Premier Christian Radio to be 'evicted' from digital radio

From a press release to
Posted 17 December 2014, 4.11am est

Opposition leader Ed Miliband has voiced his support for a campaign to stop the eviction of Britain’s largest Christian broadcaster from its national transmission network.

Premier Christian Radio, the UK’s only full service Christian radio broadcaster, has been trying to negotiate a renewal of its Digital One licence, which runs out this weekend [December 20th]. Premier’s eviction would make way for a new pop music station.

But, after four months of negotiations and despite hopes for a Christmas stay of execution and an extension on Digital One through to March next year, talks between Premier and the national DAB network, run by transmission company Arqiva, have now faltered.

Mr Miliband told Premier today; “I know the importance of Premier Radio. I know it from having been on Premier Radio.

“There’s got to be regulatory processes that take place.

“I really hope that there’s a way in which Premier Radio can continue to broadcast because I think it’s a really important outlet for lots of listeners. There’ll be lots of people hoping that a way can be found for it to carry on and I wish you luck in that quest,” he said.

Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Radio, said; “Despite months of negotiations with Arqiva, we have been unable to secure the renewal of our Digital One licence. But we still hope and pray for a last minute reprieve from eviction from the national network.”

Premier has spent many years attracting a large and loyal national audience and hope to continue broadcasting nationally. They believe it would be, at best, illogical to replace Premier with yet another pop music station. [Ed: this is believed to be Global Radio’s Heart Extra.]

Arqiva is now expected to submit a formal request to Ofcom to either change the content of the Digital One network or find another full service Christian radio station.

Ofcom has a legal obligation to determine whether any change would diminish Digital One’s appeal to a variety of tastes and interests. They will also need to determine whether there has been fair and effective competition.

Premier Christian Radio, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, provides a news, music and talk service to an estimated 600,000 listeners across the UK.

It also leads important campaigns such as the modern slavery campaign and the SafetyNet campaign which protects children on the internet.

Premier Lifeline, the radio station’s telephone helpline, has taken over one million calls and ranks in the top 10 of UK Helplines.

Premier Christian Radio currently broadcasts on 1305, 1332, 1431, 1566 MW in London and nationally on DAB and Freeview 725.

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