Commercial radio group UKRD has taken the latest rumours of BBC digital cutbacks to brand the DAB situation as a shambles, and a costly mistake for our industry.
And Chief Executive William Rogers told RadioToday.co.uk he welcomes the rumoured BBC re-structure following the leaking of plans last week.
Talking about the rumours, which will apparently see a re-focus of Radio 2, the closure of 6 Music and Radio 7, William said that he was delighted to see the BBC "re-ordering it’s priorities to more accurately reflect what it should be all about".
This is a quite courageous set of changes and though many will be quick to criticise the BBC for either going too far or not going far enough, we have to look at the direction these changes take us in and I for one am delighted to see the proposals as they are set out, assuming they are true of course,” said Rogers.
"The re-focus of Radio 2 is clearly appropriate and welcome and the changes proposed to local BBC radio services means that local commercial radio will have an even more important role in delivering local community focused services in their broadcast areas. Sadly the Governments Digital Economy Bill undermines that opportunity at the very time it should be enhancing it. What this shows is an acceptance that the BBC has a duty to recognise its privileged position and these proposals start to address that in a meaningful way” he said.
“Importantly, the decision to close some DAB only services is a reflection of what we all know; DAB has been a shambles and has been a seriously costly mistake for the industry and this courageous move is one which the commercial radio sector should have been prepared to make itself but has not shown the bravery to,” said Rogers. “There is no doubt that this will make the switchover target of 2015 even more impossible to achieve than it already is and the BBC is only doing what it knows it should.”
“DAB has been a millstone around the neck of the radio sector for years and has failed on almost every count to deliver what it was supposed to. Now, the Government is hell bent on driving this flawed proposition forward even faster and we all know what a mess this is going to end up in.
"Anyone thinking of buying a DAB radio after this set of announcements should be wary of doing so. DAB has the skids under it and as these sorts of decisions become the norm rather than the exception, the public will be increasingly wedded to their analogue radio sets until an appropriate alternative is available."
UKRD operate just one station on the DAB platform, Pirate FM, and has an interest in various multiplexes.