Digital Radio in Manchester

We’ve put out this press release this morning about our desire for Ofcom to advertise another local multiplex for Manchester.

DAB Digital Radio has had a great few years with both increased listening and a strong demand for capacity from existing and new operators. We’ve been supportive of the small scale DAB trial – which has also shown demand from community and other operators to broadcast to limited geographies.

We believe that there’s also demand for additional traditionally-sized commercial multiplexes in places where there are large numbers of listeners, but a lack of space for new entrants who want robust city-wide coverage. We’re encouraging Ofcom to make more spectrum available.

If you agree – please tell us, by emailing manchester@muxco.com.

MuxCo looks to Ofcom to advertise a second Manchester-wide multiplex

MuxCo, one of the UK’s largest operators of local DAB digital radio multiplexes, has announced today (8th December) it is seeking to launch an additional Manchester multiplex to complement the city’s current multiplex operated by CE Digital.

MuxCo – which runs the adjacent Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex – is talking to Ofcom, MPs and the radio industry about why a second commercial Manchester multiplex should be advertised. Its three shareholders have agreed to work together towards a new Manchester DAB multiplex. They already operate a number of analogue and digital stations in the North West and also provide services to the small scale Manchester trial multiplex. If advertised and awarded to MuxCo, a second Manchester multiplex would enjoy economies of scale to aid scale and affordability for new local services in the city.

The MuxCo philosophy is about engaging local operators with digital radio, as both shareholders and service providers. The MuxCo Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex currently provides eight local commercial services – six of which are new to the area or extensions of community services – alongside the two Welsh services from the BBC. The multiplex is supportive of DAB+, with three services currently broadcasting in stereo using that technology.

Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo, says “Manchester is a thriving media market and its current multiplex is full. It is inequitable that whilst London has three local multiplexes offering a fantastic array of stations, Manchester has just the one city-wide multiplex. We already have enough interested operators to comfortably make a second Manchester multiplex viable”.

Jason Bryant, Executive Chairman of Nation Broadcasting said; “Competitive media markets such as Manchester are important to Nation Broadcasting’s future strategy. The current Manchester multiplex is full and its current operator has no ambition to upgrade to DAB+, stifling innovation. A second city wide multiplex would open up competition for local businesses and provide listeners with a fresh variety of new services”.

Dee 106.3 Director Chris Hurst said “Manchester did have two multiplexes – with the original MXR North West multiplex and the citywide one. It is a fact that choice has actually reduced for listeners and prospective radio operators and we want to fill the market gap that clearly exists”.

December Changes

A few changes to the networks before Christmas – one station change and two transmitter additions.

Yesterday (1st December) we re-added Chris Country to the Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex. The station was inundated with comments from listeners when it came off earlier in the year, so we’re pleased to be able to have added it back on.

After the 9th December we’ll be adding two new transmitters to the network.

In Somerset we’ll be adding Coker Hill which will help to cover Yeovil better and in Suffolk we’ll be adding Felixstowe to the network.

As always with transmitter additions, dates are difficult to to know exactly as there’s lots of inter-related factors, as well as the vagaries of the British weather!

 

 

Surrey Addition

We’re pleased to have added another radio station to the Surrey multiplex this morning – Encore Radio!

For the first time, Encore Radio brings popular songs from musicals and films to the UK. It launches officially on Monday 24th October at 1pm.

Suffolk Launch

Suffolk Launch

This morning, 7th October, we officially launched the Suffolk multiplex with local MP and digital Minister Matt Hancock at Ixworth Primary School near Bury St Edmunds.

It was a great morning, with representatives from all of the stations (Heart East Anglia, Smooth Radio, BBC Radio Suffolk, Chris Country, Suffolk First and Fun Kids) appearing at the event. We also broadcast into Heart’s breakfast show, whilst BBC Radio Suffolk broadcast the launch live.

These events are important, as the station Breakfast show reach is strong, and it acts as a good focus for local press coverage too – all designed to encourage listeners to retune their digital radio.

