JUNE 28, 2000 - LONDON - Switchdigital and Crown Castle UK Limited, a subsidiary of Crown Castle International Corp. (NASDAQ:TWRS) announced the launch of Londons latest multi-million pound digital radio multiplex. This digital service introduces a mixture of new and existing programme services with crystal clear sound to over 8 million Greater London listeners. Services include: Classic Soul, Heart 106.2, The Lounge, Big, Clearchannel, Ministry of Sound, Jazz FM, Travel and Traffic and BBC London Live.
Kelvin MacKenzie, Chairman of Switchdigital, launched the service from County Hall, London SE1, in the company of key figures from Londons vibrant local radio sector, plus manufacturers and retailers of the new digital radio receivers.
Crown Castle pioneers of the worlds first nationwide Digital Radio network, built for the BBC in 1996, has designed, built and installed the new digital multiplex for Switchdigital in a record 2 ½ months. Crown Castle will provide Switchdigital with complete visibility of the monitoring, diagnostic and control features of the multiplex equipment and transmission network, thus enabling the Multiplex Director to control the multiplex from the Switchdigital offices in London. The transmission network will be monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by experienced senior engineers at Crown Castles Technical Operations Centre at their Warwick Headquarters.
The new multiplex will be transmitted initially from Crown Castles Crystal Palace site and then rolled out to a further 9 sites across Greater London. It provides the London audience with an exciting range of new digital audio services. These are provided by leading radio companies, as well as new players in the London radio industry and extend listening choice with everything from speech and music through easy listening to club dance.
John Ward, Managing Director, Broadcast at Crown Castle UK commented: We are delighted that we have been able to exploit our extensive knowledge and experience in digital transmission by providing the technology for Londons second digital multiplex.
Simon Spanswick, Multiplex Director, Switchdigital stated: Switchdigital selected Crown Castle because of their significant experience in digital transmission for both radio and television. The company has delivered everything it undertook to provide in less than 3 months from the award of the multiplex licence. Crown Castle has impressed us with the range of innovative ideas it has put forward and implemented and the expertise of its staff.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Switchdigital is a joint venture between The Wireless Group, Clear Channel International, Virgin Radio and the Carphone Warehouse. Switchdigital was awarded the second London-wide commercial radio multiplex by the Radio Authority in April 2000.
Crown Castle International Corp. engineers, deploys, owns and operates technologically advanced shared wireless infrastructure, including extensive networks of towers and rooftops as well as analogue and digital audio and television broadcast transmission systems. The Company offers near-universal broadcast coverage in the United Kingdom and significant wireless communications coverage to 68 of the top 100 United States markets and more than 92 % of the Australian population. UK broadcast customers include BBC, Virgin Radio, Talk Sport and ONdigital.
Pro forma for all closed and previously announced transactions, Crown Castle International owns, operates and manages over 11,000 wireless communication towers internationally.
www.crowncastle.com and www.3g-thefuture.com.
Digital radio is a fundamental advance in radio technology. It offers listeners interference-free reception, near-CD quality sound, easy to use radios plus a wider choice of programmes, text and ultimately, data services. The BBC started its Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) services in September 1995, and Digital One, the national commercial digital radio broadcaster, launched on 15 November, 1999. Local and regional services have been launched by commercial radio operators in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow..