NME Radio will no longer be broadcast on Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio or via digital TV.

The network, which plays alternative rock, will continue via the NME.com website. But the departure from the two digital platforms is a blow for the new alternative station, which had an audience reach of 226,000 listeners in Q1 2010, according to audience research body RAJAR.

IPC Media, publisher of music weekly NME, said that the Web-only operation had a potential audience of 4.2 million unique users who visit NME.com every month. But with just one platform - the Internet - the likelihood is that the audience will dip. The service went nationwide on DAB in December 2009.

NME Radio could well be one of the main beneficiaries if alternative and modern rock station BBC 6 Music is closed, which BBC management has proposed. But without a DAB or TV platform, NME Radio would struggle to win over a large proportion of any homeless 6 Music listeners.

Of course, 6 Music's supporters will hope that the BBC Trust might well see this as proof that the commercial sector cannot provide such an alternative music service. Supporters of the station, including the U.K. music industry, will hope that the Trust saves the station, which is a key platform for new artists.

The governing body of the publicly-funded broadcaster has conducted a public consultation on the proposal to close 6 Music and will report its findings later in the summer.

Commentators from the commercial radio sector have previously said that 6 Music was not a problem, as it was not seen as imitating commercial rivals.

But RadioCentre, the commercial radio sector trade body, did not formally call for the station to be saved by the BBC. In its submission to the BBC Trust, RadioCentre said that the "most distinctive and unique programming of 6 Music should be retained and incorporated into the schedules of [national top 40 station] Radio 1 and [AC network] Radio 2."

RadioCentre also called for a new focus for Radio 1, arguing it should target younger listeners and invest in high quality, distinctive programming. Radio 2 should raise its target audience from 35-plus to 40-plus and then 45-plus after three years, RadioCentre said.

In a statement, IPC Media said that its NME Radio licensee DX Media had announced its intention to terminate the arrangement.

"We have enjoyed a great working relationship with DX Media and we would like to thank them for all the excellent work that has gone into NME Radio," said NME publishing director Paul Cheal in a statement. "Meanwhile, we will continue to develop ways in which NME's audience can engage with both audio and visual content utilizing our in-house studio facilities whilst maintaining an online music service via our award-winning music website NME.COM."

NME Radio's playlist includes Crocodiles, Crystal Castles, the National, LCD Soundsystem and MGMT.