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.

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.

Original 106 Launches New Studio

Original 106 opened their new studios on Wednesday, going live at 1.06pm. They now share a building with other parts of the DC Thompson business, having moved from South Aberdeen to Marischal Square, Aberdeen.

Original 106 has also joined the Aberdeen DAB multiplex, broadcasting in mono DAB at 80 kbps. Although mono, unlike stations which have adopted the newer DAB+ format, Original 106 is available on all DAB radios with clear sound quality.

DC Thompson acquired both Original 106 and Kingdom FM earlier this year, and also own Dundee station Wave FM.

Gold to Launch on D1 National

Global Radio’s Gold is to launch on the D1 National DAB multiplex on Monday (10th June). The service is expected to use DAB+, and occupy some of the space vacated when Heart Extra and Smooth Extra switched to DAB+ earlier this week.

Despite some reports suggesting that the service has already gone live, Gold is yet to appear on the D1 National multiplex. Nor is the service returning there, as to my knowledge Gold has never been broadcast on the D1 National multiplex before.

Gold is currently available in some areas on MW (AM) and DAB (normal format, 128 kbps stereo). It is unclear whether the service will stay on these platforms.

It is anticipated that Global will also launch another DAB+ service on the D1 National DAB multiplex. Details of this service have not been revealed.

Note: Gold fails the criteria for inclusion in the station guide, as the service is owned and operated by Global Radio, who are a domineering monopoly. Additionally, the service quality is deemed to be poor, as the majority of the service is automated without an obvious reason or benefit.

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.

Sound Digital Completes Expansion

The Sound Digital national DAB multiplex has completed its expansion programme, adding a further 19 transmitters, and around 4 million potential new listeners. The multiplex now has additional coverage in East Anglia, the South West, Kent, South Wales and North East Scotland, with a total coverage area of 83% of the UK.

The multiplex is jointly owned by Arqiva, Bauer, and Wireless Group, and carries 19 digital stations including Talk Radio, Union Jack, and Virgin Radio. Some stations use the newer DAB+ format.

Listeners in the new coverage are will be able to receive the stations after re-scanning their DAB radio.

Small Scale DAB Extensions

All current small-scale DAB multiplexes in the UK have had their licenses extended until March 31st, 2020. These multiplexes allow small commercial and community stations the opportunity to broadcast on DAB at an affordable cost.

The current small-scale multiplexes are:

  • Aldershot
  • Birmingham
  • Brighton
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Glasgow
  • Central London
  • Manchester
  • Norwich
  • Portsmouth

The license extension is to allow Ofcom time to consider the most appropriate method for licensing permanent small-scale DAB multiplexes.

05/08/2018: News Round-up

The change of ownership at 2BR has already been covered in a separate post, so here is some of the other stories from the past week:

Juice 107.2 in Brighton is to rebrand as Capital Brighton on the 3rd September. The station will have a complete new presenter line-up, and will take most programmes from the Capital Network in London. All current presenters are assumed to have been made redundant.

Celador have introduced Town 102 to DAB for the first time. The station is broadcasting on the Suffolk local multiplex at 80 kbps mono. Celador have confirmed that Town 102 will continue broadcasting indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Ipswich 102 (also known as Ipswich FM) have commenced test transmissions on the Suffolk local DAB multiplex, ahead of taking over the 102 FM frequency from Town 102 in October. Ipswich 102 is broadcasting at a higher bit rate of 192 kbps in stereo.

A new service has launched on the North East Wales and West Cheshire DAB multiplex. Bliss Radio is broadcasting at 64 kbps in mono. In London, ABN Radio UK has ceased broadcasting on the London 3 multiplex.

21/06/2018: News Round Up

The latest radio stories:

Sun FM has a new red and white logo, with matches the corporate style of it’s new owner, Nation Broadcasting. The new logo is on the Facebook and twitter pages, but the Sun FM website still retains the previous logo and colour scheme.

Ofcom are inviting applications for new community radio stations, and is also inviting applications for existing community stations to extend coverage areas.

A new online radio station has launched following the closure of community station Wirral Radio. The similarly named Radio Wirral is currently available online at radiowrirral.com, and also plans to join DAB. Radio Wirral is a commercial service, unlike its predecessor.

Upload Radio has ceased broadcasting. The service has left the North East Wales and West Cheshire local DAB multiplex.

08/06/2018: News Round-Up

Here is this weeks news round up:

With Key103 becoming Hits Radio, Key 2 has changed its name to Key Radio. Absolute Classic Rock has joined the Manchester DAB multiplex, broadcasting in mono at 80kbps

London DAB stations Thames Radio will rebrand to Nation Radio later this month, but will remain separate from the current Nation Radio in Wales.

Devon community radio station Bay FM has relaunched as Exmouth Air.

Zack FM and Panda Radio have joined the Norwich trial DAB multiplex. Both use stereo DAB+ at 40 and 48kbps respectively, so not all radios will receive these stations. Antenna Radio has been removed from this multiplex.

BBC Radio Solent and BBC Radio Stoke have changed channel numbers on Freeview. Both can now be found on channel 726.