New Wave Media, owners of Original 106, Central FM and Wave 102, is launching nine new radio services this week.
The stations will only be online, as the MD of the company believes the future of radio delivery is web-based rather than DAB.
Each of the stations will gain three new sister stations, with specialist music at the heart of the plans. Original 106 will launch Original 106 Gold, Original 106 Country and Original 106 Chart, with Central FM and Wave 102 offering the same formats targeting their own local areas.
Each station will be a locally focused genre specific offering with each station carrying local news every hour.
Alistair Smith, who is heading up the project, said: “These stations have a hybrid structure, they are not a direct music on demand proposition, more a station ‘genre’ on demand playing to all the strengths of radio whilst just focussing on the music you love. The stations will offer listeners a new music format enabling them to remain loyal to the local station whilst enjoying all the benefits of local features, what’s on guides and of course local, national and international news.”
New Wave Media says advertisers will be given fresh marketing and connection opportunities as Ofcom does not regulate web radio enabling a variety of innovative advertiser and marketing solutions.
Adam Findlay, MD of New Wave Media isn’t a fan of DAB, saying internet radio is coming of age and that’s where the future lies. He said: “UK radio has spent hundreds of millions on DAB over the past 20 years having been frog marched down the DAB path by the UK Government. The good news is that web radio is now coming of age with uncapped data streaming, wide scale wi-fi access and of course the arrival of internet access in cars through google dashboards, the industry is being given a second chance to realise its digital future.
“DAB will almost certainly be part of that future but that’s all, just part of it not the exclusive future. I think it will soon be a web led future with DAB remaining in the slow lane.”
The company is already planning even more spin-off services featuring jazz, R&B, classic and a Scottish music service.