DAB radio multiplex to close as FM prospers

A multi-city DAB digital radio multiplex is closing after lack of interest from the independent radio sector.

The multiplex by dB currently carries services by RTÉ and a number of niche stations – namely Maria, Sunshine, Ri-Ra and RTÉ lyric. Previously, the mux has offered All 80s, All 90s, Zenith, Pure Classic, Love Radio, Amazing Radio and UCB.

dB Digital Broadcasting’s ComReg licence will expire on June 30th and the company says it is “saddened” that the third key player, commercial radio, has opted to ignore DAB.

The company told RadioToday: “DAB is most successful when public and commercial broadcasters, combined with the broadcast regulator, join together to offer a more diverse range of radio. In each market this has happened, the public has loved the increased choice, with increased radio ratings in all DAB markets.

“In Ireland, the public broadcaster operates DAB and the regulator in keen for new services to come on air. We are saddened that the third key player, commercial radio, has opted to ignore DAB. Unlike growing markets with digital radio, Irish radio listening continues to trend downwards, going from 89% ten years ago, to 82% today.”

Meanwhile, the BAI is starting on a mission to start advertising FM contracts to new stations once again, with no hint of further development in the DAB space.

dB Broadcasting continued: “Now we have had practical experience with DAB, we believe more than ever, it is a viable broadcasting medium. It opens the radio market to new stations and increases choice and diversity for listeners.

“From June 30th, our trial will conclude when our ComReg trial licence expires, but we shall wait patiently for others to catch up with our vision of a bigger future for radio in Ireland.

“In the meantime we thank all who have supported our project, from regulators and suppliers, to new broadcasters and listeners.”

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