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.

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.

Kiss Fresh Leaves DAB

It is being reported that Kiss Fresh is leaving DAB. The station was due to leave some local multiplexes in order to make room for Country Hits Radio, but it appears that the station will now leave DAB entirely.

There is no word as yet on whether the station will close completely, but for the time being listeners can still tune in via Freeview television (limited coverage) or online.

Both Country Hits Radio and Kiss Fresh are owned by Bauer Media, who also own Downtown Country in Northern Ireland, which will continue to broadcast as a separate service.

Update: It is now confirmed that in Birmingham, Humberside, Lancashire, Leeds, Liverpool, London 1, Manchester and Sheffield, Country Hits Radio Has replaced Kiss Fresh. In Northern Ireland, Greatest Hits Radio has replaced Kiss Fresh.

Also on London 1, Magic Soul has dropped it’s bit rate from 80 kbps (mono), to the sub-standard 64 kbps (mono LSF).

Bauer Takes Over Yet More Radio Stations

Bauer Media is acquiring UKRD, the operator of 10 local radio stations including Eagle Radio, Pirate FM, Minster FM and Yorkshire Coast Radio. Bauer has also acquired UKRD’s share of the MuxCo North Yorkshire, MuxCo Surrey & Sussex, South West Digital Radio (Cornwall and Plymouth) DAB multiplexes, and UKRD’s share of First Radio Sales, a national advert selling agency. It is not yet clear if digital station Encore has been included in the deal

Bauer’s recent acquisitions of Lincs FM Group, Celador Radio and Wireless Group’s local radio stations are now in Hold Separate Status, and UKRD is likely to follow suite. This is pending a Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the takeovers, and means that while Bauer can own the stations they can integrate the stations into the group until the takeover has been cleared. This does means that local brands and programmes will continue for a little while longer.

Sam FM Thames is No More

What was Jack 107 in Berkshire has effectively closed. When Celador acquired Jack 107, the output on the FM frequency replaced with a localised version of The Breeze. Jack 107 continued on DAB but was rebranded to Sam FM Thames Valley, in line with the other Sam FM stations in the South West.

In a change most likely initiated before Bauer Media acquired Celador Radio, The Breeze has now replaced Sam FM on the Berks & North Hants local DAB multiplex, with a bit rate reduction down to 56 kbps in mono.

Bauer Expansion

As reported earlier, Bauer Media have acquired both the Lincs FM Group and Celador Radio. Here are further details of the stations acquired.

The following stations have been acquired with the Celador Radio portfolio:

  • The Breeze (Andover)
  • The Breeze (Bristol)
  • The Breeze (Basingstoke & North Hampshire)
  • The Breeze (Bath)
  • The Breeze (Bridgwater & West Somerset)
  • The Breeze (Cheltenham & North Gloucestershire)
  • The Breeze (East Hampshire & South West Surrey)
  • The Breeze (Frome & West Wiltshire)
  • The Breeze (Newbury)
  • The Breeze (North Dorset)
  • The Breeze (North Somerset)
  • The Breeze (Reading)
  • The Breeze (South Devon)
  • The Breeze (Yeovil & South Somerset)
  • The Breeze (Winchester, Portsmouth, and Southampton)
  • Sam FM (Bristol)
  • Sam FM (Swindon)
  • Sam FM (South Coast)
  • Sam FM (Thames Valley – DAB)
  • Dream 100 FM (Colchester)
  • Town DAB (Ipswich – DAB)
  • The Beach (Norfolk)
  • North Norfolk Radio (Norfolk)
  • Radio Norwich 99.9 (Norwich)
  • Fire Radio (Bournemouth and Poole)

The following stations have been acquired as part of the Lincs FM Group:

 

  • Lincs FM (Lincolnshire & Newark)
  • Compass FM (North East Lincolnshire)
  • Trax FM (Doncaster & Bassetlaw)
  • Dearne FM (Barnsley, Penistone and the Dearne Valley)
  • Rutland Radio (Stamford & Rutland)
  • Ridings FM (the Wakefield district)
  • Rother FM (Rotherham)
  • Suffolk First (Suffolk – DAB)
  • KCFM (Hull)

Some stations are to be sold on immediately to Nation Broadcasting, to avoid competition issues. These are KCFM in Hull, and The Breeze (Winchester, Portsmouth, and Southampton) and Sam FM South Coast in the Solent region.

It is yet to be announced what changes will take place at any of these stations, although it is likely that Bauer will merge several into their Hits Radio and Greatest Hits Radio brands.

Nation Broadcasting are yet to reveal what changes they will make to their new additions, but haven’t ruled out an expansion of the Nation Radio brand.

 

Bauer Media Aquires Yet More Radio Stations

Please be aware that a full article on this topic will follow when I have clearer information.

Bauer Media have acquired two radio groups, Celador Radio and Lincs FM. Both groups run a portfolio of smaller local radio stations.

It is believed that some stations will be immediately sold on again to the expanding Nation Broadcasting. The stations which Bauer will keep are likely to start carrying networked programming, and may be rebranded.

This move is the latest in a long line of tit for tat expansion moves by Bauer and rival Global Radio.

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.