Today marked the start of a brand new project that we are supporting called the ‘Alternative Broadcast Company’. It’s been in the pipeline for a while but finally getting the bank account details through this morning was the moment when we finally knew the project really ‘exists’. But what is it?
Well, one of the questions we get asked most often is, “Why aren’t you on proper radio?” The answer to that question is complex. But, to put it simply, it’s nigh on impossible to to get on FM radio these days. Whilst many people are now listening via Digital radio sets at home and in cars (Aka DAB radio) the cost has been hugely prohibitive for small charities like ourselves.
However, Ofcom (the government regulator for broadcasting) has proposed a new form of digital radio called Small Scale DAB (SSD). In short SSD keeps costs low by broadcasting to smaller areas and using innovative technology. Ofcom is proposing to make this scheme available to smaller broadcasters like ourselves.
However, each SSD signal can broadcast up to ten times more stations than the average FM signal. As a result, Access is teaming up with a number of other stations in our area to back this new project.
Although, Access has a national, rather than local audience each SSD projects will cover a relatively small area of about 10-20 miles. So this is quite some way from making Access available nationally on DAB. However, it’s a good first step and our partnership with the other local stations in the project will help us all not he way to achieve some goals.
Ofcom has been trialling this technology over the last 18 months and has just produced a report on it’s success. (You can find out more by clicking here) However, they have not announced when the new scheme will be licensed, so the launch could still be up to two years away. Nevertheless, new beginnings are always exciting, so here’s to the future!