The Radio Centre, the body which represents "the UK commercial radio industry" (which is, what, two companies and bit of the Guardian?) has come up with a nifty idea to save DAB:
The confidential report by Ingenious Consulting, seen by MediaGuardian.co.uk, said commercial radio would launch a 24-hour national news and speech station and a national music-based entertainment service on the troubled digital audio broadcasting (DAB) platform.
Blimey. That's awfully good of you, people. Investing in a solid product will certainly help DAB and, by providing a quality service, attract advertising which will enable you to make a profit.
That is the idea, isn't it?
You just see this as a commercial deal?
In return for the extra commitment to DAB, the report urged the government and media regulator Ofcom to slash the number of hours that small commercial stations are required to produce and allow more co-locating of small-scale broadcasters.
In other words, in order to launch a product that may or may not have a commercial future, the companies what the already pissweak rules which keep local radio vaguely local to be thrown away.
Now, it's not that I don't trust these guys - but does anyone really trust them? Isn't this like when someone comes to your door and offers to clean your garden for a tenner, pockets the tenner, and then disappears? Surely not even Ofcom is dim enough to believe that the commercial news and talk station would remain delivering a premium service for more than about ten seconds after they were allowed to shed off the last of their obligations to the local areas they were supposed to be serving?
What sort of approach is it to say "hey, we can't afford to deliver a proper service in Oldham, or Hastings, or Brigadoon, but we could, somehow, offer you a top-quality pair of 24 hour national stations if you let us drop our obligations"?
Here's an idea - why not try going up to the police and offering to do a spot of forensic work for them if they ignore the law about not stealing stuff from WH Smiths?