Emap and Capital Radio have bolstered their presence on the digital
radio network after winning the three-way battle for London’s first
digital multiplex licence.
CE Digital, a joint venture between Emap and Capital, beat
SwitchDigital, the joint venture between Talk Radio, Ginger Media Group
and Clear Channel International, as well as MXR, which is owned by
Chrysalis, Border Television and the Daily Mail & General Trust. Earlier
this year, CE Digital scooped the Manchester and Birmingham local
Eight existing London commercial stations will broadcast on the
multiplex, as well as a new, digital-only adult music station, that will
be launched by Capital.
The eight existing stations that will be available are Capital FM,
Capital Gold, the Asian service, Sunrise, Xfm, Kiss 100, Magic, and LBC
and News Direct. Each will have its analogue licence renewed for a
further eight years.
Capital Gold and Sunrise in particular stand to benefit, as until now
they have been restricted to the AM frequency.
Despite the high cost of the new digital radio sets, Tim Schoonmaker,
the chief executive of Emap Radio, was confident that the quality of the
output would encourage adoption of the service.
’The strength of tried and tested brands such as 95.8 Capital FM, Magic,
Capital Gold, Kiss 100 and Xfm will drive the take-up of digital radios
in London,’ he said. ’They provide a foundation of quality services
which will give confidence in the new medium, and cross-promotion on
London’s favourite stations will help to establish digital radio
David Mansfield, Capital Radio’s group chief executive, said: ’I am
particularly pleased that the Radio Authority has taken a long-term view
by endorsing CE Digital as the consortium best placed to launch digital
radio in London.
If digital radio is to be successful it must be backed by companies with
stability and financial firepower.’
This week the Radio Authority announced that it was advertising the
second London digital multiplex licence, which is to be awarded next