Jazz FM delays Digital One DAB commitment
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Jazz FM delays Digital One DAB commitment

Jazz FM has decided to hold off from renewing its contract to broadcast on the national DAB multiplex Digital One for the time being.

The national station has until the end of the year to work out its future – either developing its international online listenership or continuing to grow its UK digital audience via Digital One.

Both would require significant investment by the station.

In the meantime, Digital One has advertised for a provider to run a jazz, soul and blues music station in case Jazz FM decides not to renew its contract, as the multiplex operator will need an alternative on stand-by.

Richard Wheatly, Jazz FM’s chief executive is mulling over the decision: “The digital world is changing rapidly and before I commit to such a major expense I want to be sure it’s the right decision,” he told RadioToday.

“Jazz FM’s audiences are up 36 per-cent year on year and we intend to maintain that momentum. We may renew Digital One or we may look at other options, and we will bide our time before committing,” he continued.


Jazz FM under its current ownership launched on Digital One in March 2011, having previously been available on a number of regional multiplexes, and is operated by Jazz FM Investments Ltd.

0 13 1953 05 July, 2013 Industry News Friday, July 5th, 2013


  1. dave

    Who else would want to run a jass station on D1 ???. A slot on D1 just what. UCB have been praying for !.

    1. harry worth

      jazz fm programming good sound mono low bit rate bad ofcom start dab + or starting taking dab frequencies from the state broadcaster

  2. Craig Strong

    Who’s idea was it to dumb down Jazz FM?
    I can almost set my watch by the overly repeated few songs that now seem to be played during the otherwise excellent Chris Phillips breakfast show.
    It’s always one of a few songs , including What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted, This Old Heart Of Mine, Ai NO Corrida, and others.

    Why the ” Global -esque” approach to programming?
    ie the same 4 songs in strict rotation?
    I’ve listened to Jazz FM since it was actually an FM station, and find it sad it has almost become musical wallpaper, and not what it used to be.

    I am still awaiting a reply to an e mail I sent in weeks ago, I bet the head of music is too busy to reply as he is programming those few songs into the playlist!

  3. Mr X

    D1 have really gone all-out advertising this “opportunity,” taking out ads on RadioToday etc.

    This is surely a move by D1 to force Jazz FM’s hand into renewing this contract – advertisers will start to pull away from a station which is very publicly looking like withdrawing from its main broadcast platform.

    The mux operator surely don’t believe there’s someone else out there who would seriously run a jazz/soul/blues station. Jazz FM may or may not renew, but the way this is being done is just radio industry politics.

  4. Derek

    Jazz FM really has gone down the pan. I used to listen lots but the quality on DAB is like listening over dialup. The music during the day is increasingly pop, not jazz. It’s about time the country had a quality jazz station – in all senses of the word.

  5. Jez

    “as the multiplex operator will need an alternative on stand-by.”

    Why? Is D1 required to carry a jazz service? Isn’t it just a platform which will carry those who can pay its fees?

    If a replacement jazz service is needed, there’s enough jazz/radio people about to put togther a Free Radio 80s-style stream, well programmed with respect to the jazz genres of course. Not perfect but it would fill the gap. J

    1. Mr X

      This is correct and it’s happened several times in the past. D1 simply goes to Ofcom, says “we are withdrawing the Jazz FM service and would like to replace it with format X,” Ofcom rubber stamps it, and everyone goes away happy.

      There is no requirement for them to have a jazz/soul/blues service – before theJazz, there wasn’t such a service on the multiplex (and I believe there was a gap between theJazz and Jazz FM).

  6. Radio Geordie

    If Jazz FM’s audience on DAB is up 36% then what the hell is there to ponder?

  7. Dave Wiggy Wiggins

    This is not good jazz fm is a good station on dab digital radio it should carry on broadcasting live on dab digital radio

  8. Seen It

    Jazz FM, a station not even on FM. That is intelligent branding at it’s best!

    Not sure if this is still the case, however certainly to start with they were paying to have that name on license too!

    That would be like having Magic AM but on FM.

  9. Smarty Marty

    If JazzFM leaves DAB then I’m throwing my DAB radio out. Granted Jazz FM is a bit repetitive and not as good as it used to be but it’s still a good station.

    Typical though of D1 to want to fill the gap instead of upping the quality of the sound of the stations that would remain if Jazz fm did leave. D1 don’t care about sound quality as the more stations they have on their Mux the more money they are coining in. This is one reason why DAB isn’t as good as it’s cracked up to be and will only lead to them losing out in the long run. Quality not quantity please.
    As for Jazz fm, I’m hopeful they’ll stay on DAB because not everyone has the internet, Sky tv or a Smart Phone and in any case DAB costs the listener nothing unlike Sky, internet or using yout smart Phone to listen. So for JazzFM to leave DAB would be suicide I think like when Radio Luxembourg left Medium Wave in 1991 to concentrate on it’s Astra satellite transmissions. Exactly one year later it closed altogether as it’s audience was mainly listening via Medium Wave and as RTL found out no Medium Wave meant no listeners.

    So don’t be silly Jazz fm.

  10. Music

    I think they have made a mistake.. However it is there decision…If your audience is growing why change… I use my dab and last year my children brought me an expensive one because I always have Jazz FM in the background… I want to continue to use it… I hope they have found an alternative

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