Global to shut regional DAB network, move stations to local networks

By | Published on Wednesday 26 September 2012

Global Radio

Global Radio has announced it will not be renewing its licence to run the MXR regional DAB multiplex, which provided digital radio services to DAB devices in the North, the West Midlands and South Wales. The move will mean broadcasts on the multiplex will stop next summer.

Global ran the regional network with GMG Radio, which it has just acquired, and Arqiva, which has also decided to withdraw from the MXR venture. The decision could be seen as a further set back for DAB, which has taken sometime to gain momentum in the UK over FM services. As previously reported, some radio operators reckon DAB will never fully succeed, and should be abandoned.

Though Global insist that this move does not mean they are now of that mindset. Indeed, most of the areas served by the MXR network will also pick up broadcasts from the national and local DAB networks, and the radio major has just done a deal that means its stations will broadcast via Bauer Media’s local DAB multiplexes where MXR is being turned off.

A spokesperson told Radio Today: “The industry – commercial and BBC – has agreed that the best way forward for digital roll out, and to speed up coverage, is to focus on local and national multiplexes. Therefore there is reducing demand for carriage on regional multiplexes”.

With that in mind, Digital Radio UK says media regulator OfCom plans to use the spectrum freed up by the closing of MXR to enhance local DAB networks.