Digital Economy Bill Benefits Community Radio

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The Community Media Association, the UK body for community media which represents among others over 200 licensed community radio stations, has today written to all MPs and key Peers to urge them to support the radio clauses of the Digital Economy Bill, highlighting the significant benefits that the community radio sector will receive as FM spectrum becomes available following digital radio switchover.

The Digital Economy Bill contains provisions to enable the consumer-led transition from analogue to digital radio for national, regional and larger-local services. A new tier of local radio, consisting of small local commercial stations and community stations, will then occupy the vacated FM spectrum. The creation of space on the FM spectrum will bring a host of benefits to those stations, including allowing those currently on AM to move to FM; room for new services to be licensed and launched; longer licence periods; and access to better signal strength.

The CMA will also work together with the rest of the radio industry to ensure that listeners have a seamless experience when tuning between their favourite stations and will therefore be largely unaware of whether a station is broadcasting on FM or DAB.

Jaqui Devereux, Director, Community Media Association, said:

“Ofcom has described the growth of community radio as a great success story, with over 200
community services licensed since 2004. However, there is still huge potential within the sector and the Digital Economy Bill is an essential and enormously beneficial piece of legislation which will enable community radio to further flourish and fulfil its potential. ”

Ford Ennals, Chief Executive, Digital Radio UK, said:

“Community radio provides an essential service to listeners in every corner of the country and I’m delighted that the Community Media Association has lent its support to the radio clauses of the Digital Economy Bill. The increased availability of analogue spectrum following digital switchover will allow this hugely valued sector of the radio industry to grow and better serve its audience, ensuring that FM will continue to thrive.”

Download press release here.

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