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.

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.

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.

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.

Spectrum Radio Network Advertise London Frequency

Spectrum Radio Network have advertised availability on the 1548 MW/AM frequency which covers North London. This frequency is currently occupied by Love Sport, and it is not yet clear what will happen to that station.

Spectrum also have a London wide DAB slot, and two London DAB+ slots available. For those and the MW frequency, Spectrum are offering part time slots, to allow for smaller stations to come on-air for a reduced cost.

For full details visit their website at spectrumradio.net/airtime/.

Viamux Offer Free Small Scale DAB Workshops

Viamux have partnered with industry website Radio Today to offer free regional small scale DAB workshops.

The sessions will offer guidance on how to set up and run a DAB+ multiplex, as well as advice on writing license applications, funding equipment, and finding partner stations.

A live demonstration of software-defined radio also forms part of the sessions.

The first workshops are:

  • Belfast on Saturday 14th September
  • Edinburgh on Saturday 28th September
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Saturday 5th October​

For more details, visit the Viamux website at www.viamux.com/workshops.html.

Global Monopoly Expands Again

The dominant monopoly that is Global Radio has expanded its presence on DAB. National duplicates of Capital, Heart and Smooth have been added to the Lincolnshire DAB multiplex and the Hereford and Worcester DAB multiplex.

These services are already available on the D1 national multiplex. Capital UK has a national 80 kbps mono slot, as does Smooth (labelled as Smooth Extra), and Heart has a 32kbps low quality stereo DAB+ slot (labelled as Heart Extra).

The new versions are all in stereo ‘original version’ DAB, with a bit rate of 112kbps, offering slightly better sound quality. These services are exactly the same as the national versions, and do not widen the choice of services available.

Meanwhile, there are rumours circulating on social media that Global are acquiring the Quidem group of radio stations, which broadcast to the Midlands, and include the Touch FM and Banbury Sound brands.