The coming year is crucial for the commercial radio sector, according to the Radio Centre's chief executive. Andrew Harrison cited new players such as Global and Bauer and the launch of 4Digital as key factors in its continued growth.
Over 160 delegates from commercial radio stations attended the conference at the CBI Conference Centre in Central London, where Harrison pointed to the previous 12 months when commercial radio "started to fight-back".
"Our industry is in rude good health – 90 per cent of the population enjoy radio for an average of nearly 24 hours a week each and commercial stations dominate listening all the way up to the over 50s."
Harrison told delegates that he predicted 2008 would be a defining year for the Commercial Radio sector. “On consolidation, last year was the year that never was with GCap’s consolidation of the Gold network from UBC in the end the only significant play. However 2008 will be the first full year for Bauer running Emap Radio and for Global owning the former Chysalis assets."
On digital radio, Harrison said: "Over 17 per cent of all radio listening is now via digital devices and DAB radio sales are now past the 6M mark. Ofcom has estimated that digital listening will account for over half of all radio listening within 5 years.".
“In the next 5 years, across most homes, there will be 4 or 5 digital radio receiving devices and we can anticipate consumer demand for the content, functionality and experience that digital can bring so we have to develop the business models to go to whichever platforms the listeners demand”.