Author Archives: Matt

More choice for listeners as local digital radio launches in the Channel Islands

Listeners in the Channel Islands are waking up to a digital radio revolution as local DAB digital radio is switched on for the very first time across Jersey and Guernsey.

The Islands’ DAB digital transmitters went live this weekend from Les Platons in Jersey and Les Touillets in Guernsey, broadcasting alongside the BBC’s existing national DAB transmitters, and bringing a huge expansion in radio listening choice.

Over 20 additional stations are now available across the Channel Islands, on what is now the busiest local multiplex in the British Isles. These include Heart, Capital, Smooth and Virgin, bringing famous voices such as Jamie Theakston & Amanda Holden, Roman Kemp and Chris Evans to the Islands via a free-to-air terrestrial broadcast platform; existing FM favourites BBC Radio Jersey and BBC Radio Guernsey, Channel 103 and Island FM; and additional new services from multiplex owner Nation Broadcasting, including the Islands’ only dedicated decades stations, Nation 70s, Nation 80s and Nation 90s.

The new DAB network will broadcast all services in DAB+, an upgraded and more efficient version of DAB that enables a greater number of stations to be broadcast, and is the first of its kind to launch fully in DAB+, delivering a greater range of choice with more services than any of the UK’s equivalent local multiplexes. To listen to the services via the new DAB+ network, Islanders will need a DAB+ enabled digital radio or for those services previously available on the Channel Islands, they can continue to listen by their existing means.

Listeners in Jersey, Guernsey, Herm, Sark and Alderney will receive the new network thanks to three new transmitters located in Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney covering 82% of the population and 93% of roads. Whilst the transmitters in Jersey and Guernsey have launched today, the Alderney transmitter will launch later in the year. Islanders can confirm that they are in coverage of the new network by checking their postcode at www.getdigitalradio.com and may need to retune their digital radios to receive the stations on DAB+ for the first time

Islanders will be able to enjoy new local services Soleil Radio, Bailiwick 1 and Bailiwick 2, in addition to their existing local favourites like BBC Radio Jersey, BBC Radio Guernsey, Channel 103 and Island FM, alongside some of the UK’s most popular commercial radio stations, including Heart, Capital, Nation Radio, Virgin Radio, Times Radio and talkSPORT.

Jason Bryant, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Channel Islands multiplex parent company, Nation Broadcasting, said: “Digital radio has always meant more choice and we’re delighted to be offering such a great line up of famous radio brands, existing local favourites and innovative new local services to the Channel Islands.”

Chris Burns, Head of Local BBC Radio, said: “For more than ten years the BBC has been broadcasting its national services on DAB to Channel Islands audiences, and we are delighted to be finally bringing BBC Radio Jersey and BBC Radio Guernsey in digital broadcast quality as well. We know how fantastically popular these services are and no doubt audiences will be delighted to have the choice of digital alongside FM.”

James Keen, Station Director, Tindle Radio, said: “We’re excited to bring the Channel Islands’ most popular stations Channel 103 and Island FM to digital radio. We know listeners love our music and the local news both services provide and now they can listen in digital quality. Plus we’re thrilled to be launching our new station Soleil Radio, the Channel Islands best place to relax. Favourite stations and new choices – it’s an exciting time for radio here in the Channel Islands!”

Capital Breakfast’s Roman Kemp, said: “We’re so excited to bring Capital to a new audience in the Channel Islands and welcome our new listeners on DAB! Listeners can expect shows jam packed with their favourite hits and exclusive interviews with the world’s biggest artists.”

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “The launch of the Channel Islands digital radio network is great news for listeners as it brings over 20 further stations to the Channel Islands on DAB+ for the first time. Radio station brands such as Virgin Radio, Heart, Smooth, Capital and Nation are among the very best broadcasting in the UK, while local stations BBC Radio Jersey, BBC Radio Guernsey, Channel 103 and Island FM have their finger on the pulse of life on the Islands today. This is a great time for Islanders to buy a new digital radio or smart speaker to make sure they don’t miss a thing from the great new line up of stations now on air on digital radio in the Channel Islands.”

MuxCo Awarded Morecambe Bay Multiplex Licence

We’re pleased that Ofcom have today, 18th December, announced that MuxCo Cumbria Ltd has been awarded the local digital radio multiplex licence for Morecambe Bay.

