AM switch off is premature

An analogue switch-off in the next two years would be “premature”, according to talkSPORT’s chief executive. In an interview with RadioWorks, Scott Taunton says he believes the “thought of switching off services in 2009, given the number of sets that exist and the lack of DAB sets elsewhere would be premature”.

Ralph Bernard, who last week stepped down as Chief Executive of GCap Media told Marketing Week that digital radio will not flourish until the Government sets a date for switching off analogue transmitters, so the industry can form a "business plan that makes sense".

“In the original consultation from Ofcom there was suggestion that we would look at the AM frequency in 2009,” Taunton told Radio Works’ Stan Park, “and whilst not explicitly stated I think you could read into that in 2009 you may well be looking at a switch of date for AM in order to accommodate a digital future for some of the smaller FM services.”

The updated Future of Radio consultation published last week by Ofcom failed to provide any suggestions for a possible switch to digital, stating only that all upcoming analogue licences will be extended to the end of 2015.

However Taunton warns the industry not to “have a knee jerk reaction and start turning off AM services.”

Taunton is Chief Executive of national AM service talkSPORT. A second sister service, Talk Radio, will launch in Summer 2008 on Channel 4’s national digital multiplex. Former Five Live managing editor, Moz Dee, will be programme director for both services.

To hear more of RadioWorks interview with Scott Taunton, including his thoughts on UTV Radio buying Emap’s portfolio of stations, click [link=]here[/link].

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