Ofcom has given permission for Kingdom FM, Fife’s only local station, to join the Central Scotland DAB multiplex.
As yet, a launch date is yet to be confirmed. Rocksport is also due to leave the DAB multiplex, and Kingdom FM could be a direct replacement.
The Central Scotland DAB multiplex is operated by Wireless Group, and covers the central belt of Scotland, including Fife, Falkirk, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayr.
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.
The Wireless Group have added two Virgin Radio spin offs to their portfolio. Virgin Radio Anthems is an extension of the Anthems feature on the main station, and plays classic guitar led rock tracks. Virgin Radio Chilled plays acoustic tracks.
Both stations are now broadcasting on the SDL national DAB mutliplex, using the DAB+ format at 32kbps stereo. Not all DAB radios can receive DAB+ broadcasts, consult the packaging, instruction manual, or manufacturer of you are unsure. If you can already receive Fun Kids or Union Jack, your radio is DAB+ compatible.
Both new stations will also broadcast the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, when it launches on the 21st January. Virgin Radio UK is operated by the Wireless Group, which is owned by News UK.
With the Sound Digital national multiplex expansion programme having been recently completed, Talk Radio, Talk Sport 2 and Virgin Radio are leaving the Aberdeen local DAB multiplex. These have been rel-labelled retune 2, retune 3, and retune 1 respectively, and presumably will be carrying on-air announcements to make listeners aware of the required retune.
These three stations joined the Aberdeen multiplex when the UK’s second national DAB multiplex launched, as at that time the Sound Digital multiplex did not cover Aberdeen. All three stations are owned by the Wireless Group, who also own the local DAB multiplex for Aberdeen. Wireless Group also have a share holding in the Sound Digital multiplex.
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.
Sound Digital, the UK’s second commercial DAB multiplex, is to extend its coverage.
Listeners in Wales, the South West, East Anglia, and North East Scotland will benefit from the extended coverage area, and there will also be a small coverage boost in and around Eastbourne on the south coast of England.
Sound Digital is a joint venture between broadcasters Bauer Media and Wireless Group, and infrastructure firm Arqiva. The multiplex carries a variety of DAB and DAB+ stations including Talk Radio, Union Jack, and Virgin Radio.