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Another government U-Turn - this time on FM local radio?

Broadcasting Minister Ed Vaizey told MPs that FM will be retained for local commercial radio.

Broadcasting Minister Ed Vaizey told MPs that FM will be retain
published on UK Free TV

Just in case you thought that the Forests were the only government u-turn this week, you might have missed this in Radio Today:

Broadcast Minister Ed Vaizey has confirmed to a group of MPs that the FM waveband will not be switched off and will remain as one of a number of multi platform transmission options for local commercial radio.

Almost twenty MPs from across the UK met with the Minister, and the Secretary of State who was also present, to express their concerns about the implications of Government policy on local radio and expressed strong support for their respective local stations and their desire to see them prosper and flourish in the future.

William Rogers, Chief Executive of UKRD, said he was delighted with the outcome of the meeting and expressed his thanks and appreciation to all the MPs who attended to press the case for "critically important reviews" in key areas of policy.

"We need a dynamic and vibrant local radio sector with a bright and genuinely multi-platform digital future. Of course DAB is one of many such platforms but the prescriptive, poorly planned and inappropriate imposition of this single platform simply gets in the way of what consumer choice is all about." [said Rogers]


It is not clear if this means that local radio can still simulcast, or that only the areas without DAB multiplexes can retain FM.

It is also unclear if BBC Local Radio will also be retained on FM in areas without local DAB multiplexes.



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UK Free TV: 392 AM radio transmissions now have coverage maps2
New! 1000s of new DAB and FM radio coverage maps3
We ARE going to get BBC Local Radio on Freeview ... today!4
How do the two new national DAB radio bids compare?5
More digital radio stations. Ofcom - finally - proposes DAB+6

Comments
Thursday, 24 February 2011
D
david
4:18 PM

If we are to have dab it should be dab+ like the rest of europe

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david's 2 posts GB
D
David Pinfold
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

6:02 PM
Banbury

Briantist - I keep reading that the Oxfordshire local DAB multiplex is now due to launch in 2011 from the boars hill, oxford & Farthinghoe transmitters. Do you know if any specific date has been set for its launch & if there's any possiblity that the BBC & Digital One multiplexes are going to be added to the Farthinghoe transmitter. This would greatly improve reception in Banbury which for a large part of the town is poorly served by the Oxford transmitter?

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David Pinfold's 42 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

8:04 PM

David Pinfold: The provision by the BBC and Digital One is unrelated to the local multiplex provision.

As far as I know there are no plans this year for any extra BBC or D1 transmitters in your area.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,846 posts GB
Friday, 25 February 2011
M
michael
sentiment_satisfiedGold

9:20 AM

Steve, thanks for your very lucid and informed overview. It is now too late for DAB+ or DRM+, sadly, so we are stuck with the poor current and predicted implementation of DAB, which will probably only provide satisfactory non-static reception in major population areas and motorway corridors, but little in FM-equivalent audio quality, as you highlight As there has now been a u-turn on use of FM for local commerical broadcasting, technical and budgetary realism just might yet give FM a wider reprieve.

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michael's 851 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

2:27 PM

michael: It's not an informed overview. It's the same old misunderstandings. I find it highly depressing.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,846 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

2:29 PM

John: I have to say that calling people "the masses" is very patronising.

I suspect you are looking at your own personal situation and assuming that everyone else wants the same.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,846 posts GB
D
David Pinfold
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

9:27 PM
Banbury

Briantist - do you think there is much chance of ofcom releasing more of the Band III spectrum so for example the BBC could have a second multiplex and spread its stations across 2 multiplexes & increase the bitrates back up to 192kbps if we are going to stick with DAB it can't be too much to ask that sound quality equals current FM transmissions.

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David Pinfold's 42 posts GB
M
michael
sentiment_satisfiedGold

10:12 PM

Brian, we are all probably a bit depressed
by various aspects of current and planned implementation. Many intelligent suggestions have been presented here and elsewhere, some more realistic than others. By following the wide variety of contributions, particularly yours, I have learned a lot and revised my views to some degree. Evidently there is still a vestige of flexibility in "the plan". In a democracy we are free to discuss pros, cons and preferences. Many may wish to write to their MP, others will accept whatever comes about. But we all enjoy a civilised moan - that unites us!

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michael's 851 posts GB
Saturday, 26 February 2011
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

5:34 AM

David Pinfold: No, the BBC do not wish to do this.

The BBC are quite firm in the opinion that there are multiple platforms for digital radio, and that DAB is only one of them.

Both Freeview and Digital Satellite provide all the BBC radio services at much higher bitrates and with the more advanced MPEG-2 Level III coding (ie, MP3).

DAB is intended to provide a choice of listening with reasonable sound quality for mobile and indoor use.

The BBC provides the highest quality versions of their services online where the most modern AAC codecs are used.

This is the service that is provided for "audiophiles". This can be done at very low cost, and would not require them to double up their DAB transmission facilities.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,846 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

5:35 AM

michael: I don't mind discussing this at all, I just find contributions that are put forward as being technically correct but are highly misleading - disinformation - are not intended as debate, but as disruption, which is another thing entirely.

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Briantist's 38,846 posts GB
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