The BBC Director of Radio and Music, Bob Shennan, has given more detail about a new BBC audio app that’s in development and announced that he will be appointing a Podcast Commissioner.

Addressing delegates at the Radiodays Europe conference in Vienna this morning, he also called for all of radio to work together more as an industry to tackle the challenges brought by the internet and streaming music providers.

He said: “For many years, in spaces like this, we have gathered as allies and rivals. Public radio versus commercial; commercial versus commercial. But today it’s really time for all of us in radio to come together as one united industry to secure our future. We should go faster and further in identifying our shared goals. We should safeguard radio as a force for good – and defend choice for our audiences by reinventing radio for the next century.”

Mr Shennan also outlined what the BBC is doing to target younger audiences, through podcasts and creating content that’s available online before it’s broadcast on the radio. He revealed that, while the BBC had had 240 million downloads of its podcasts last year, there are still nearly 2 million podcast listeners in the UK who don’t consume any BBC Radio output. The corporation therefore is taking on someone new to oversee its podcast work. “We’re about to announce the appointment of a new Podcast Commissioner who nurture the development of content, outside of our station brands,” Mr Shennan told the audience from the stage in Austria.

He also talked about the future of digital switchover, as we reported yesterday, saying radio’s future should be about a ‘mixed economy’ rather than just DAB.

In response to the speech, Global’s Ashley Tabor OBE told RadioToday: “We agree with the BBC that the time for a switch-off of FM is not now. We are delighted to fully support both DAB, and IP delivery of content. We have started many DAB stations on the D1 platform recently, invested in local DAB transmission and invested significant resources in new apps like The Global Player, home to all Global’s stations on mobile and connected devices. That said, around half of radio listening still comes from FM. With an installed user base like that, it would be premature to advocate an FM switch-off at this time. Now is the time for the BBC and commercial radio to work together to continue the growth and progress of radio in a multi-platform broadcast world.”

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