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Marcia Hughes reports
"Commercial radio enters internet age."
 real 56k

Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Commercial radio makes waves online
Jazz in concert
Commerical radio services all musical tastes.
Jazz FM's results come at a time when commercial radio has a promising future. The BBC's Marcia Hughes reports.

At the moment there are just three national commercial radio stations on FM and AM.

But this is about to change with the increased opportunities of the internet and the launch of digital radio.

Soon there will be parity between commercial radio and the BBC where the nation's listeners are concerned.

It will be easier to listen to your favourite station - and there will be less fiddling around with your radio dial.

Better quality

Whatever you're into, whether its clubbing or classical music, commercial radio has something for every taste.

It has well over two hundred services in the UK and there are around 30 million of us that listen to it each week.

1950's Barbie
Barbie makes wave in internet radio

Now with developments in the internet and digital technology, the opportunity for better access and quality have dramatically improved.

Jazz FM is a good example of this.

It is one of the most popular commercial stations in the UK.

It announced this week that it had broken even in the first quarter of this year - having substantially cut losses for the full year to 30 June.

The station has recently embraced the internet and launched, a service with continuous jazz online.

Digital benefits

Now combined with its daily broadcasts on FM it has a growing number of listeners.

And like many commercial stations it is set to benefit from digital radio in a big way.

Digital radio will do to AM and FM frequencies what CDs did to vinyl.

It's going to enable them to provide a lot more services to listen to.

Paul Brown, Commercial Radio Companies

At the moment it provides a crisper quality wherever you are without the usual interference.

And as its use rolls out across the whole of the UK the effect on commercial radio is going to be a dramatic one.

"And a lot of services which you can use like weather, news," says Paul Brown from Commercial Radio Companies.

"Or even details of what the local BMW showroom has on its forecourt for example."

He adds: "It is going to be easier to communicate with consumers."

Consumers will also find it a lot easier to access services.

One new entry already taking advantage of these exciting changes is BARBIE FM.

It is a radio station on the internet due to be launched next month.

It will cater for youngsters under ten and proves that as well as tastes, commercial radio can now start catering for all ages as well.

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