The head of Mix96 has reassured listeners that the station’s future is secure amid concerns about a digital switchover.
The station was the subject of a debate raised by Amersham and Chesham MP Cheryl Gillan in the House of Commons, highlighting the fact that many stations have concerns about the cost involved in a future switchover to DAB.
One of the main issues is that stations such as Mix96 would have to broadcast to huge regions, not just their local area.
Max Hailey, the station’s MD, said ‘there’s no danger of Mix96 not being here’.
Mr Hailey said: “If we want to go digital we would have to pay a lot more money. We can afford it but there’s better money to be spent. We would be broadcasting to a much wider area. We are a local media service, we are all about Aylesbury Vale and Bucks.
“We are not interested in broadcasting to other places. We don’t want to be talking about Bedfordshire because that doesn’t affect the people of Aylesbury.
“It’s not relevant to them. It’s wastage.”
Mr Hailey said the station wants to see a solution whereby it can go digital to a smaller area, which would incur lower fees, and says he was encouraged by some of the comments made at the Commons debate on November 28.
Leading the debate, Mrs Gillan said: “For a national station, the cost of broadcasting in DAB need not be very different from broadcasting in analogue. For a small local station, however, with a single FM transmitter, the cost of broadcasting on a local DAB multiplex with half a dozen transmitters could well be unaffordable, especially while it is still also paying to broadcast on FM.
“A cost-effective digital solution for small stations still needs to be identified. Otherwise, the stations honourable members have mentioned could face extinction, because advertisers might, at some point, believe that it is not worth paying to reach those who continue to listen to FM stations.”