LONDON�The UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Right Honorable John Whittingdale MP, signaled a major expansion of choice and coverage of digital radio stations for over 20 million households� at an industry conference,Drive to Digital: National Now,hosted by talkSPORT presenter, Colin Murray.
Whittingdale performed theofficialswitch-on of the UK�s second national DAB digital radio multiplex network alongside Steve Holebrook, managing director of Arqiva Terrestrial Broadcast and chairman of Sound Digital. Whittingdale also launched a national retune campaign, pressing Digital Radio UK�s big green retune button and urging listeners to retune their digital radios to take full advantage of the range of services now available.
The new network from Sound Digital, a joint venture company formed by Arqiva, Bauer Media and Wireless Group, will feature 18 digital radio stations, with 11 now on -air and the remaining seven launching by the end of March. In conversation with Planet Rock Breakfast presenter, Paul Anthony, the Secretary of State welcomed the expansion of choice and coverage, emphasizing the significance of this launch for the radio industry.�
The Secretary of State welcomed the expansion of BBC national DAB to 360 sites, which provide coverage to nearly 97% of the population, as well as the expansion of local DAB coverage, which will increase coverage for local stations from 75% to 91% by the end of Q3 2016. The combined DAB coverage expansions will bring over 10 million people and 10,000 kilometres of roads into coverage by the end of the year.� By the end of 2016 the DAB coverage criteria set by Government will have been met. The department of culture, media, and sport plans to review a decision about digital switchover when the share of digital listening, which is currently at 42%, has grown to 50%.
Photo caption: Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, performs the official switch-on of the UK�s second national DAB digital radio network, and launches the national retune initiative alongside Steve Holebrook, Managing Director of Arqiva Terrestrial Broadcast, and Planet Rock Breakfast presenter, Paul Anthony.