The Sunday Times reports that UK media regulator Ofcom is proposing to redraw its licensing rules for digital radio to encourage Global Radio and Channel 4 to combine their efforts with the struggling technology. According to the report, the plan involves Channel 4 and its minority partners taking a 65% stake in Digital One (D1), the loss-making nationwide transmission platform that Global inherited on its £375m acquisition of GCap Media.
Global and Arqiva, its network partner, will take a stake in Digital Two (D2), the second platform of channels originally awarded to Channel 4 but now being mothballed. The Sunday Times says that Ofcom has suggested D2 will eventually become a hybrid of national and regional transmission, allowing Global to launch a nationwide Heart station that links seamlessly with local opt-outs.
The newspaper says the regulator is urging Channel 4 to start up its three new radio stations on D1 by next April. However, only E4 Radio, which is already overdue, is definitely expected to make that deadline as Channel 4 wavers due to the poor advertising outlook.
(Source: Sunday Times)