Manchester Business Radio takes a break

MANCHESTER’s business radio station is to take a break, having completed its nine month DAB trial.

The station’s founders told TheBusinessDesk that the station will pause broadcasting while plans are put in place for a proposed long-term return.

The dedicated business radio station for Greater Manchester was trialled along  other digital channels in the city after broadcast regulator Ofcom selected Manchester as one of 10 locations to trial the next generation of digital radio.

Because of the costs involved, DAB has historically been beyond the means of small independent operators – the  trial was Ofcom’s response to this quandary.

Cheshire company Niocast Digital was awarded a licence to operate the nine-month experiment in the city.

Niocast broadcast its own Manchester Business Radio, along with nine other stations which continue to broadcast, including Gaydio; country music brand Chris Country; Asian station Panjab Radio, 80s music station Max, Unity Radio and Steve Penk’s Wind-Up Channel.

Niocast’s transmitter was installed on the roof of Manchester One on Portland Street with its catchment area covering the M60 ring road and the cost of running the multiplex was shared equally across the 10 broadcast stations.

David Duffy, chief executive of MBR, said: “The trial has demonstrated beyond doubt that the city’s business sector can sustain a radio station of this type.

“Our ability to give access to thousands of like-minded business professionals has really resonated with people and we look forward to returning with an even stronger listener offering once we have a clearer idea of how things are going to pan out with local DAB.”

The station’s director of content John Evington added that the format will be refined based on feedback received during the trial.

Evington said: “We have extended the multiplex and that is continuing but the busness channel needs a kick-start to take it to the next level – we need to work at the content and put more into it.

“We have not lost money but to take it to the next level we need a clear commercial strategy to drive it forward.

“We are now gathering the data and reseach on what we have done and responses are looking very positive.”