A Little DAB’ll Do You

Grant Goddard is fighting the digital-radio battle in England, and in a highly literate manner (link on right). Sometimes, though the subject might not be terribly germane to the struggle here, his blog is worth the read just for his style. He’s a good read even if you don’t totally understand the subject. In a recent entry, “Having DAB cake and eating it: temper tantrums in the Global Radio playpen,” here, there are some definite parallels, as he takes on the monied interests pushing DAB in England:

Most of us mere mortals spend our lives trying to persuade people to give us what we want. We have to persuade our parents to buy us a new toy, persuade a potential employer to offer us a job, persuade the bank manager to give us a business loan. To make these things happen, we are taught to always be careful what we say – “Mind your P’s and Q’s”, our parents told us.

For the wealthy, there is little need for self-control over what comes out of their mouths. Whereas our only power derives from what is in our head, the power of the wealthy derives from what is in their offshore bank accounts. “P’s and Q’s” are barely a necessity when a platinum credit card can be flashed. Money obviates the need for persuasion. So the wealthy can pretty much say what they like, knowing that ‘money talks’ on their behalf, and it certainly seems to talk more loudly than any persuasion that the rest of us can muster.

This week we saw an outburst in The Guardian that would have done any rich, spoilt brat proud. But no, this was the founder and CEO of Global Group, Ashley Tabor, which owns Global Radio, the UK’s largest commercial radio group, demanding that the BBC “put their money where their mouth is” and invest more in DAB radio.

You see, the Brit version of iBiquity is demanding that the government mandate DAB acceptance so it can reap the profits.

Was I the only one baffled by Ashley’s line of argument? Although commercial interests own the lion’s share of DAB in the UK, the largest commercial radio group is insisting here that the cost of fixing DAB to make it work properly is the “sole responsibility” of the publicly funded BBC. Furthermore, Global Radio will only launch new commercial digital radio stations, from which it must expect to make a profit, once the BBC has underwritten the huge cost of making the DAB system fit for purpose using public funds. I remain baffled.

This was by no means the first time, and will probably not be last, that Global Radio has talked rubbish publicly about DAB radio. In its PR, Global paints itself as a driving force behind digital radio and is constantly demanding that DAB switchover be implemented as quickly as possibly. However, in practice, Global has shown no interest in developing DAB as a replacement for FM, having sold off the majority of its DAB licences. This hypocrisy has been documented on previous occasions in this blog, during which time Global’s attitude towards the BBC has shifted from ‘carrot’ to ‘stick’. History speaks volumes.

Grant then proceeds to slice and dice the blather that passes for discourse from the “haves” in Brit DAB, all in an entirely engaging way. Well worth the read even if you don’t fully understand the particulars.


One Response

  1. I understand that Struble also pushed for a mandate, of course, but obviously didn’t get it. No one outside the radio industry is interested in IOBC, thus we have some car companies pushing this defective product, sometimes as standard. An interesting article from RW today, outlined a new plan to entice more stations to convert. Struble always seems to have a new angle:


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