Britain’s largest Christian broadcaster is facing eviction from its national transmission network – despite a Christmas stay of execution.
Premier Christian Radio, the UK’s only full service Christian radio broadcaster, has been offered an extension on Digital One, the national DAB network run by transmission company Arqiva - but only until March next year.
The licence held by Premier runs to 20 December, but Digital One has so far failed to renew the licence, reportedly to make way for a new pop music station on the network. Instead, a temporary contract has now been offered to allow Premier to continue broadcasting over Christmas. Negotiations will now begin in an attempt to secure Premier Christian Radio’s long term future on the Digital One network.
Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Radio, said today: “We have spent many years attracting a large and loyal national audience and want to continue broadcasting nationally. It would seem, at best, illogical to replace Premier with yet another pop music station.”
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.
“This short reprieve comes just in time for Christmas and the Christian community,” says Peter Kerridge. “Regular listens to our station will be delighted that they will be able to continue to listen to their favourite programmes over the Christmas
“Christians in this country already feel incredibly marginalised so it is important that there is a national radio station which speaks to them and for them. This early Christmas present means that our listeners, many of whom might be elderly or lonely, will have our company at Christmas and be comforted by the Word of God.
“We’re not a bland Christian music station; we provide a round-the-clock service of prayer, ministry, discussion and news. We have hundreds of testimonies from listeners saying how Premier has been a comfort in their time of need. In many cases we’re their church.
“Premier’s determined to continue broadcasting nationally on Digital One so the battle for Premier’s national voice is not yet over”.
Lawyers for Premier will now review the draft contract and will study any conclusions from Ofcom on One Digital over the next few days.
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 is 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 MW in London and nationally on DAB and Freeview 725.
Tags: Premier Christian Radio
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