In the application we talk about launching the multiplex within twelve months of a successful award. We would hope to launch sooner, if possible, but this multiplex requires some new builds for our transmission partner, so we may have to use the full time.

Capacity has been allocated to accommodate existing local analogue services from launch – BBC Radio CumbriaHeart and Smooth. Six other services were also part of our application: Bay Radio, CandoFM and Bay Trust Radio alongside Fun Kids JuniorChris Country Radio and Capital.

Managing Director of MuxCo, Gregory Watson says: “We’re excited to bring local digital radio to the Morecambe Bay area and especially happy that the multiplex will combine local stations, community stations, popular digital services and new stations too”.

If you’re interested in joining the multiplex, please do get in touch.

RAJAR reports increased DAB reach and listening

RAJAR has today released audience research for the Quarter ended March 2012 and its great to see further strong growth in digital radio listening.

Key headlines for RAJAR are:

  • 45% of the population has tuned in via any Digital platform
  • 22.1 million adults have access to a DAB receiver up 12% year on year
  • For the first time there has been more than 200 million hours recorded for DAB listening

Listening to radio via a digital platform in terms of weekly reach has increased by 5% year on year, with 23.5 million people now tuning in to radio via a digitally enabled receiver (DAB, DTV, internet) each week (up  from 22.3 million in Q1 2011).

The share of all radio listening via a digital platform is now 29.2% (against 26.5% in 2011), with DAB’s share increasing by 15% to 19.1% of all listening (16.7% in 2011).

The share of all listening through DTV is now 4.4%, with Internet’s share at 3.9%.

 

Would you like to broadcast on DAB?

As we develop our launch plans for the new multiplexes, if you are interested in providing a service on any multiplex, please let us know.

We have a MuxCo Service Provider Questionaire, which can be downloaded from this page.

The application process is:

  1. All applicants must complete the attached questionnaire.
  2. Only valid and completed application form will be assessed. Further information may be sought to assist in the evaluation of applications.
  3. Applications which we wish to enter a contract with, will be contacted as to this fact and will be sent a draft contract.
  4. Before entering into any contract, we will wish to seek confirmation of the following:
  • Sight of a valid DSPS licence
  • Confirmation of the applicant’s ability to pay the fees detailed in the contract. This would involve confirmation from a bank or financial adviser, and sight of a business plan.

Muxco Service Provider Questionnaire

Click here for more information about being service provider

The Digital Economy Act

Digital Economy Act
Summary of Radio Clauses

The Digital Economy Act entered Statute on 9th April

Like all legislation, the Act is incredibly complex, and like all radio legislation it is pretty impenetrable, not least because it does not simply set out a new framework, but instead amends three previous pieces of legislation to achieve its objectives (the 1990, 1996 and 2003 Acts).

Clause 30 – Digital Switchover
This clause sets the framework for digital radio switchover. It is an ‘empowering’ clause in that it allows the Secretary of State to set a date, but does not require one to be set, or
indicate when the date might be. The details of the clause are as follows:

  • The Secretary of State may set a date for digital switchover. There may be different dates for different services.  This is good news: the power rests with the Secretary of State, not Ofcom, and there can be different dates for different services.
  • Having set a date, the date may be withdrawn. An alternative date may then be set.
  • When deciding what date to set, the SofS must have regard to a report submitted by Ofcom or the BBC. That report must consider current and future: provision of digital services, coverage and digital set ownership. It must also involve consultation with all sectors of the industry as well as wider stakeholders including groups representing listeners.
  • Once the SofS has set a date, Ofcom must shorten the analogue licence of any service which will be part of the switchover process so that the licence end date is the same as the switchover date. At least two years notice must be given (unless the licence holder consents).

Clause 35 – Local radio multiplex services: frequency and licensed area
This clause is important as it gives Ofcom important flexibility to facilitate any changes that the industry might want to make to the local multiplex layer.

  • Ofcom may change the frequency of a local multiplex licence and may reduce/extend its licensed area.
  • However, it must first have received an application from the licence holder. The licence holder must have submitted a technical plan.
  • Ofcom must consult before granting its approval, and may only consent to this if it does not unacceptably narrow the range of programmes available.

Clause 36 – Renewal of radio multiplex licences
This clause allows a further rollover for multiplex licences. It does so by setting a framework to allow a new piece of (secondary) legislation to be brought forward.

