GCap Boss Switches off Plans for Digital; Axe: Hazlitt Is Closing Two More Stations

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT LEA

THE new boss of Capital 95.8 and Classic FM has seen the futureand it is not digital radio.

Instead Fru Hazlitt, who took over at the GCap Media radio stations group lastmonth, believes the industry should reinvest in FM, and migrate audiences tolistening to Johnny Vaughan and Denise van Outen or Henry Kelly and Simon Bateson their computers.

Under pressure from a [pounds sterling]300 million hostile takeover from failed ITV bossCharles Allen and his backers, Hazlitt has gone into GCap and today decided torip up the digital radio strategy of her predecessor Ralph Bernard.

The reason, says Hazlitt, is that despite the huge investment in transmissioninfrastructure and in promoting DAB (digital audio broadcasting) by both theindustry in general and GCap in particular, digital radio isn't working.

"The consumer take-up of DAB digital radio listening has not been speedy to saythe least," said Hazlitt.

"The truth is that the consumer is not voting with their feet as far as digitalradio is concerned. The consumer response has been slow. Only 9% of radiolisteners are listening on digital and only 4% of them are listening todigital-only radio. …