View Full Version : Ofcom looking at national AM commercial licences auction to include DRM

21-09-2006, 12:12
Media Guardian reports that Ofcom is considering auctioning Virgin Radio and TalkSport's AM radio licences in six years' time on a technology neutral basis with a possibilty of using the spectrum for new DRM services.

Peter Davies, the media regulator's director of radio and multimedia, said three new national stations and a whole range of local stations could be squeezed out of the spectrum used by the two national AM services.

TalkSport said considering ditching AM broadcasts was "crazy" and "illogical" and that they have increased their AM audience by 30% since 2000. In 2012 50% of their audience will still be listening on AM. Virgin said it would lobby for preferential treatment in the auction of the digital spectrum. The licences are due for renewal in 2012 and have to auctioned off.

Mr. Davies said DRM could fill in gaps in DAB coverage and provide a route for smaller stations to go digital. However he said there is no point auctioning spectrum if there are no DRM sets and that the idea is in its early stages.

What he did not mention is that they would also need a demand from the industry which throws up issues of financial viability and whether the traditional model of people listening to terrestrial radio broadcasts at set times, will be as dominant in 2012 as it is now.

The Media Guardian item is linked below, though as with much journalism it starts with a misleading headline and sentence. In the item there is no proposal to convert the BBC's AM services to DRM, nor does the fact that there was always going to have be an auction in 2012 for the commercial AM frequencies constitute taking away a licence. His actual quote talks about a technology neutral auction which, to my mind, would not preclude Talksport putting in a bid for AM licence:

23-09-2006, 00:47
6 years time ???!!! LOL ! We need to vacate AM freqs now of which there are many over 80 pointless BBC ones for a start

Talksport need to change thier attutide. I'm sure the listernership on AM has dwindled since they showed on DAB and the net and sky also for that matter