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Digital Radio UK to Merge with Radioplayer

The broadcaster-led non-profit will now encompass DAB/DAB+, as well as IP-based platforms

Radioplayer and Digital Radio UK logosRadioplayer, the partnership between the BBC and U.K. commercial radio responsible for ensuring easy access to radio via IP platforms, is adding digital radio to its remit.

Following the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s October 2021 Digital Radio and Audio Review report, Radioplayer and Digital Radio UK saw significant benefits in merging operations.

The restructuring and merger was agreed to by the BBC, the U.K. commercial radio organization Radiocentre, and the national broadcast groups Global and Bauer Media.

The merger will, according to a statement from the organizations, strengthen partnerships and cooperation among U.K. broadcasters, as well as partnerships with European radio broadcasters, audio device manufacturers and with retailers. The goal is “to promote the benefits of radio and audio, and the increased choice of services available.”

[Related: “Radioplayer Expands in Europe”]

In the joint statement, the BBC, Bauer, Global and Radiocentre said: “We know there are further significant changes taking place in the audio market and in how audiences are accessing our content, as the recent Digital Radio and Audio Review highlighted. The newly structured Radioplayer, combined with increased investment and continued collaboration, will allow us to embrace every digital opportunity available to us and successfully deliver the next phase of innovation and transformation for the radio industry.”

While the U.K. has committed to continue FM broadcasting until at least 2030, the industry sees the future of radio as both digital and multiplatform, according to the statement, with online platforms playing an increasingly important role alongside DAB/DAB+ — particularly in cars.

As part of the restructuring, Ford Ennals will step down as CEO of Digital Radio UK. Ennals was appointed as Digital Radio UK’s first CEO in 2009, following his work as head of the British digital television switchover body, Digital UK. The statement thanked Ennals “for his services to digital listening, which is now the way most people listen to radio.”

With the restructuring, the BBC, Global and Bauer are expected to increase their investment in Radioplayer and to seek further international collaboration for the benefit of the radio industry as a whole.