GLOBAL Radio, the commercial radio group headed by Ashley Tabor, has decided not to extend its licence on the MXR multiplex that covers regional centres for digital radio coverage.
The group, which recently signed a 12 year deal to broadcast its stations from a multiplex operated by the German media group Bauer, said it was still massively committed to the growth of digital radio.
For the past 11 years, Global has been sharing the ownership of the MXR multiplex with GMG, which it now owns, and Arqiva.
Its decision not to renew its MXR licence led some in the industry to speculate that it was reducing its digital ambitions. “This is wrong,” said a spokesman. “Global is totally committed to digital.”
Analysts said that both the BBC and the commercial radio stations had decided on a strategy of being pegged to national roll-outs of digital and local ones, which tended to focus on towns or cities with a high density of people.
MXR’s reach was in northern England, the Severn Estuary and the West Midlands.
Global said it had become less commercially attractive than the other options.
“But this is so wrong to be sold as the end of digital audio broadcasting,” said an insider.