Scrimshaws ID, owners of Glasgow’s small-scale DAB multiplex, is auctioning off space to the highest bidder.
The company, led by Spencer Pryor, says it is trying to populate the final 128k stereo spot and hopes that by offering it to the highest bidder, it can cover its costs of operating the minimux.
Spencer told RadioToday: “We have organised this trial on a nearly non-profit making basis, however due to the ‘robustness’ of a quote for mast installation and rigging by a well known industry company, we need to let one more slot of 128kbs joint stereo to a station to avoid turning this venture into a loss making venture!
“We will also require the entire nine months transmission fees to be paid in advance.”
However, one radio station operator, who is involved in another minimux, has slammed the decision to take it to auction, telling RadioToday: “I think it’s an utter disgrace. These are experimental licences and not cash cows for the multiplex owners. Scrimshaws should be ashamed of themselves.”
In response, MD Spencer Pryor defended the move: “These trial licences are not cash cows; more like money pits. As we are using commercial masts and sites for our two transmitter SFN network we have some very high costs passed onto us for installation and mast rentals in order for us to make the coverage as good as possible across Glasgow.
“We are not just sticking the transmitters on top of the nearest available tower blocks. Also, in our case, we are bearing the costs of the telecom circuits and not Ofcom, so that’s a couple of grand straight off”.
He continued: “Half of the stations are paying £100 a month or less for carriage on the multiplex, and the out and out commercial stations are not paying much more than that. The auction for the last remaining spot that we want to offer on the mux is just an economic experiment to see where the level of interest and demand lies. It also makes the process visibly transparent. Who knows, maybe no-one will bid! I could just as easily have stuck a pin into my email box and one of the dozens of applicant stations would have been a lucky winner. At the end of the day whatever the auction winner pays it is still going to be 95% less than the local conglomerate owned MUX.”
Closing date for the auction will be 17th August 2015, and further details can be found at callsid.co.uk.