@ Radio Reborn: New Online Player, Nokia DAB, Rules Call

The BBC and commercial radio operators have confirmed earlier-reported plans to team for an online player initiative. GMG Radio, Global Radio, Bauer Media, trade body The Radio Centre and the corporation are together creating The Radio Council to jointly push DAB, which is so far considered to have garnered insufficient take-up.

Isn’t there already a radio industry group? Yes, The Radio Centre is it, but that’s for the very commercial operators who, thanks to fragmentation and falling radio ad income, are so challenged. Teaming with the Beeb for the new group, they plan a new online live radio player that includes all UK stations, a common EPG across all devices (good luck!) and a roster of exclusive digital-only content. The plan first surfaced in March, when reports said the proposal would also include a catch-up player nicknamed “Radio Plus”. Of course, the BBC’s own channels are already on its iPlayer as live and as catch-up – Auntie is keen to share her iPlayer infrastructure.

At MediaGuardian’s Radio Reborn conference where the announcement was made Monday morning, radio proprietors fretted about the success of DAB and looked ahead…

— BBC audio and music’s multiplatform and interactive commissioner Mark Friend: “We have to get Nokia (NYSE: NOK) to put DAB in (to mobile phones), to get to a point where it’s viable. We have to make the switch away from analogue. Nokia has political reasons they haven’t put DAB in yet – now that things have changed a bit, it’s time to have another push.”

— GMG Radio CEO Stuart Taylor called on Ofcom to relax rules barring on-air promotion of online sponsored content.