After five years on Digital One, Premier Christian Radio’s carriage contract is up for renewal next week, but the station has not managed to secure space on the multiplex after March 2015.
Premier Christian Radio tells us they have been given a temporary contract to run from December 20th to enable the station to continue broadcasting over Christmas on D1 till March, when it’s expected Arqiva will offer the space to Global to broadcast Heart Extra instead.
“Negotiations will now begin in an attempt to secure Premier Christian Radio’s long-term future on the Digital One network,” Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Radio said today. “We have spent many years attracting a large and loyal national audience and want to continue broadcasting nationally. It would seem, at best, illogical to replace Premier with yet another pop music station.”
Premier expects Arqiva to submit a formal request to Ofcom to either change the content of the Digital One network or find another full service Christian radio station.
“This short reprieve comes just in time for Christmas and the Christian community,” says Peter Kerridge. “Regular listens to our station will be delighted that they will be able to continue to listen to their favouorite programmes over the Christmas holiday.
“Ofcom has a legal obligation to determine whether any change would diminish Digital One’s appeal to a variety of tastes and interests. They will also need to determine whether there has been fair and effective competition.
“Premier’s determined to continue broadcasting nationally on Digital One so the battle for Premier’s national voice is not yet over.”
In response, Arqiva told RadioToday: “Premier has been a national Christian DAB radio station since September 2009. Premier’s current contract reaches its natural end on 20 December 2014 and we have been in discussions with them since September regarding options to extend their carriage on DAB until 31 March 2015 and possibly beyond. We hope to reach a conclusion to these discussions with Premier that satisfies all parties involved and are looking at some alternative solutions which help reduce transmission costs and fall within their budget.”
Premier Christian Radio currently broadcasts on 1305, 1332, 1431 MW in London and nationally on DAB and Freeview 725.