The U.K. government has authorized broadcast regulator Ofcom to renew two national commercial radio multiplex licenses until December 2035. Previously, the Digital One Ltd. multiplex was set to expire in 2023 and the Sound Digital Ltd. multiplex in 2028.
“Radio’s distinctive and much-loved format means it continues to be at the heart of people’s lives,” stated Media Minister Julia Lopez. “Today we are confirming plans to extend radio multiplex licenses until 2035 so our hugely popular stations can continue to reach audiences through digital radio networks and we can give broadcasters the certainty they need to invest in their future services.”
Arqiva owns Digital One, while Sound Digital is co-owned by Arqiva, Bauer Media Group, and Wireless Group Ltd.; both multiplexes are operated by Arqiva. Some 45 stations are carried between the two multiplexes, including on Digital One Absolute Radio, Capital and talkSPORT and on Sound Digital Jazz FM and Virgin Radio.
Arqiva CEO Paul Donovan called the move “a positive outcome for consumers across the U.K. and industry – helping to provide a stable platform for commercial radio in the U.K. for the next decade and beyond. The decision will also underpin the certainty needed to drive long-term investment in DAB technology and programming to ensure the future of radio remains bright.”
The government stated that renewing the multiplex licenses via a Legislative Reform Order will provide long-term continuity for national commercial stations to broadcast via DAB.
This article was updated to add Arqiva’s response.