BSkyB has agreed to carry radio broadcasts on Sky Digital, in a
deal designed to broaden the range of Sky’s digital services and bring
in new listeners for embryonic digital radio stations.
BSkyB will launch 20 radio stations on Sky Digital, from 15
This coincides with the launch of the first national digital multiplex,
run by Digital One.
The radio stations will be available to all Sky digital subscribers via
their home set-top boxes and channels can be selected using the
electronic programme guides (EPGs).
As part of the deal, BSkyB offered each radio station a place on its EPG
listings, for a nominal fee.
The BBC will broadcast its five national services and the World Service
on digital satellite, alongside Virgin Radio, Talk, Classic FM and
According to BSkyB, the deal is advantageous for everyone involved: ’It
pushes fledgling digital radio into more homes and it enhances digital
satellite television for a mass audience,’ a spokesman said.
The move will create a knock-on effect for radio advertisers too, as ads
normally carried on analogue will be elevated from a local to a national
level. So the BBC’s Asian Network, Radio Ulster, Radio Scotland and
Radio Wales will acquire national status for the first time, as will
Capital’s Xfm, Capital Gold and Classic Gold stations.
The GWR group will also launch a rock channel, called The Mix, which
will be designed specifically for Sky Digital. Planet Rock and Core -
the new digital channels recently announced by GWR - will be broadcast
on both the new digital multiplex and Sky.
GWR’s group programming director Steve Orchard said: ’The transmission
of the new services on Sky digital gives a large section of the
population the opportunity to sample the new radio brands. This trial
will help us to increase demand for digital set-top boxes.’