Asian radio industry gives DAB backing

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DAB radio IS the future, say key players in the UK Asian radio sector.

The industry is already split over DAB. Is it the cornerstone of the future of digital radio, or is it a hugely expensive white elephant that has already been overtaken by rival delivery platforms such as the web?

Earlier this week, GCap Media announced it is to pull back from digital radio to help double profits as part of an overhaul which will see digital radio brands such as theJazz and Planet Rock close down (it has already closed down Core, Life and Disney).

BizAsia.co.uk has spoken to the key figures of Asian radio industry who all unanimously supported DAB.

Jenny Abramsky, Director, BBC Audio & Music
“The BBC has been at the forefront of digital radio for more than ten years and remains fully committed to DAB and the other digital delivery platforms. There’s an exciting future for radio. It is central to the lives of huge numbers of people who listen every week.

“Recent RAJAR listening figures show that nearly 5.6 million people tune into BBC Radio via DAB each week and the BBC’s digital-only networks continue to grow, with two networks ��� 6 Music and BBC 7 ��� recently posting record listening figures.”

Raj Baddhan, Station Manager, ZEE Radio
���As a new player in the UK Asian DAB market, we are positive our carefully sifted programming will attract new listeners to digital radio. Programming, packaging and the marketing of the station are factors that can determine the popularity of one station; we aim to deliver on all three. Watch this space.”

John Ogden, Director, Club Asia
“This is a very difficult time for Commercial stations who have been heavily exposed in DAB. Many groups pursued a “land grab” when DAB was launched. They are now realising that the costs of maintaining present simulcast services are largely unsustainable.

“However, Commercial Radio is questioning the viability of DAB just as interest among retailers, manufacturers and listeners has never been higher. 23% of homes have DAB digital radio and 30% of homes are listening to radio on a digital platform. However, those listeners clearly demand more than a simulcast of what’s already available on their old AM or FM frequencies.

We remain excited about our role in the new Channel 4 led multiplex. It is clear to us at Club Asia that DAB has a role in a fast converging UK media industry. DAB is part of a bouquet of opportunities offered to listeners in the future. Listening via the internet and mobile technology will complete the picture. The key is providing new and exciting services that listeners can’t get elsewhere”

Surjit Singh Ghuman, Director, Asian FX and Panjab Radio
“Panjab Radio has proved itself as a leading brand on digital radio with its niche programming. Once again we�۪re doing the same with Asian FX by offering an entity, which is individual but also something, which listeners have shown interest in. I�۪m hoping we can turn around the negative press DAB has been receiving of late by shaking up the market with our Asian FX, just like we did with Panjab Radio.”

Sunrise Radio, which is launching nationally on DAB early next-year refused to provide us with a quote on their plans.

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