait to hear all the amazing audio submitted by 8 to 18-year-olds and schools across the UK. We’ll be supporting the awards at Radio 1 and look forward to meeting the talented nominees at the awards event in May.”

Mollie King, who is Ken Bruce’s Tracks of my Years guest this week on Radio 2, said: “Being a presenter on BBC Radio 1 is literally my dream job, so I’m so excited to support an awards which will help young people get into radio and audio and give them a chance to follow their dreams too. I just hope no one’s too good, Matt and I quite like our breakfast show slot!”

Tom Green, KISS FM Breakfast Presenter, said: “For me, there’s no better creative industry than radio. It’s a career that offers such freedom and I’d love for these awards to help future talent land their dream jobs in radio and audio”

Daisy Maskell, KISS FM Breakfast Presenter, said: “My own path into radio hasn’t been the most conventional, so it’s fantastic that the Young ARIAS are making it possible for any young person – anywhere – to get their first big break in this amazing industry.”

Siobhan Kenny, Chief Executive at Radiocentre, said: “There’s an audio revolution going on, and technology means it’s never been easier for young people to create their own unique audio projects. Now is the perfect time for an awards event designed to celebrate this, and potentially launch fresh-faced radio and audio enthusiasts of today into their dream careers.”

Sean Childerley, Managing Director at The Radio Academy, said: “The Radio Academy is delighted to be able to use the connections we have across the sector to link great young British radio and audio talent with the rest of the industry. The Young ARIAS are set to be a fantastic platform for showcasing the best of what this country’s next generation of radio and audio has to offer, and we can’t wait to see the entries.”