UKRD and The Local Radio Company have both resigned membership of the RadioCentre, commercial radio’s trade body, to oppose the proposed digital switchover review date of 2013 and subsequent switchover date of 2015.
The move comes less than three weeks after UTV were vocal about their decision to also opt out of the trade body.
UKRD and TLRC are now planning to work together with UTV Radio to make a case against the switchover date.
Chief Executive of UKRD and TLRC, William Rogers said: “The proposal that there should be a review in 2013 which might lead to a switchover in 2015 needs to be exposed for the completely ridiculous proposal that it is.
“This industry has been lurching from one ridiculous position on the digital question to another, we have been subjected to poor planning, little realization of the consequences of some of the decisions taken, and more worryingly, a complete lack of regard for the smaller to medium sized commercial stations which provide a locally focused service to their communities.”
He continued: “It is complete fantasy to suggest that the industry will be able to sort all the issues by this date. I believe that there is a real danger that scores of local radio stations are going to be damaged, possibly even disappearing altogether, by this proposal.
“I am not against a digital future for radio, after all we have a service on DAB and own interests in multi-plexes. However, it needs to be properly thought through, realistically assessed and resourced in such a way as to be to the benefit of the listener as well as the sector as a whole.”
In response, Andrew Harrison, RadioCentre’s Chief Executive, said: "UKRD has confirmed that it will not be renewing its RadioCentre annual membership from November 2009. We are all naturally disappointed by this news.
"Commercial Radio is a small sector and we are therefore stronger when we speak with one voice. RadioCentre will continue to work on behalf of all of its members, representing the broad range of views that exist within our sector, to help secure a viable future for all stations in a digital Britain.
"RadioCentre continues to represent the vast majority of commercial radio stations across the UK, accounting for over 90 per cent of commercial revenue. In addition, I am pleased that both UTV and UKRD have confirmed that they wish to retain their shareholding in RadioCentre and will continue to use some RadioCentre services like advertising copy clearance.”