European Radio Show: – UK should meet FM switchover criteria in 2017

France/UK: Ford Ennals from Digital Radio UK think the UK will meet the switchover criteria this year. At the opening session at the European Radio Show in Paris he is now hoping for a clear decision from Government.


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Digital radio was a big part of the UK radio industry presentation at the start of the European Radio Show in Paris Sunday morning.

Ian O’Neill, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), said in his opening statement that the UK has a lot to be proud of when it comes to radio. He gave insight into to what he called a “strong valued and increasingly diverse” UK radio sector.

After Norway started their switchover process, #FMExit, the UK are logically next in line. Being the other country, alongside Norway, to start broadcasting in the DAB format back in 1995.

Ford Ennals, the chief executive of Digital Radio UK, said he is hopeful that the UK will meet the switchover criteria this year. Other speakers added to this by talking about the national coverage of several radio brands via digital, particularly through the D1 and D2 networks owned by Arqiva, News Corp and Bauer Media.

Digital listening is happening magically and listeners will continue to demand great content. Speaking at the conference, Steve Parkinson of Bauer Media said creativity will win the day. Talking in a broader context about both content and how to target listeners where they are.

Will Harding from Global Radio talked about innovation in his part on the session. He was talking about the other side of digital, apps on mobiles, and about digital brands that live in a multi-platform environment.

It wasn’t all sunshine coming from the British Isles on an otherwise fairly brisk and cold morning in Paris. Will Harding pointed out that targeting young listeners is the biggest challenge facing radio right now. There is a steady and alarming decline in time spent listening among the younger demographics – an issue not only felt and seen in the UK, but across markets.

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