Solar Radio Leaves Sky

Soul music station Solar Radio has ceased broadcasting on the Sky satellite television platform. Solar had been available on Sky since September 2000.

The station is redirecting listeners to the variety of online platforms available, including smart phone apps and smart speakers.

The station is also available on DAB+ in Birmingham, Brighton, central London, and Norwich.

More details can be found on their website www.solarradio.com.

Bauer Reduces Local Content

Bauer is to scrap local weekend programmes across the ‘Hits Radio’ network of stations in England and Scotland. Separate programmes will be programmes are to be aired across the local stations in England plus Hits Radio, with a the Scottish stations having their own show.

Meanwhile the number of breakfast shows on Free Radio are to be reduced, with Birmingham, Shropshire and the Black Country sharing a show, while Coventry, Warkwickshire, and Hereford and Worcester will share a show. A single drivetime show is also to be introduced for the whole Free Radio network in the West Midlands.

Hits Radio is also due to get a new breakfast show, although the new line up is yet to be announced.

These changes do not apply to any of the UKRD, Wireless, Lincs FM Group, or Celador stations that Bauer recently acquired.

Update: Radio City, based in Liverpool, is to retain its current local shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Scala Radio Joins Sky

Scala Radio will join the Sky satellite TV platform tomorrow (1st May), and will be available on channel 0216. It is expected that the service will also join the Freesat subscription-free satellite platform.

This move will provide an alternative listening option for those outside of Scala Radio’s DAB coverage. Previously, the service has only been available on DAB, on the SDL National multiplex, with listeners lacking DAB coverage having to rely on smart phone apps and online platforms.

Virgin Radio made a similar move earlier this year, joining both Sky and Feesat.

2BR Ends Ahead of Extension of Capital Manchester

2BR has now ceased broadcasts, ahead of the extension of Capital Manchester to form Capital North West. All programming will now be from Manchester.

Despite the programming sharing, Capital North West will be know as Capital Manchester and Capital Lancashire on air. This is despite the Lancashire part having no local programmes, and the Manchester part only having 3 hours local programmes on weekdays, with no local programmes at the weekend. Both stations will carry a limited amount of local news provision.

On DAB, as Capital Manchester was carried on the Lancashire DAB multiplex, the existing service has been relabeled Capital Lancashire. The 64 kbps mono slot that 2BR occupied is now being used by Gold. Both Capital and Gold are owned by Global.

Note: As both Capital and Gold are owned by Global, who have a monopoly over the commercial radio market, both stations fail the criteria to be included in the Station Guide on this website.

Additionally, Capital North West (Lancashire and Manchester) fails the criteria, as the local licenses it occupies are being used for a near national service.

Absolute Radio 90s Completes Transition

DAB station Absolute Radio 90s has complete its transition to its new home on the SDL national multiplex. All versions of the station on the local multiplexes and the D1 national multiplex have been removed.

It is expected that sister station Kisstory will make the move from SDL national to D1 national next Monday.

Another Bauer Media owned station, Magic Soul, has expanded its coverage area and is now available on the Lancashire, Liverpool, & Manchester local DAB multiplexes.

Absolute Radio 90s Transition Begins

DAB station Absolute Radio 90s has begun its move to the SDL national multiplex, following the removal of Heat Radio. The station appears to be leaving both the D1 national multiplex, and the local multiplexes it was previously carried on.

The previous services have been relabeled Abs90sOld, but as all versions are still using the same identification codes, each radio handles the change slightly differently. Some radios show all versions, whilst others are selective in which service is shown in the station list. It is common for the radio to select the version with the strongest signal, which may mean the old version is shown in areas where the station was carried on a local multiplex.

The old version of Absolute Radio 90s is now carrying a message advising of the required re-tune.

Scala Radio Will Be in Stereo

Scala Radio will be available in stereo, Bauer Media have confirmed in online promotional material. It is not yet known what the configuration will be.

It is anticipated that there will be configuration changes to other Bauer owned services, including the previously mentioned Absolute Radio 90s and Kisstory moves. DAB+ is an option available to allow more stations to broadcast in stereo, however adoption of this format will lead to some users of older DAB radios being unable to listen the stations.

More Changes at Bauer

A reshuffle of Bauer Media DAB stations is currently taking place.

As previously reported, Heat Radio leaves DAB on the 4th February.

On the same day, Absolute Radio 90s will switch to the SDL National multiplex from the D1 National multiplex. The station will continue to be available nationally. Absolute Radio 90s continues to broadcast on some local multiplexes, but this may change. At the same time Kisstory will move in the opposite direction.

Scala Radio will launch on the 4th March on the SDL National multiplex, using Heat Radio’s former capacity. There is speculation that one or more of the above stations will use the newer DAB+ format, to allow for stereo broadcasts.

New Classical Music Station to Launch

In the latest in a long line of tit for tat competition between Bauer Media and Global Radio, Bauer are replacing Heat Radio with a new classical music radio station on the SDL National DAB multiplex.

The station is to be called Scala Radio, and will launch on March 4th. The station will compete with Global Radio’s Classic FM and BBC Radio 3. However, unlike its rivals, Scala Radio will (unless DAB+ is used) broadcast only in mono. Both BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM are available in stereo DAB and stereo FM.

Heat Radio is to Leave Radio

Digital station Heat Radio will no longer be available nationally on DAB radio from around the 1st February, when all current presenter led programmes will end. The station will continue to be available on online platforms and in some areas through Freeview digital television.

Heat Radio first launched in 2003 as a brand extension of the magazine and is currently owned by Bauer Media. At it’s peak Heat Radio had around 1 million listeners, although this had dropped to around 600,000 recently.

The move comes at a time when Bauer are investing in new national brands. Bauer are expected to retain Heat Radio’s current DAB slot, and have also been reducing sound quality on some of their ‘localised’ services to gain more free space for future station launches.