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Friday, 23rd November 2012
Latest information on launch dates for local digital radio areas.

Read information on the proposals for Oxfordshire, Herts, Beds & Bucks, Wrexham & Chester, Derbyshire and Northants local digi radio.

Wednesday, 24th March 2010 (updated 9th May 2010; updated 8th November 2012)
Information on MOU (Memorandum of understanding) for local DAB digital radio rollout.

Read more information on the £21 million plan for local digital radio multiplex launches.

Archive information follows:
Re-jig of local and regional DAB digital radio multiplexes on the cards

Listeners to DAB digital radio could be hitting the retune button if proposals to review and replan the coverage areas of local digital radio multiplexes is given the go-ahead.

Local DAB digital radio multiplexes currently carry up to ten radio stations, sometimes with the same stations appearing on multiplexes serving adjacent counties. The plans are set to rationalise this, by extending the coverage areas of existing multiplexes and combining existing and new bundles of stations so that more efficient use is made of the limited digital spectrum. This should allow opportunities for local stations on FM only to migrate to DAB digital radio, should a digital switch-over for radio take place.

When the plans are finalised - and only if they are given the go-ahead by multiplex operators and the stations themselves - some stations on local multiplexes may move to larger, regional multiplexes to serve a wider area. Other local stations will see their coverage area on DAB digital radio increase, as local multiplex coverage areas are expanded to better serve neighbouring counties.

As of May 2010, operator MuxCo is seeking broadcasters that are interested in launching radio stations or podcasts on DAB and has published a questionnaire that can be downloaded by interested parties.

The only requirement for the listener is for them to perform a "Autotune" or "Autoscan" on their DAB digital radio, should these plans be introduced. This option is often found under the radio's menu. Sometimes there is a dedicated button for this purpose.

The new arrangement of local radio multiplexes would be as follows with multiplexes that have been awarded to an operator but have yet to launch shown in bold italic:

  • Cambridgeshire : a new multiplex combining the existing Cambridge and Peterborough multiplex

  • East Anglia : a new multiplex extending the coverage of the existing Norwich multiplex

  • Essex : multiplex coverage to remain identical

  • Home Counties : proposed Herts, Beds and Bucks and existing Northamptonshire multiplexes to be combined

  • East Midlands : proposed Derbyshire local radio multiplex and the two existing multiplexes covering Leicestershire and Northamptonshire are to be combined

  • East Riding and Lincolnshire : proposed Lincolnshire local radio multiplex and the existing Humberside multiplex to be combined

  • London : multiplex arrangement to remain identical

  • North-East England : Teeside and Tyne & Wear multiplexes to be combined

  • Lancashire & Cumbria : Two existing local multiplexes serving the area to be combined into one and extended to cover Morecambe Bay

  • Liverpool : multiplex arrangement to remain identical

  • Manchester : multiplex arrangement to remain identical

  • Northern Ireland : multiplex arrangement to remain identical

  • Edinburgh & the Borders : existing Edinburgh multiplex extended to cover the Scottish Borders

  • Glasgow and South-West Scotland : existing Glasgow and Ayr multiplexes combined and extended to cover the South-West

  • Northern Scotland : existing Aberdeen, Inverness and Perth & Dundee multiplexes combined and extended to cover a high percentage of the population of Northern Scotland

  • Solent : stations on the Bournemouth and South Hants multiplexes would be combined and coverage area extended into west Dorset and parts of Wiltshire

  • Surrey and Sussex : proposed Surrey and north Sussex multiplex would combine with existing Brighton & Hove (West Sussex) multiplex

  • Thames Valley : Oxfordshire's proposed local DAB multiplex would combine with the one for Reading & Basingstoke, currently on air

  • Kent : Kent's multiplex configuration would remain the same, but the coverage would be extended throughout the county, subject to agreement with French authorities

  • South-West of England : A super-multiplex taking in both Exeter & Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall local multiplexes and extending to north Devon.

  • North Wales : A combined multiplex taking in the upcoming North Wales and North-East Wales and West Chester local digital radio multiplexes with overlap from the Mid and West Wales multiplex.

  • West Wales : Swansea's existing DAB multiplex will be combined with the proposed multiplex for Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire and extended to mid Wales.

  • South Wales : Cardiff's existing radio multiplex could be extended into the valleys.

  • West of England : Bristol and Bath & West Wiltshire's multiplexes would be rationalised and combined with the proposed Somerset local radio multiplex.

  • Wiltshire : The two separate multiplexes for Swindon and west Wiltshire would be combined to serve the whole area.

  • Birmingham and Warwickshire : Local multiplexes serving the two areas (Coventry and Birmingham) would be combined and extended

  • South West Midlands : Two proposed local multiplexes serving the three counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire would be merged into one before launch

  • Stoke-on-Trent : the local multiplex arrangement would remain the same

  • Wolverhampton & Shropshire : the local multiplex arrangement of Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury & Telford would remain the same

  • North Yorkshire : the coverage area for the forthcoming local multiplex arrangement for North Yorkshire would remain roughly the same

  • South Yorkshire : the local multiplex arrangement would remain the same

  • West Yorkshire : the two separate local multiplexes serving Bradford & Huddersfield and Leeds would be merged into one


Some regional stations involved in the proposed shake-up of DAB multiplexes, such as Heart, Galaxy, Real Radio, Smooth Radio, Kiss and Kerrang, The Wave and The Coast might switch to greater regional coverage on a new, second digital radio multiplex, the licence for which was originally awarded to 4DigitalGroup. 4DigitalGroup abandoned its plans to launch the commercial multiplex in 2008, leaving the spectrum free for use in any DAB digital radio replan.

UK local digital radio multiplex areas

Proposed local DAB digital radio multiplex areas

Existing local and regional DAB digital radio multiplex areas

Existing local and regional DAB digital radio multiplex areas


                           

Related links:
find local and regional radio stations, on this website.
national BBC DAB radio stations, on this website.
national commercial radio stations, on this website.
buy DAB digital radios online
guide to DAB digital radio, on this website.
Ofcom's proposed local area definition for revised multiplexes
Ofcom's list of proposed areas for DAB multiplex rearrangement

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