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www.grantgoddard.co.uk February 2007
'BBC Radio Devon' will re-configure its 855 kHz AM Plymouth frequency for Digital Radio Mondiale [DRM] broadcasts, starting at the end of April as part of a one-year trial in conjunction with National Grid Wireless. The BBC is recruiting an audience panel via the station’s web site, whose members will be loaned DRM receivers and will participate in market research, the results of which will be published in mid-2008. John Allen, head of new services for BBC English regions, said: "The trial will help us understand whether DRM has a role to play in the all-digital future for BBC Local Radio in the UK.” Current Radio Devon listeners using the Plymouth AM transmitter will have to re-tune to the station’s FM or DAB frequencies. The BBC claims that this trial “will be the first of its kind in the UK using medium wave to provide DRM to UK listeners”, though 'Virgin Radio’s James Cridland commented: “The real story is that Virgin Radio was the first UK radio station to trial DRM (albeit from transmitters in Europe). We trialled it first with the main station and then, for a number of months, with 'Virgin Radio Classic Rock'. I'm delighted that other broadcasters are playing catch-up. They join 'BBC World Service', Virgin Radio, 'Classic Gold', and 'Asian Sound Radio's lead. For the record, DRM is a perfect bedfellow with DAB. It has a bright future, and is ideal for many parts of the UK.” The BBC also announced the opening of a further seven DAB transmitters in Bury St Edmunds, Norwich, Arundel, Alnwick, Newhaven, Mansfield and York that will be in service by the end of April. An additional transmitter for the Isle of Man is awaiting planning permission. These locations are part of the £1.8bn transmission agreement made in September 2006 between the BBC and Arqiva. Further transmitters to extend the reach of the DAB network, for which funding was applied as part of the Licence Fee, will require the approval of the BBC Trust.
[First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'BBC Devon Launches DRM Trial', #775, 14 February 2007]
Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk
News: 'BBC Radio Devon' One-Year Digital Radio Mondiale Transmission Trial On Plymouth AM Frequency ©2007 Grant Goddard