DAB Changes

As reported yesterday, Ofcom have given permission for Kingdom FM to join the central Scotland DAB multiplex. RadioToday.co.uk are reporting that this has already taken place, but Wohnort DAB are yet to confirm that the station has joined the multiplex. There is yet to be any publicity from the station, therefore it is safe to assume that Kingdom FM is still to be added to the multiplex.

Pure Radio is also due to join the Central Scotland DAB multiplex. This will be a music led service, with a focus on Scottish content, along with local news and travel.

Children’s services are expanding, with Fun Kids Junior joining the North East Wales and West Cheshire multiplex (32 kbps DAB+). Little Radio has launched on the Portsmouth small-scale trial DAB multiplex, also using DAB+ at 32 kbps. This is a new station and is being run by Nation Broadcasting.

Radio UP is replacing Connect FM on DAB only. Details are limited at this stage, but this station is an automated service from Communicorp, and is based from the same building that XS Manchester operates from.

Kingdom FM to Join DAB

Ofcom has given permission for Kingdom FM, Fife’s only local station, to join the Central Scotland DAB multiplex.

As yet, a launch date is yet to be confirmed. Rocksport is also due to leave the DAB multiplex, and Kingdom FM could be a direct replacement.

The Central Scotland DAB multiplex is operated by Wireless Group, and covers the central belt of Scotland, including Fife, Falkirk, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayr.

Cut Backs at BFBS

Forces radio station BFBS (which identifies on air as Forces Radio BFBS) has removed its Brize Norton version of the station from DAB.

BFBS Brize Norton had held a mono, 80 kbps second slot on the Oxfordshire local DAB multiplex. A reason for the removal is yet to be established, although the FM service continues unchanged.

Meanwhile, BFBS have opted not to take up a license offer from Ofcom for two new community radio services. One was to cover Stafford, whilst the other was to cover Cottesmore and North Luffenham.

BFBS operate a number of radio services aimed at service personnel, both in the UK and overseas. The national version broadcasts on the SDL multiplex in DAB+.

Cumbria DAB Applications Received

Ofcom has received two DAB applications for Cumbria local multiplexes.

Bauer have applied for a license to cover North and West Cumbria. This will consist of BBC Radio Cumbria, and CFM. The rest of capacity will be used to plug coverage gaps for Bauer’s national brands, including Scala Radio, and Absolute Radio 80s. Some capacity will be reserved for future station launches.

Nation Broadcasting has teamed with Muxco for a multiplex covering south Cumbria, and North Lancashire. BBC Radio Cumbria will feature, along with national stations Heart, Smooth, and Capital, which broadcast on FM in the area. Community stations Bay Trust Radio and Cando FM will also be on the multiplex using DAB+, as will digital stations Fun Kids Junior (DAB+) and Chris Country (DAB+).

Nation are also planning to launch a new station Bay Radio, which may appeal to listeners of the original The Bay station which was replaced by Heart following the sale of the station to Global.

No bidders have put forward a proposal for Southwest Scotland, although the North and West Cumbria multiplex may offer some over-spill coverage. Both Nation/Muxco and Bauer have suggested that if successful they can have the multiplexes up and running within 12 months.

Connect FM Binned as Station is to Merge with Smooth East Midlands

National station Smooth Radio will take over Connect FMs frequencies, as Ofcom has given permission for Communicorp to merge the station with the East Midlands version of Smooth Radio.

Although bordering the Smooth Radio coverage area, Connect FM broadcasts via two licenses to Peterborough, Kettering, Corby, and Wellingborough in the East region. An Ofcom consultation received no responses.

The move means that Connect FM will not only rebrand, but will network with Smooth Radio 24/7. There will be no locally produced shows, with the breakfast show being shared with the existing Smooth Radio East Midlands station, and all other output from London.

Smooth Radio East Midlands is owned by Communicorp and operates under franchise from Global Radio, who produce and control most of the output on the station.

Smooth Radio fails the criteria for inclusion on the Station Guide of Scott’s Radio Site, due to the lack of local content on the local licenses the service occupies. Scott’s Radio Site regards Global Radio to be an acquired dominant monopoly, and excludes all of Global’s brands from inclusion on this website.

Love Sport to Broadcast Nationally

London based sports radio station Love Sport is to broadcast nationally on DAB, having recently reduced its AM/MW coverage area to North London in a frequency swap.

The station has announced that it will broadcast on the SDL national DAB multiplex by the end of the year. This will require an existing service to switch to DAB+, or a replacement of an existing service, as this multiplex is currently full.

The station will compete with Talk Sport, which was originally founded by Kelvin MacKenzie, who is the current chairman and chief executive of Love Sport.

Quidem Becomes Franchisee

Quidem has agreed a franchise agreement with Global Radio, which will see the loss of the Touch FM, Rugby FM and Banbury Sound brands across the Midlands. It is yet to be confirmed which of Global’s brands will be used, although it seems likely that the Capital brand will be used on at least some of the stations.

As part of the deal, Quidem are moving from Bauer owned First Radio Sales (sales agency for national advertisers), to Global’s in house sales agency. Global will also be proving all news bulletins going forward, with existing news staff being offered a transfer to Global.

The exact number of redundancies is also yet to be confirmed, although this is expected to include 3 presenters and 5 account managers. Quidem is currently loss making.

The deal will not widen choice for listeners, as ‘regionalised’ versions of Global’s main brands Capital, Heart, and Smooth already exist on DAB digital radio in the area covered by Quidem on FM.

Radio Atlantis Expands

Radio Atlantis, the current oldies offering from Cyber Radio, has expanded into Lincolnshire.

The station now has a slot on the Lincolnshire, using a DAB+ slot with a bit rate of 32 kbps. The new slot allows the station to broadcast across Lincolnshire, Humberside and parts of East Yorksire.

Radio Atlantis can also be found on the Surrey and Suffolk local multiplexes, and some of the small scale trail multiplexes, including Norwich and Manchester.

BBC to Celebrate Beatles Anniversary with Pop-Up Station

BBC Radio 2 have revealed plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Abbey Road Album, with a pop up radio stations.

BBC Radio 2 Beatles, revealed on last nights OJ Borg late night show, is to run from 26th to 29th September. The station will feature live shows from the Abbey Road studios in London. The launch of the station will be simulcast on BBC Radio 2.

The station will be broadcast on the BBC National DAB multiplex, and will also be available on the BBC Sounds online platform.

Malta Trials HD Radio

Malta is trialing new high definition (HD) DAB+ radio services. Bay HD, Net HD, One HD, and XFM HD have been added to the 12A multiplex, which broadcasts to Malta from a transmitter at Gharghur.

The new services are all broadcasting at a bit rate of 192 kbps in stereo DAB+. The 12A multiplex is also broadcasting BKR NAT HD at a lower bit rate of 128 kbps, along with two other test channels.

The 12A multiplex is the least full of the three multiplexes which broadcast to Malta, and has mostly been used for test and trial services.