  • The new piece of legislation may grant a rollover for a multiplex licence. It may also set out how long the roll-over is for, and other licence conditions.
  • The powers to bring forward this piece of secondary legislation expire at the end of 2015.

Follow the progress of the Bill at services.parliament.uk/digitaleconomy

MuxCo updates plans for a New DAB Digital Radio Multiplex serving Liverpool, Cheshire and North Wales

MuxCo updates plans for its new DAB Digital Radio multiplex that will serve Liverpool, Cheshire and North Wales.

Using transmitters at Moel-y-Parc, Wrexham Rhos and St.John’s Beacon, the multiplex will serve around 1.4m adults (15+) and enabling a range of existing and new services to broadcast in digital.

The multiplex will carry BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, 107.6 Juice FM and Dee 106.3, allowing these existing services to both broadcast in digital quality and be heard by a wider audience than can currently hear them on analogue. In addition, the multiplex will carry a number of new services, only available on DAB Digital Radio. These will include Traffic Radio, a 24/7 traffic news and information service from the Highways Agency, a new music service from Town & Country Broadcasting and a range of data services from Folder Media.

The multiplex has opportunities for additional radio services to join this exciting multiplex.

MuxCo is currently finalising its contract with Arqiva, with proposals for the multiplex to launch in the second half of 2010.

More news to follow soon.

MuxCo welcomes the findings of the Digital Radio Working Group

The Digital Radio Working Group (‘DRWG’) has today (19 Dec 2008) published its final report on the status and strategy for digital radio.

In the UK, 31.4% of all adults every week currently listen to radio via a digital radio platform, and this results in the digital platforms having a total share of all radio listening of 18.7% (Rajar Q3 2008).  DAB is and is set to remain the principal digital radio platform – 8m sets sold to date, and DAB accounts for over 11% of total listening.

MuxCo agrees with the DRWG that a radio-specific broadcast platform is an essential part of radio’s future and that “DAB, unlike both DTT and the internet, is the most effective and financially viable way of delivering digital radio, particularly large local radio services, for the foreseeable future”.

We welcome the DRWG’s suggestions for a migration path which would be triggered by at least 50% of total radio listening is to digital platforms, and that the DRWG believe this could be achieved between 2015 and 2020.

Gregory Watson, MD at MuxCo, says “It is great news that the Digital Radio Working Group, and its members which include the BBC, Radiocentre and DRDB, has reaffirmed its commitment to the development of a sustainable and successful digital future for radio.    Today’s announcement gives us even more comfort with the development of DAB.  We look forward to the publication of the Government’s Digital Britain Report in early 2009, and urge Government and Ofcom to consider the recommendations set out in the DRWG report”.

The full DRWG report can be downloaded http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/publications/5700.aspx

The Eagle has Landed

Sorry to all those film buffs who thought I might do a review of the excellent 1976 film.  However, I really wanted to talk about the 96.4 variety and landed a slot on local DAB.  Today MuxCo, working with UKRD Group, has submitted an application for the Surrey & North Sussex multiplex.  Whilst we won’t be featuring Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland or Donald Pleasence, the multiplex will feature the heritage stations of County Sound, Mercury FM and BBC Southern Counties Radio, as well as 96.4 Eagle Radio.

This is MuxCo’s tenth application – and what a busy year it has been.  However, we remain true to our beliefs of enabling DAB expansion in an efficient and viable manner.  We continue to ensure a wide variety of new choice is carried.  NME Radio will provide a new perspective on the rock scene, whilst Easy Radio’s easy listening mix will now be available to a significantly larger audience across the Home Counties.  Shuffle is a new service for the area comprising music and listener-generated content for teenagers and young adults, whilst Traffic Radio will provide an up to date traffic and travel service.  If successful with our bid, we would hope to make some further announcements of additional services before our proposed launch.

Onwards and upwards, and now down the M4 and M5 to Somerset.

Nicky Tate to Manage MuxCo Multiplexes

We were also pleased to announce last week that Nicky Tate is to join MuxCo parent company, Folder Media, as Operations Manager.

Folder Media manages the MuxCo multiplexes on behalf of the different shareholders and Nicky will, as such, take on the mantle as Multiplex Manager for the network.

Nicky’s an incredibly experienced Multiplex Manager having run GCap’s NOWdigital network since its inception and we’re very exicted about her joining the team. We’ll have to get her to blog soon!