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said:
“It’s great to see the continued rollout of DAB digital radio across the UK. Suffolk is served by a good variety of local stations, and I’m delighted that a further 425,000 listeners across Suffolk will now be able to hear these important and well-loved stations on digital radio”

Pip Whiteside, Head teacher, Ixworth CEVC Primary, said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have hosted such an exciting occasion for the county at our school and to have welcomed our local MP and Suffolk’s local stations. The pupils have loved the big green switch and finding out more about digital radio, especially a station that’s just for them.”

Peter Cook, Editor, BBC Radio Suffolk, said:
“This is wonderful news. We’ve waited a long time for local DAB to reach Suffolk and now it’s here it means there’s one more way that listeners can tune in to our local presenters, delivering the news, sport and fun that they love.”

Adam Newstead, Managing Editor, Heart East Anglia, said:
“Heart is the nation’s most popular commercial radio station and we are looking forward to bringing listeners in Suffolk more feel-good music on DAB digital radio.”

Michael Betton, CEO, LincsFM, said:
“We are delighted to be launching Suffolk First, a brand new station for Suffolk’s listeners, bringing them a mixture of country and contemporary music as well as local information for the county.”

Chris Stevens, Founder, Chris Country Radio, said:
“I’m absoutely thrilled to add Suffolk to the growing list of places in the UK that can now enjoy Chis Country’s 24-hour mix of American and British country music on DAB digital radio.”

Matt Deegan, Creative Director, Fun Kids, said:
“Today’s news means that kids across Suffolk will be able to tune into their only dedicated radio station – Fun Kids – and what better place to switch-on the new digital transmitters in Suffolk than Ixworth Primary School.”

Gregory Watson, Managing Director, MuxCo Suffolk, said:
“I am delighted that we have been able to bring local DAB digital radio to Suffolk. We’re proud of our role in expanding local DAB coverage and enabling new radio services to serve the county.”

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said:
“Suffolk has a great variety of local digital stations so it’s great news that a further 425,000 listeners will now be able to enjoy all their favourite local stations on DAB digital radio for the first time, as well as new stations broadening choice.”

Suffolk DAB Starts

Our final local multiplex, in Suffolk, will start test transmissions on Friday 30th September 2016 before it’s official launch on the 7th October.

It will broadcast six radio stations to around 400,000 people. These will include:

  • BBC Radio Suffolk
  • Heart
  • Smooth Radio
  • Chris Country
  • Fun Kids
  • Suffolk First (a new service from Lincs FM)

All stations will broadcast in “original flavour” DAB.

Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo says: “We’re excited to be activiating our 10th MuxCo-branded multiplex in Suffolk at the end of the month. We’re already broadcasting over 60 radio stations to millions of people across the network and we’re looking forward to bringing local DAB to another county”.

There’s more information in our Suffolk section.

Further August 2016 Changes

It continues to be a busy month in August for the network.

This week we have updated Jack and Jack 2 on our Surrey multiplex to broadcast in the newer flavour of DAB Digital Radio – DAB+. This will mean that older radios may lose the service, or see it described as ‘Unavailable’.

To hear DAB+ services you need a modern tick-mark enabled digital radio.

On our North Wales multiplex we’re also pleased to have added Capital Cymru, the Welsh-language variant of Capital FM. With new transmitters launching in North Wales, there’s never been a better time for it to join the line up.

August Transmission

August is a busy month across our multiplexes. Not only are we adding services, we’ll also be adding additional transmitters to the network at the following locations:

On Herefordshire & Worcestershire:

  • Hereford
  • Kidderminster

On North Wales

  • Holyhead South Stack Road
  • Amlwch
  • Llanddona
  • Gwaenysgor (S)
  • Penmaen Rhos

Later in September we’ll be adding High Hunsley to our Lincolnshire network.

These additional transmitters should re-enforce coverage for existing listeners as well as growing the areas that we broadcast to.

As with all transmission work a number of things can conspire to delay implementation (weather, technical access etc) but we’re positive that they’ll all be on in the coming weeks.