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.

Other DAB Changes

Some other DAB changes to bring you, from the past couple of weeks.

Two services have joined the Cambridge trial small scale multiplex. HCR104fm (Huntington Community Radio) is broadcasting at 48 kbps stereo DAB+, and Visitor Radio is broadcasting at 32 kbps mono DAB+. As both services are using the newer DAB+ format, not all radios will receive these stations.

On the trial small scale multiplex in Portsmouth, Weather24/7Radio has been re-labelled Test Channel. The reason for this is unclear, as the station also broadcasts on other small scale multiplexes.

LRB Digital and Solar Radio have switched to using DAB+ on the trial London small scale multiplex. Asa result, not all radios will now receive these stations. Also in London, but on the London 3 multiplex, Matryoshka Radio has dropped to 112 kbps, but still broadcasts in original format Joint Stereo DAB.

Several Christmas DAB pop up stations have also returned this year including Mince Pie Non Stop, a spin of from Minster FM in North Yorkshire, Signal Christmas in Stoke & Stafford, and Pulse Christmas in Bradford and Huddersfield.

DAB Changes

Some DAB updates to bring you:

On the Leicestershire multiplex, LRB Digital has ceased.

On the Trial Manchester small scale multiplex, XS Manchester has joined, broadcasting using DAB+ at 48kbps. Penky Wind-Ups has left this multiplex, but continues online.

The Beat, a digital spin off from MKFM appears to be ceasing. The service has been removed DAB.

Crackers Radio has joined the trial Cambridge small scale multiplex, and is broadcasting in DAB+ at 48 kbps.

NME1 has added Central London to it’s coverage area, which also includes Norwich and Brighton. The service is broadcasting in DAB+ at 48 kbps on the trial London small scale multiplex, whilst Love Talk has ceased broadcasting.

Lyca Dil Se 1035 has been relabelled Dilse Radio on the London 3 multiplex.

And finally, on the trial Glasgow small scale multiplex, Timeless Radio has ceased.

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.

More DAB+ Changes

On the London trial minimux, covering central London, Resonance has switched to DAB+ and Resonance Extra has launched. Both services are using a bit rate of 64 kbps in stereo. These services are only available on DAB+ compatible radios.

Of the 14 services on this multiplex, only 4 still use the original form of DAB. Whilst this does allow for more stations per frequency, and depending on the bit rate better sound quality, few listeners are able to access these services as most DAB radios are not DAB+ compatible. There are still some non-DAB+ digital radios on sale.

Radio Caroline Joins DAB in London

Radio Caroline has added central London to the many areas the station now serves. The station has now joined the Trial London DAB multiplex, one of several trial small scale multiplexes that the station broadcasts on.

Radio Caroline is using the newer DAB+ format (at 64kbps, stereo), meaning that not all DAB radios will receive it. Look for a digital radio tick mark or DAB+ icon on the radio or packaging, to see if it is capable of receiving DAB+. If your radio receives Fun Kids or Union Jack it will be able to receive Radio Caroline when in the coverage area.

Radio Caroline also broadcasts on 648MW in East Anglia.