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Ofcom DAB switchover coverage planning proposals

Ofcom has recently published some details of how the DAB network can be improved to match the coverage of the current FM network.

Ofcom has recently published some details of how the DAB networ
published on UK Free TV

The proposals cover the most pressing needs for the DAB network:

  • provision of local radio DAB for those areas with no current coverage
  • coverage of both homes and in-car use
  • the addition of a new block (5A) that will allow the local radio blocks to expand to fill the "editorial" coverage areas to match the current FM areas
  • the use of 99%/99% DAB prediction for indoor home reception, and normal car use.


Of particular interest are:



Ofcom is asking for responses using this online form: Responding to the DAB Coverage Planning consultation by 5pm on 14 September 2011.

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Comments
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
T
Trevor Harris
sentiment_satisfiedGold

4:06 PM

So we see yet another desparate attempt to make DAB pay by lowering the quality yet again.
Why the name MountainFM when this station does not transmit on FM. Is it trying to convey that it attains the quality of a real FM station.

No DAB only radio station makes a profit. Looking at the web site we read.

Mountain FM is supported by Coalfields Regeneration Trust. The project has been part funded by the EU's Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.

Which explains how Mountain FM can afford to transmit on DAB. Of course what they realy need is an FM frequency.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
M
Mark
sentiment_satisfiedSilver

6:27 PM

If Mountain applied for an FM community radio licence they wouldn't be allocated enough frequencies to cover the whole of South Wales, only the Ebbw Vale area.

As for the claim that no DAB-only station makes a profit that can't possibly be right.

Absolute 80s has lots of adverts and is largely automated so it must cover its running costs, especially with 624,000 listeners per week, according to RAJAR.

Similarly Jazz FM has many advertisers and sponsors. A look at their website will tell you this. They have a weekly reach of 495,000 listeners.

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Mark's 181 posts GB
N
Nedbod
sentiment_satisfiedGold

9:49 PM

LW is still pretty good in the Toyota's assuming you can find the older models the new cars don't have LW just MW, FM and a DAB button, but don't be fooled you have to pay £600 extra if you want DAB itself !!

As the bit rate on most DAB stations is so bad cf FM & gives such poor sound quality, I wouln't bother until you are forced to. As an alternative I use the i-player to record my favourite progs onto a recordable CD and then finalise them to play in the car. This is actually better quality now than DAB and in stereo on BBC Radio 4 Extra whereas DAB is in mono at a much lower sound quality. Why the govt & Ofcom can't give the BBC enough bits to broadcast their services on RADIO is beyond me. Guess who broacasts BBC RADIO with the highest bit rate and also BBC R4 LW in the best quality. YES Mr Murdoch's SKY TV (B SKYB) !!!!!!!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY TYPICAL. Why are we paying a licence fee so SKY can provide BBC services in the best audio available and not the BBC themselves. Crazy world, crazy service. At least when BBC WS was on SW the programmes were better, more varied and much more interesting. We seem to have lost the plot these days, all this technology and a worse end product !!


Bring back 648kHz, no wonder BBC WS listenership has fallen recently.

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Nedbod's 619 posts GB
T
Trevor Harris
sentiment_satisfiedGold

11:20 PM

@Mark

Absolute 80s is part of the Absolute group and to quote:

Pre-tax losses of £2.7m in 2008 slipped to £4.3m in recession-ravaged 2009. Official figures for 2010 will not be available until the fourth quarter but are expected to remain in the red, despite a marked recovery.

A report in the Times last December quoted the chief executive:

The company is on track to break even in 2011, "despite the tough times with the economy,"

This he hopes to do with other ventures like concerts and special events.

Advertizing revenues for commercial stations has been declining since 2004. The Government cut backs alone will reduce. revenues by 9%.


link to this comment
Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
T
Trevor Harris
sentiment_satisfiedGold

11:39 PM

Sorry the report in the Times was for Jazz FM.

@Nedbod

The Worldservice is available on the internet at 64kb/s AAC. There are going to be realy big cuts in WS when the BBC has to pay for them.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
M
Mark
sentiment_satisfiedSilver

11:13 AM

Trevor

Absolute as a group have lost money because of their large investment in technology (website, phone apps etc) but that doesn't mean that Absolute 80s as a station hasn't made a profit. Absolute is likely to be sold back to Virgin shortly, according to press reports.

The Jazz FM 2011 accounts haven't been published yet. The 2010 figures show a loss but much of this is start up costs.

Advertising revenue on radio has declined mainly as a result of Government cutbacks in public campaigns, but the Department of Health has now done a U-turn and reversed this policy after research showed that the campaigns were having an impact. Going forward you can expect the Government spending on radio to rise again.

@ Nedbod

You don't need a Sky sub to listen to the BBC stations on satellite. You can get Freesat.

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Mark's 181 posts GB
T
Trevor Harris
sentiment_satisfiedGold

3:52 PM

@Mark

This list price of a national DAB station at 64kb/s is about £1M per year. Premiere Radio managed to get theirs for £650,000 per year. That was a bargain which shows how desperate the multiplex owners are to sell space. I suspect they made a loss on that deal. Just look at Jazz FM's listening hours and it is easy to see how difficult it is to make a profit.

Of course Absolute Radio has AM, FM and DAB stations but still can't make a profit.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
S
Steve P
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

6:38 PM

Trevor - By the nature of the thing, almost all the costs are fixed whether the capacity is used or not. So if £1m is asking price £650k almost certainly produces a lot of gross margin contribution towards fixed costs - probably well over £600,000.

It is the same economics as plane seats; oil refining, or butchering.

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Steve P's 24 posts GB
Thursday, 28 July 2011
M
Mark
sentiment_satisfiedSilver

7:19 PM

£1 million is the price that BFBS were reported to be paying for their 128kbps* capacity, so £650,000 for a 64k stream seems about the right price for half the capacity.

I'm not sure if those figures are before or after Arqiva were required to lower their prices as a condition for the merger with NGW. The rates went down by about 20% as I recall.

Digital One's multiplex is now virtually full (I think there is 16 kbps spare) so they don't need to be giving discounts to religious groups or anyone else.

* The bit rate for BFBS has now reduced to 80kbps as a result of MOD funding cuts.

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Mark's 181 posts GB
Friday, 29 July 2011
N
Nedbod
sentiment_satisfiedGold

9:01 AM
Peterborough

Yes you can receive BBC Radio on Freesat, but you have to pay for a new dish and equipment and is the bit rate for the Radio Stations on Freesat as good as SKY on all channels ?

Why don't the government open up more of the DAB spectrum to allow the BBC to broadcast all their stations at a high bit rate say on the Multiplex originally earmarked for Channel 4 Radio which they pulled out of. Currently a waste of possible bits.

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Nedbod's 619 posts GB
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