Digital threat to local radio

L-R Beverley Warne (l) with Julia Goldsworthy and Pirate FM presenter Neil Caddy
Beverley Warne (l) with Julia Goldsworthy and Pirate FM presenter Neil Caddy

Julia Goldsworthy is campaigning against Government plans to scrap analogue radio which could spell disaster for local commercial stations in Cornwall.

She met local radio bosses in Cornwall to hear their concerns over the new Digital Britain Bill put forward by the Government.

The Bill proposes to scrap analogue radio by 2015, meaning commercial stations like Pirate FM and Atlantic FM could lose their local focus by being merged into a Devon and Cornwall ‘DAB region’.

Around 100 local radio stations around the UK may not be able to migrate to digital at all, meaning they would shut down altogether.

Goldsworthy said the Government’s formula was a recipe for global operators taking over smaller stations.

She said: “Unless the legislation is changed, popular local radio stations like Pirate and Atlantic FM may struggle to survive.

”Instead, the Government’s model is set up to suit much bigger operators who are interested only in giant regional stations with no local focus.”

Pirate FM’s Beverley Warne said: “To make digital viable we would have to cover a bigger area. This means there we will undoubtedly lose our community radio stations and other commercial stations will lose their local identity and become like many regional stations that in the main are operated from London.”

Atlantic FM’s founder and development director, Jeremy Scott added: “FM radio is popular and successful, while DAB digital radio is as yet unproven and technically flawed.

“Digital reception is terrible across much of Cornwall, while FM coverage is pretty good even in remote areas.

“We would hate to see rural listeners deprived of coverage for no reason other than to promote DAB – which most other countries now agree is an obsolete technology.”