• Arqiva takes full ownership of Global Radio’s ‘D1’ national and ‘Now Digital’ local multiplexes
• Deal boosts DAB digital radio in the UK, paving the way for future coverage expansion
• Key milestone towards achieving the government's planned Digital Radio upgrade
Global Radio and Arqiva have today announced that they have completed a deal which sees the acquisition by Arqiva of Global Radio’s 63% share in the national commercial DAB multiplex Digital One and many of Global Radio’s local multiplex licences, strengthening the DAB platform as well as the wider radio industry.
The UK national platform ‘D1’ carries Classic FM, talkSPORT, Absolute Radio, BFBS Radio, Planet Rock, Fun Kids and Amazing Radio. Previously a 37% stakeholder, Arqiva will be taking full ownership and will also take control of Now Digital, the company which operates Global Radio’s local digital radio multiplexes. Global Radio will continue to broadcast stations on the multiplexes, including Classic FM, Heart and Capital.
Ashley Tabor, Global’s Founder and Group CEO said: “I am delighted that this deal has now been concluded. We have been working hard behind the scenes for many months on this, and as a company we are leading the commercial radio industry in its drive to digital. We believe this is a clear indication to Government, Ofcom, consumers and advertisers of our commitment to a Digital Britain, and while we are obviously aware of the challenges around the build out of coverage of DAB we are confident this deal will go a long way to resolving many of these issues from commercial radio's perspective.”
Tom Bennie, CEO of Arqiva, added: “Digital One has always played a leading role in the development of DAB and in stimulating the market for DAB receivers in the UK. Arqiva now plans to invigorate DAB with new channels and services and as an independent operator we’re in a good position to realise the full potential of the Digital One multiplex. We believe in the long-term future of DAB, and this deal with Global Radio extends both of our companies’ commitments to digital radio.”
Digital One was awarded the sole UK national multiplex licence for DAB digital radio in 1998 and started broadcasting in November 1999 under a renewable 12-year licence. There are now in excess of 130 Arqiva transmitters covering over 90% of the UK population. Together with the BBC, Digital One, Global Radio and Arqiva are major stakeholders in the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), which is also supported by other commercial radio companies. Representatives from Digital One also work with the WorldDMB Forum to promote the medium internationally.
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About Global Radio
Global Radio is now the largest commercial radio group in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. The company owns a large number of leading radio brands including national station Classic FM as well as the Heart and Galaxy networks, 95.8 Capital FM, LBC, the Hit Music network and XFM. The company is led by Founder and Group CEO, Ashley Tabor, CEO, Stephen Miron, Director of Broadcasting, Richard Park and the radio group is chaired by Charles Allen.
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Arqiva operates at the heart of the broadcast and mobile communications industry and is at the forefront of network solutions and services in an increasingly digital world. The company provides much of the infrastructure behind television, radio and wireless communications in the UK and has a growing presence in Ireland, mainland Europe and the USA. The Terrestrial Broadcast division provides transmission for all UK terrestrial TV broadcasters, including the new networks being built for the Digital Switch Over. Transmission is also provided for BBC Radio and most commercial radio stations, both analogue and DAB. The company owns and operates two of the six UK digital terrestrial TV multiplexes, enabling major media companies to bring their TV and radio services to Freeview.
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