We officially launched the multiplex today at events in Wrexham and Liverpool. Here’s the press release that accompanied the launch:
DIGITAL RADIO BOOST FOR WREXHAM, CHESTER AND LIVERPOOL
Today at Wrexham Football Ground, local politicians Ian Lucas MP and Lesley Griffiths AM switched on two new DAB digital radio transmitters for the Wrexham and Chester area, meanwhile in Liverpool, Juice FM’s Ian and Leanne turned on the transmitter at St John’s Beacon. The switch-on means that 2.2 million people in North East Wales, West Cheshire and Liverpool can now listen to BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Real Radio Wales, Nation Radio, Juice FM and Dee on DAB on DAB digital radio for the first time.
Nation Radio, Real Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales and Juice FM are currently available on FM and are launching on DAB in the area for the first time, while Dee on DAB is a new service being launched by Chester-based Dee 106.3. To receive the new stations, listeners with digital radios may have to re-tune their sets – find out more at getdigitalradio.com/retune
The switch-on was marked by a unique collaboration between public and commercial broadcasters, with BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales, Juice FM, Nation Radio and Dee on DAB, at the home of Wrexham FC and at Juice FMs studios. The switch-on also means that listeners will be able to follow Wrexham FC on DAB in the area for the first time on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, as they battle to regain their Football League status.
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, who hosted the event, said: “This is great news for 2 million people across the Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool areas as until now they have not been able receive all their favourite local stations on DAB.”
Ian Lucas MP said: “As the town’s MP I’ve pushed for better radio coverage for Wrexham, so I’m honoured to be switching on the new digital radio transmitters today. This is excellent news for radio and football lovers in the area who will now be able to enjoy coverage of the top local matches in digital quality sound for the first time.”
Assembly Member for Wrexham, Lesley Griffiths said: “Boosting local coverage for Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool means the excellent range of local DAB digital radio stations can be received by even more listeners, at home, at work and in their car.”
The 3 new transmitters at Wrexham Rhos, Moel-y-Parc and St John’s Beacon take local digital radio coverage from zero to 74.3% of households, and bring the local DAB stations and the national BBC services for Wales on DAB digital radio to the area for the first time. Coverage for local and national services in Wales will be further expanded as Muxco will also be launching DAB services this year in Mid and West Wales, with North Wales to follow soon.
Local road coverage is also improved, adding hundreds of miles of roads into local DAB coverage for the first time. Digital radios are increasingly becoming available in cars and according to new industry data 35% of all new cars now have digital radio as standard. A third of all new Toyota vehicles, whose engine manufacturing plant is located at Deeside in North Wales, has digital radio as standard.
Digital radio in NE Wales and West Cheshire is popular with over 35% of homes having a DAB radio but until now listeners have been unable to listen to all their favourite local radio stations and the BBC’s national radio stations for Wales on DAB. The importance of local radio stations to listeners has been shown in research carried out by the radio industry regulator, Ofcom. Listeners can check which stations they can receive by inputting their postcode at getdigitalradio.com
This switch-on comes as Government announce they will make a decision on digital radio switchover later in 2013. Digital listening in the UK represented 33% of all listening in Q4 2012 and in 2012 UK digital radio sales reached the second highest level ever with over 2 million sets sold. A cumulative total of 17 million digital radio sets has been sold to date in the UK.
The radio industry communications campaign featuring digital radio evangelist D Love, who encourages everyone to spread the love for digital radio, is currently on air on BBC TV, BBC radio and commercial radio.
Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring these services to digital radio in Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool. Research has shown how much people value their local radio stations, so we hope this will make a big difference to the digital radio listening experience in the area. We’ve also got exciting plans for further new radio stations over the coming months.”
Steve Austins, Editor of BBC Radio Wales, said: “We’re always looking to improve the way our listeners are able to receive BBC Radio Wales, so I’m delighted that we’re now available on digital radio in north east Wales. Today is Radio Wales Music Day – a celebration of the best of new Welsh talent – so we’re particularly pleased that listeners in this area will be able to hear this and all our programmes on their DAB radios.”
Lowri Davies, Editor, General Programmes for BBC Radio Cymru, said: “We’re delighted that BBC Radio Cymru is now available on digital radio in Wrexham and across most of north east Wales. We know that our listeners want to be able to listen to Welsh language content across all platforms, so today is a significant step forward.”
Graham Sarath, Station Director Juice FM said: “Boosting local coverage for Liverpool means the excellent range of local DAB digital radio stations can be received by even more listeners, at home, at work and in their car. It gives Juice listeners the opportunity to hear the station on another platform and one which I’m sure they’ll enjoy.”