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.
Nation Broadcasting, through subsidiary Bailiwick Broadcasting, has announced it has applied for the license to operate the Channel Islands DAB multiplex.
A total of 25 stations are proposed. Based on this, the vast majority of these will be DAB+ services. Capacity has been reserved for both BBC Radio Guernsey and BBC Radio Jersey.
As neither of the national commercial DAB multiplexes are available on the Channel Islands, a number of national services are likely to be carried on the new local multiplex.
Radio Ceredigion has now become part of Nation Radio (Wales). Natio Broadcasting (the parent company of both stations) won the new Ceredigion license, but submitted a request to continue Radio Ceredigion. This request was withdrawn, with Nation Radio taking over on the 1st June.
I have held back on posting this news story in the hope of being able to find out why the request to continue Radio Ceredigion was withdrawn. The reason is still unknown, however it would appear that Ofcom had not approved the continuation, nor would it have time to prior to the new license starting.
This might have meant that Nation Radio would have need to replace Radio Ceredigion at least for a short period of time, and reverting back to Radio Ceredigion might have caused confusion for listeners. Ofcom decided to run a public consultation on the matter, despite Nation Broadcasting wishing to continue Radio Ceredigion unchanged, and this would have delayed the decision.
The former Radio Ceredigion frequencies of 96.6 MHz (Lampeter), 97.4 MHz (Cardigan), and 103.3 MHz (Aberystwyth), are now relays for Nation Radio. This has allowed the latter to broadcast to an area that it previously could not serve using DAB or FM.
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.
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.
Brave Broadcasting has been acquired by Nation Broadcasting, who are in the process of launching Nation Radio Scotland. Brave Broadcasting own Your Radio, and the Glasgow Trial small scale DAB multiplex.
Your Radio currently broadcasts on 103 FM and 106.9 FM to the Dumbarton and Helensburgh area. There is speculation that Nation Broadcasting will merge Your Radio into Nation Radio Scotland, something that would be easy to do without Ofcom approval, as both stations are in the same approved area.
Your Radio has been in financial difficulties recently, and was expected to close until the owners announced that they were holding discussions with potential buyers. The change of ownership brings certainty that, as a minimum, the 103 FM and 106.9 FM will remain operational.
Nation Radio Scotland has now commenced broadcasting on 96.3 FM in the Glasgow area. The station is currently operating as test transmissions from today until the 30th September.
The station has also joined the Trial Glasgow small scale multiplex, broadcasting in joint-stereo at 128 kbps. As the station is using the original DAB format, almost all DAB radios will receive the station, once re-tuned.
The website is on-line at nationradio.scot.
Nation Broadcasting have applied for the license currently held by Sam FM Bristol, under the name of Jack FM. Sam FM broadcasts to the Bristol area on 106.5 FM, and is owned by Celador, who have also submitted a bid to renew their license.
Sam FM first launched as Original 106.5 FM in 2007, but previously operated as a Jack FM franchise until 2015. Nation Broadcasting will use the Jack FM brand under license from Oxis Media, who operate the Oxford version of the station alongside national stations Union Jack and Jack 3.
Nation Broadcasting are expanding their network, and recently acquired Sunderland station Sun FM.
Here are some of the stories from the past two weeks:
Community radio station 88.3 Centreforce has joined DAB in London, broadcasting on the London 2 multiplex, using the newer DAB+ format at 32 kbps.
Encore Radio appears to have left the North Yorkshire DAB multiplex. Reports are conflicting with the Frequency Finder website having first reporting the change, but Wohnort DAB is shows the station to be broadcasting in North Yorkshire. More updates will follow on this story.
Radio Ceredigion, owned by Nation Broadcasting, has reapplied for the license as Nation Radio. The 96.6, 97.4 and 103.3 FM transmitters will be used to fill a gap in Nation Radio’s FM and DAB network, allowing Nation Radio to have near full Wales coverage. Radio Ceredigion achieves 16% reach and a market share of slightly under 5%.
Nation Broadcasting are applying for the Sam FM Bristol license, under the name of Jack FM. A larger report on this development will be published in the next week.
Also at Nation Broadcasting, the role out of the new Sun FM logo has been completed with the launch of the a new website. There have also bee some tweaks to the schedule, presumably relating to the untangling of the station from it’s former owners UKRD.
Original 106 has been given permission to change its music format, by dropping the requirement to play album tracks. It has been suggested, however, that the station will continue to play album tracks and classic rock music.
Only two major stories this week:
Nation Broadcasting has completed re-branding of the DAB+ London station Thames Radio. The station now shares the Nation Radio name, but has it’s own programming. The station will be referred to on this website as ‘Nation Radio London’.
Ofcom has launched a consultation on allowing commercial local radio to become less local, the details of which can be found at www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-2/guidelines-localness-commercial-radio.