Turn it up – Radio

Once it was an unimportant local TV station which appeared to make no impression on the (then) media panorama.  Now UTV’s impact on TV, Radio and New Media defies any possible prediction.  The latest coup is as part of a consortium led by Channel 4.

“UTV plc will launch a new digital all talk radio station next summer featuring opinionated presentation and lively debate.

Talk Radio, which will be 100% owned by UTV plc, will be available on the new UK digital multiplex which Ofcom awarded to 4 Digital Group today (6 July), of which UTV is a 10% shareholder.” 

UTV Radio is now UTV plc’s largest division with 24 radio stations. It runs the national radio station talkSPORT, 17 local radio stations including talk107 in Edinburgh as well as stakes in 5 of the UK’s digital radio multiplexes. UTV is also the largest radio player in Ireland with stations broadcasting in Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Dublin, Drogheda and Dundalk.

Ofcom says that 4 Digital will offer:

Youthful interactive entertainment (E4 Radio)
Contemporary public service speech (Channel 4 Radio)
Intelligent contemporary adult (Pure4)
News, views and entertainment (Talk Radio)
Female AC, celebrity and lifestyle (Closer)
Rolling news (Sky News Radio)
Asian ( Sunrise Radio UK)
Female-friendly pop with attitude (Virgin Radio Viva)
Adult album alternative (Original)
Children’s service (Radio Disney)

I’m a big radio fan – and as digital media has expanded, I’m getting more of what I like (especially BBC7 and BBC World Service – clearly and easily).  What I find particularly encouraging here is the amount of speech radio.  Although I suspect if UTV’s Talk Radio is anything like the predecessor to TalkSPORT  (also called Talk Radio but tried too hard to be “shock jock”ish), I won’t be listening too much.  But I’m glad it will be there.

For a long time people said that when a new medium emerges, it submerges older media. It was always a nonsense argument (“Oh, the Internet will replace books”,   “Amazon?” was the only reply to that.

As digital media progresses, we get more and more (and usually crappier and crappier) TV.  But we are getting more and better Radio.

Ye Olde Interweb is giving newspapers a difficult time.  But Radio was once delivered to our trannies and the availability was limited even on the cluttered AM (medium wave we called it in those days.  Newspapers will adopt and survive and I expect flourish in the developing digital media.  To paraphrase someone I read last week they will need digital ambitions and digital (not analogue) leadership. 

Clearly this is happening here on 4 Digital and that quiet almost irrelevant little TV station is part of that revolution.

As Van Morrision sang

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
Turn it up, thats enough, so you know its got soul
Radio, radio turn it up

The radio bit is easy – making sure it has soul is a different matter.

bbc new media UTV 4digital radio Van Morrison

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