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Satellite Radio to overtake DAB?

American Satellite Radio operator Worldspace and Madrid-based Ondas Media are both planning Satellite Radio services for the UK. Worldspace already runs services in Africa and Asia and will start transmitting to Italy next year. Ondas is scheduled to launch its pan-European subscription-based services at the end of 2009.

Satellite Radio is already a major force in the States, with a combined 12 million subscribers already paying a monthly fee for exclusive content from XM and Sirius. In the UK, Satellite receivers could cost around £65, with a monthly subscription of £7.

In a recent report for Broadcast, Virgin Radio chief executive Fru Hazlitt said: "The US influences us enormously. An Oprah Winfrey-branded station launched on XM this week. I would be very surprised if satellite radio was not a significant platform here in the next five years."

Ondas have made various appointments this week in preperation for the service. Former Astra boss John Yates has been appointed as senior vice president of network engineering, Jason Jones as vice president of broadcast operations and Martin Charman as vice president of broadcast technology.

Martin will be responsible for the quality, transmission and technical standards associated with the delivery of content over the ONDAS satellite system and the planning and implementation of ONDAS’ terrestrial repeater network. Previously he was head of IT and Engineering at JazzFM PLC for over thirteen years. In addition, he has held senior positions with BBC World Service and Local Radio and spent three years planning VHF and UHF broadcast transmitters with the BBC Research Department.

With its fully integrated, state-of-the-art digital satellite transmission network, ONDAS intends to broadcast its multi-lingual radio, music, video, data services directly to European consumers in their automobiles, trucks, homes, offices and to their mobile and portable devices. It will provide digital entertainment to 240 million vehicles and up to 600 million European inhabitants on the move 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through more than 150 channels of proprietary and re-distributed music, sports, news, weather, traffic and special interest programming in all the key European languages.

“The expansion of our senior team represents ONDAS’ continued commitment to ensuring we have the highest caliber staff to develop our unique content offering for Europe in 2009,” concludes Azevedo.

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