Jazz FM launches on national digital radio
The launch of Jazz FM on 21st March is a significant milestone for national commercial DAB digital radio.
Since the passage of the Digital Economy Act in April 2010, five new national digital services have been launched offering a range of popular music, jazz and sports: Absolute 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Absolute Radio Extra, Smooth UK and Jazz FM. This adds to the already impressive line-up including Absolute Radio, Amazing Radio, BFBS, Classic FM, Premier UK, Planet Rock, TalkSPORT and UCB UK.
In the same timescale, the Capital and Kiss networks have been rolled out to 80% coverage on DAB. The BBC has announced that Radio 4 Extra will launch on 2nd April and has committed to increase cross-promotion for its digital networks to build awareness and listening to their national digital services. BBC 6 Music continues to reach in excess of 1.1 million listeners per week for the last two quarters, according to RAJAR.
This all adds up to significantly more choice for most listeners, who are able to receive 20 or more digital-only stations, plus their FM favourites. Digital One now carries thirteen national services, the most in its existence, and has over 90% coverage.
This is the first time in its 20-year history that Jazz FM has been available nationally. Jazz FM has been available in some parts of the UK like London and Glasgow, but this will more than treble the number of DAB listeners who can receive it.
Overall, 25% of all radio listening is now to digital platforms. However, of national commercial services, digital listening now stands at 47% (RAJAR Q4 2010), an increase of 14% year on year (41.2% in Q4 2009).
The Jazz FM launch reinforces the commitment of broadcasters to improve the variety of digital content in support of the Government/Industry Digital Radio Action Plan and the increase in national digital listening.
Ford Ennals, Chief Executive of Digital Radio UK, said:
"This latest addition of JazzFM to national DAB shows a healthy and vibrant line-up for national DAB digital radio. Listeners rightly expect an excellent range of digital stations to attract them to digital radio, in addition to their FM favourites."
Richard Wheatly, Chief Executive of Jazz FM, said:
"It was our goal to broadcast Jazz FM to a national audience. Digital One provides the perfect solution to reach our core audience across the UK."
Donnach O'Driscoll, Chief Executive of Absolute Radio, said:
"Digital listening to Absolute Radio's network of brands has more than doubled in the last twelve months. The availability of Absolute Radio's brands on national DAB is a vital part of this, in addition to our services already available on apps, digital TV, and the upcoming launch of Radioplayer."
Jonathan Arendt, Managing Director of Planet Rock, said:
"Planet Rock on Digital One has grown an audience of almost one million listeners proving beyond all doubt the success of the national platform... and the power of great Rock music."
Stuart Taylor, Chief Executive of Smooth UK's parent company GMG Radio, said:
"Digital One has provided Smooth with a national radio platform and enabled us to extend the station to the whole of the UK. It's provided the brand with a powerful position as one of the top three national commercial radio stations in the UK and we've had fantastic feedback from new listeners tuning in via DAB."