Ahead of the WorldDAB General Assembly 2016, we speak to Jimmy Buckland, Director of Strategy at Wireless Group, on the importance of DAB and what he wants to see from the digital radio industry.
What is the importance of DAB as part of the Wireless Group portfolio?
“As a commercial broadcaster, Wireless Group pays close attention to the economic return available from individual platforms. There’s no doubt that AM and FM remain important, but DAB’s value is in providing us with another route to reach a mass audience. We’ve been a long-term investor in the platform because the business case stacks up, all the more so as at-home and in-car penetration continues to rise in our domestic market.”
What does DAB let you do that other platforms don’t?
“DAB offers a route to market for new stations, brands and content formats. As a multiplex operator in markets such as London, we’ve worked with a diverse array of broadcasters to bring their ideas to life. More recently, the launch of a new national DAB multiplex in the UK has enabled Wireless Group to launch new national services – talkSPORT 2, talkRADIO and the reborn Virgin Radio. Each is backed by significant investment in original programming, adding genuine choice.
We’re also experimenting at a local level – for example with pop-up Christmas stations. On an international basis we’re providing Premier League rights and sports programming to Eon Sports Radio in Australia – a recently launched DAB+ station.”
What would you like to see from the digital radio industry?
“New technology is spurring rapid disruption to device, distribution and retail models. Amidst this upheaval, it’s important that radio doesn’t forgo the closeness of its relationship with listeners. Threats could include a reduction in its prominence or ease of use on new devices – that sense of “I switch it on and it just works”. Radio boasts great brands and rich content, and listeners feel an incredibly close bond with what we provide. So we can afford to be bullish as an industry about keeping radio at the forefront of the next generation of at home, portable and in-car audio devices.”
Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for at the General Assembly?
“Despite our local differences, radio broadcasters around the world face common challenges and opportunities. So I’m looking forward to hearing new insights and perspectives, and exchanging ideas on working together to develop our global radio industry.”
Jimmy Buckland will be speaking on day one of the WorldDAB General Assembly. To register your place click here.