GCap feels digital radio heat as Chill leaves Sky platform

LONDON - GCap Media is to scale down its digital radio presence and has started by removing its digital-only Chill station from the Sky platform.

The company is also looking to sell the Digital One spectrum ¬currently used by Core and Life, which are closing. GCap’s other digital-only stations are theJazz and Planet Rock.

GCap’s move follows Virgin’s plans to close Virgin Radio Groove and its pulling out of involvement with the second national multiplex consortium run by Channel 4.

Additionally, Global Radio has pulled out of a partnership with Sky News Radio for a new station on the second multiplex, while Channel 4 has closed OneWord, its only digital radio offering prior to the multiplex licence win.

One insider criticised Ofcom for failing to get the Depart¬ment for Culture, Media and Sport’s Digital Radio Working Group up and running sooner. He said: “RadioCentre called for this to be set up six months ago. The industry needs to get together with Ofcom, listener groups and transmission companies to re-plan the whole thing.”

The comments come weeks after former GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard threatened to pull the company out of digital radio altogether because of crippling costs.

The source added: “Ofcom has licensed far too much spectrum and as the digital-only stations come off air the listener will be left with only the digital versions of analogue stations, so they won’t see the point in buying DAB sets.”

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