Star NE goes on DAB and buys Vale Radio

Darlington-based Star Radio North East has announced plans to go on digital radio for the first time and also says it will be moving its studios to a new facility in Durham.

The station was saved from closure by View TV Group earlier this year, when previous owner UKRD sold off the former Alpha 103.2 and Durham FM licences because they weren’t financially viable to run.

Now View TV says that after just 8 weeks of trading it is expanding coverage by putting Star Radio on DAB from today, but hasn’t said which multiplex it will be on. View TV also it’s acquired community DAB station Vale Radio.

CEO Jamie Branson told RadioToday: “One of the prominent points our listeners and advertisers were asking was ‘When is Star was going to be joining DAB?’. It was one of the first objectives that we committed to doing and in typical VTG style we are doing it big. Not only are we launching Star Digital today, we are also launching 2 new additional DAB channels in July. We want to expand our offering to both advertisers and the listener alike and our chosen DAB multiplex has a great footprint and allows us to deliver our objectives quickly and efficiently.”

Star says ‘Star Extra’ will launch in July, playing “nothing but hits from the best years of our lives” and delivering “proper grown up radio that we all hope will become part of the region’s daily lifestyle.”

Head of Radio, Darren Shortt, says: “The new expansion allows us to offer a huge variety of programming across the region that gives the listener an unbelievable amount of choice from our network, with music from the 60s to the present day across the channels.”

View TV has announced it will relocate to a purpose-built facility in Durham – which it says is five times larger than its current building. It says this will “enable the group to broadcast multiple linear and video on demand (VOD) channels across the UK using VTG’s existing UK IP Media Network”.

The firm also says it’s acquired Haxby-based digital station Vale Radio, which broadcasts on the North Yorkshire DAB multiplex. Vale launched in August 2014 and says it is a not-for-profit business, claiming on its website to have “helped raise helped raise a staggering £165,000 for local to North Yorkshire charities”.

View TV Group says it will relaunch Vale Radio in new studios in the heart of York, and re-name it in line with the Star brand. Jamie added: “We are dedicated to making great radio, and the Vale Online is a great example of how radio has the potential to engage with the community at every level and we intend to expand on that potential and give it the tools and investment it needs to make it a viable proposition.”

Away from radio, the company says it also plans to launch more than 8 full HD music television channels and says the Durham offices will open with “75% of the first year’s national advertising sold through the UK’s top television agencies within the first week of announcing the rollout.”

View TV also says it will be launching “Durham TV” by the end of the summer to ‘extend radio and provide cross media revenues and audiences’. This, it claims, will be one of the first of 200 local television locations around the UK for the business.

The company’s press release concludes with the bold claim: “Jamie Branson and Darren Shortt are continuing to innovate radio across the UK using Yorkshire as the initial area to demonstrate the future of radio by going against the outdated DNA of the business at present, all of which has been highly supported and welcomed by our partners and industry regulators.”

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2 Comments

  1. Matt says

    How do you sell a ‘community’ radio station that is a ‘not for profit business’?

  2. Graham Denison says

    We shall hear what we shall hear. I remain to be convinced that local radio can stay truly local when it’s part of a conglomerate..

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