UKRD is launching two more services on digital radio which complement existing analogue stations.
Stray Extra is a new service from Stray FM based in Harrogate, whilst York will get a new service from Minster FM called More Minster, both in North Yorkshire. It’s part of a strategy from owners UKRD to use the DAB platform to provide ‘incremental “opt out” specialist locally focussed programming’.
UKRD’s Pirate FM launched a similar service, Pirate 2, earlier this year.
William Rogers, UKRD Chief Executive told RadioToday the new services “add more content to the airwaves and avoids following the usual approach of merely simulcasting everything that is spewed out across the DAB platform in most licence areas”.
Talking about Stray and Minster, William said: “Both of these new services, whilst carrying simulcast programming for the majority of the day, will deliver heavy, speech based programming totally focussed on airing news, views and interviews of special interest to particular communities in each locality. It may be an education show or one which looks at lifestyle and health but in each case, will focus on locally relevant issues to give it all a local focus.
“We are very proud of this approach. Not only does it expand the range of programming being delivered into each of our markets, it also represents a brand extension of what are already very strong well known players in their respective markets along with additional opportunities for local advertisers and organisations to get their messages out into their local markets.”
It comes in the same month as UKRD is about to close down one such service, Eagle Extra in Guildford, and sell the licence to Premier Christian Radio.
It appears to be the year of local brand extensions as Bauer Media has also announced extra services for its Place Portfolio, adding stations such as Hallam 2 and Hallam 3 to the Sheffield area, and UTV also launched Pulse 2 this year along with Christmas stations.
William added: “It’s very early days for all of this but we are confident we are utilising DAB as a useful incremental platform; something which it should always have been designed to be at the local level.”
The two new services will be on the new North Yorkshire MUXCO Multiplex, which is launching on December 17th. It will also carry the programmes of BBC Radio York.