LONDON: In the wake of GCap Media's jumping the [allegedly] sinking digital radio ship, the BBC and Channel Four have launched the lifeboats in a bid to prevent further desertions.
Earlier this week GCap ceo Fru Hazlitt announced the commercial radio company – Britain's largest – was closing its two national digital stations, Planet Rock and TheJazz, dismissing DAB (digital audio broadcast) radio as "not economically viable".
Not so, harmonise the BBC's audio and music director Jenny Abramsky and 4Digital chair Nathalie Schwarz. Both insist that GCap's downsizing strategy should not be confused with the overall performance of digital radio.
Schwartz declares that DAB will become "the cornerstone" of radio's future. "Radio has lots of advantages in a digital landscape and the industry can choose either to invest in that future and flourish, or be left behind."
She was echoed by Abramsky.
"DAB is a success story – two million sets were sold in 2007 – and it is part of the digital future of radio. More than 22% of UK adults now claim to have DAB at home and it makes up 10% of all radio listening.
"Recent RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) listening figures show that nearly 5.6m people tune into BBC Radio via DAB each week and the BBC's digital-only networks continue to grow with two networks, 6 Music and BBC 7, recently posting record listening figures."
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff