Further information
Sound Digital website

DAB digital radio logo

Saturday, 28th March 2015
Talk Radio, Virgin Radio and Jazz FM make a comeback on national DAB

STOP PRESS! Read the latest information about eighteen stations launching on the new multiplex here.

A series of new stations is set to launch on DAB digital radio next year, as broadcasters look to capitalise on the popularity of the digital platform following a recent award of a multiplex to cover many parts of the UK.

The new multiplex, which sees the reappearance of phone-in station talkRADIO, rock and pop franchise Virgin Radio and the expansion of Jazz FM from its London base to cover the UK once more, is planned to launch by March 2016.

STOP PRESS! Read the latest information about eighteen stations launching on the new multiplex here - that's three more than originally planned - read about changes to services, test transmissions and more...

Sound Digital logo

In a quick turnaround, the radio regulator has decided that operator Sound Digital is offering more reliable coverage for the 73 percent of the UK's population, by grouping its transmitters to ensure fewer drop-outs in coverage, than the bid made by its competitor Listen2Digital. Sound Digital are also offering wider coverage for its stations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Sound Digital has already signed contracts with many stations to appear on the multiplex, with talkRADIO alongside sports brand extension talkSPORT 2, a dedicated business and finance station talkBUSINESS, Virgin Radio playing rock and pop music, Kisstory's continuous old skool and dance anthems, relaxing music station Magic Mellow, celebrity gossip and pop music station Heat Radio, a transfer for Planet Rock and Absolute 80s from Digital One's DAB multiplex onto the Sound Digital DAB platform, together with Asian music station Sunrise Radio. British Muslim Radio is also penned for the multiplex, alongside Christian music stations Premier Christian Radio and UCB Inspirational. Premier Christian Radio recently signed a twelve month carriage contract on an existing national multiplex to ensure its uninterrupted coverage.

Expanding its London coverage to national DAB, Jazz FM will join an extra DAB+ channel. The single DAB+ service proposed by Sound Digital is the only stereo service planned, with the remainder of stations broadcasting in mono on the new multiplex.
A list of the radio stations Sound Digital is proposing

Above: Sound Digital is proposing a plethora of new and popular stations for the second UK-wide multiplex

Sound Digital has committed to launch the multiplex with a miniumum of 15 stations by the end of March 2016. The company will need to begin installation of its transmitter network immediately to ensure it can launch within 12 months of the license award date. The majority of stations are proposed to broadcast in mono using the current DAB standard, which can be picked up on any DAB radio, with at least one station planned to broadcast using DAB+, a broadcast standard used in countries such as Australia and Malta.

Sound Digital's technical plan is for services to reach more than 73 percent of UK adults (15+), 63 percent of major roads and an estimated 88 percent of vehicles on the UK road network, using more than 45 transmitters to provide indoor and outdoor coverage.

The second national commercial digital radio multiplex was originally advertised in 2007, with interest from two bidders and 4Digital group winning the license to broadcast new digital radio stations. Following the economic downturn, the multiplex launch was scrapped, with 4Digital group handing back the license a year later, in 2008.

To receive DAB digital radio services, you need a type of radio designed to pick up digital broadcasts over the airwaves through its built-in aerial. We've links to good models on our pages, or scroll down the page for some quick links to both DAB and wi-fi receivers.

DAB digital radio logo
The radio regulator Ofcom, offered the new license to Sound Digital as the operator, comprising of transmitter company Arqiva, Bauer media group and UTV Media, as it recognised the opportunities for cross-promotion of the digital platform from the owners of existing brands that can be heard on FM and mediumwave.

UTV's talkSPORT currently broadcasts on MW and DAB, whilst Bauer's Kiss occupies several FM frequencies, giving stations the chance to promote their new stations to listeners that haven't yet made the switch to DAB.

The regulator also considered that Sound Digital also submitted firm proposals for new stations, while Listen2Digital had not confirmed all of its station providers in its application.

DAB digital radio logo

Related links:
England, NI, Scotland & Wales national radio services, on this website.

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