Digital One has requested to remove Absolute 80s and Planet Rock from its multiplex from April 30th.
At the moment, the two Bauer services are available on two national DAB services, following the launch of Sound Digital Limited. A looped message will replace full programming on D1 from 6pm Monday 18th April informing listeners of the change.
After the two stations become only available on SDL, coverage will drop to 77% of UK households, leaving parts of England, Scotland and Wales unable to listen to them on terrestrial radio. The move has not gone un-noticed by over 2000 people who have joined in a petition to keep the stations available in more places.
A page on the Planet Rock website advising listeners to retune has no mention of the drop in coverage the station will have after the move.
In justifying the move, Digital One says research shows listeners to radio are increasingly consuming brands over a range of platforms. “Listeners across the UK are able to access this service via multiple other platforms such as Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media, and streaming”.
In the multiplex change request, D1 said: “We recognise that for a section of Absolute 80s’ audience living in particular areas, the choice of stations available on the DAB digital radio platform will be diminished. Digital One and Bauer recognise the loyalty and value those listeners attach to these services and understand that the change is unwelcome. However, taking into account Ofcom’s wider statutory duties, the specific criterion and the factors set out above, Digital One would argue that Ofcom should conclude that the diminution in those areas is not unacceptable.”
In addition, Bauer’s heat and Kisstory services will be removed from local multiplexes by the 30th April 2016 now they are also available on SDL.
Digital One, owned by one of the three SDL investors, Arqiva, says it will continue to seek additional customers for vacant capacity on the multiplex following the removal of Absolute 80s and Planet Rock.