Is national-broadcast UK DAB radio a defunct medium? Even the niche stations can’t seem to get traction…

“£12.1m per annum on the Asian Network when its peak audience nationally is only 31,000 adults”

In speech radio, the presentation format is the problem for me. BBC Radio 7, for instance, has always been a disappointment. It strings content out into highly missable episodes (e.g.: “part 12 of 18”, rarely hanging around for long on Listen Again), presumably to try to prevent piracy and maintain sales of the BBC audio books. And the science-fiction there currently seems to polarise between depressingly worthy “issues” SF (Handmaiden’s Tale) and teen comedy (Red Dwarf). If you want classic / hard adventure SF you have to go to audio-books, where you also get exact control over where to stop for a break. BBC Radio 7 also has almost no documentaries worthy of the name. The BBC must have a great many high-quality radio documentaries sitting in its archives? Yet it doesn’t give them a dedicated repeats station? Why? The same goes for all those substantial hour-long and 90 minute radio plays (I seem to remember there was a time, before they turned into grim domestic screaming-matches, when many were quite listenable). I can only guess that the repeat-fees demanded by the trades unions are what’s keeping such content off the air? Or is it that the BBC schedulers believe that no-one can sit still and listen for more than 15 minutes these days? The success of audio books suggests otherwise.

I suppose the deeper problem is that the BBC is still operating on a “scarcity” model of entertainment, rather than an “abundance” model.

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