The BBC is to join forces with the commercial radio sector in an unprecedented move to boost DAB digital radio in the U.K. in the run-up to Christmas.

The promotional campaign for DAB radio services and sets has been devised by BBC Future, Media and Technology and will air on BBC channels and commercial radio. It will focus on the features of DAB digital radio - the sets boast better sound quality and data services such as electronic program guides - and the range of stations on offer.

It follows a major setback for DAB with the withdrawal last month of TV broadcaster Channel 4 as the majority partner in a consortium that planned to launch new DAB radio services.

The license-fee funded BBC does not carry commercials, although it does feature promotional campaigns for its own services.

"It's a bit of a first, so it's quite exciting," Andrew Harrison, chief executive of commercial radio trade organization RadioCentre, told Billboard.biz. He said that Bauer Radio are among the commercial companies who have agreed to air the BBC-devised campaign.

"The BBC has developed an advertising campaign based on the successful campaign they ran last year about giving a gift at Christmas that will be loved," added Harrison. "But that campaign is going to run not only across BBC television and radio, but also across commercial radio. It's a campaign that says there's a wide choice of stations that you can access, it doesn't matter whether they're BBC or commercial."

Around 7.6 million sets have been sold since the technology launched nine years ago and Harrison said he hopes that will reach nine million by the end of Christmas.

"Certainly the manufacturers are quite chuffed," he said of the campaign. "It's a big promotional support from a united industry position."

The BBC did not comment on the campaign.

A spokeswoman for BBC 6 Music said the modern rock DAB network would be getting its own dedicated promotional campaign for two weeks from late November on BBC radio, TV and online services, to coincide with the overall campaign.

The BBC remains committed to its DAB-only stations including 6 Music and urban music station 1Xtra.

In an October statement issued in response to the Channel 4 move, Tim Davie, the BBC's director of audio and music, said: "Going forward, the BBC is committed to work with the [industry body] Digital Radio Working Group and all other parties to lead the growth of digital radio.

"DAB will continue to offer high quality services that are proven to have significant appeal to radio listeners, and we look forward to working in partnership with all the industry to drive further growth of the platform."