Upload Radio allows anyone to create hour long radio shows and broadcast them on DAB Digital Radio, online and mobile. It’s the world’s first self-service broadcast radio station. Upload’s technology allows listeners to register at uploadradio.com, upload episodes and buy time-slots to broadcast their work.
Upload Radio’s Matt Deegan: “The last few years has seen an explosion in individuals creating great audio – particularly in podcast form – but it’s been hard for many people to be discovered and build an audience and nearly impossible for them to get on the radio. We’ve built Upload Radio to give everyone the chance to get on millions of radios as well as having their shows available to catchup online too”.
Upload Radio in its three DAB areas broadcasts a different local schedule.
Interested parties are invited to answer this questionnaire, after which we will discuss opportunities to contract for capacity for up to 28 days on each available multiplex.
Please fill in the questionnaire by 5pm on 31st March 2014
All contracts for capacity are subject to the availability of suitable capacity on each multiplex. If there are multiple expressions of interest, and more demand for capacity than is available, we will select services on the basis of ability to enter a standard carriage contract rather than first come basis.
We intend to notify interest parties in April.
Any questionnaire submissions that are received after the date specified above, will still be considered for a licence, but subject to capacity availability.
The fee to broadcast on any of the multiplexes will be £2,000+VAT for the 28 days, subject to contract, and you will be required to get your signal to the multiplex centre (which we can describe in more detail after submission of the form).
All successful service providers are reminded that they will need to hold the necessary DSP licence from Ofcom and comply with the requirements of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, in particular if they wish to broadcast charity appeals and must take reasonable steps to satisfy itself that the charity appeal organisation concerned can produce satisfactory evidence of charitable status, or, in the case of an emergency appeal, that a responsible public fund has been set up to deal with it. Further details can be found at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/commercial-references-radio/.
A blurry camera phone picture of Gregory from MuxCo (left) and David Peters from Arqiva (right) at today’s planning meeting.
We have these catch-ups every month to review current projects and to plan further multiplexes. In the picture, Gregory is looking at one of many potential options for the North West Wales multiplex.
This month the big topics were the progress on Gloucester’s next two transmitters, our Bromsgrove transmitter for Herefordshire & Worcestershire and installations for Surrey. Surrey is looking good at the moment and we’re in the process of rolling out contingencies in Gloucestershire and H&W as we continue to be let down by BT. All should hopefully be on this year, before Arqiva’s network freeze at Christmas.
Looking to future multiplexes we spent some time exploring the various options for North Wales and the cost-implications of decisions in Somerset.
On Friday 18 October, Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood and Gloucester rugby star Nick Wood will officially switch on two new DAB digital radio transmitters, giving over 400,000 listeners new local stations on DAB in the Gloucestershire area. The switch-on means listeners will be able to receive 4 local radio stations – BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Gold, Heart and Sunshine Radio for the first time on DAB digital radio.
To receive the new services, listeners with digital radios may have to re-tune their sets. Find out more at getdigitalradio.com/retune.
The big switch-on takes place at the iconic Grade 1-listed Pittville Pump Rooms in Cheltenham. The two new transmitters at Churchdown Hill and Stockend Wood take local digital radio coverage for these stations from zero to over 400,000 listeners in the area, and add over 450km of roads into DAB coverage for the first time. A further two transmitters will be launched in Cirencester and Icombe Hill towards the end of the year, improving coverage even further.
In the last 10 months build-out of DAB digital radio has brought local DAB coverage to over 5 million people for the first time, taking local DAB population coverage from 66% to 72%. By the end of this year, local DAB will have been made available to an additional 6.5 million listeners across the UK.
This switch-on comes the same week that the BBC announced plans to add 162 new digital radio transmitters to improve national DAB coverage for its national network stations. This expansion to more than 97% of the population will include two new transmitters in Gloucestershire.
Government has said they will make a decision on radio switchover at the end of 2013. In Gloucestershire, 51% of homes have a DAB digital radio – ahead of the UK as a whole, and in Q2 2013, 37.9% of radio listening was digital. A cumulative total of 18 million digital radio sets has been sold to date in the UK, including DAB radios and internet radios. 41.5% of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT Sept 2013).
Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham, said: “Gloucestershire is way ahead on digital radio, with over half of us having a digital radio at home. I’m really pleased that the new DAB transmitters mean that our excellent local radio stations can now be received on digital radio at home and in their car.”
Nick Wood, Gloucester Rugby star, ahead of the team’s game against Munster on Saturday, said: “It is brilliant that all the Gloucester Rugby matches will now be broadcast in crystal clear quality on DAB digital radio. As a sports fan, I love the fact that digital offers such a great choice of sports content on the radio.”
Nathan Sykes, from the band The Wanted, [pictured] said: “Growing up in Gloucestershire, music and radio was so important to me. I am really pleased that from today people can listen to their favourite shows on DAB digital radio.”
Jane Ostler, Director of Digital Radio UK, said: “This is great news for over 400,000 people in Gloucestershire as until now they have not been able to receive their favourite local stations on DAB. Boosting coverage for this area means listeners can tune into their favourite local stations as well as national BBC and commercial ones.”
Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo said: “We are committed to extending digital coverage through local transmitters across the UK and this switch-on, which gives 400,000 listeners access to our stations on DAB, is another important step for our industry.”
Mark Jones, Editor of BBC Radio Gloucestershire, said: “We are delighted that BBC Radio Gloucestershire will be available on DAB for the first time. It brings improved reception to many parts of the county and gives us the opportunity to offer our full range of programmes in digital quality. As well as our radio programmes, the latest news, sport weather and travel information will also scroll across listeners DAB radio sets. We are delighted to say that commentary from every Gloucester Rugby game – domestic and European, home & away -will be available on DAB.”
Marcus Langreiter of Global Radio said: “We’re excited to be able to bring both Heart and Gold to digital radio in Gloucestershire. We know our listeners love the great music we play, and now they can listen in digital quality.”
Ginny Murfin from Sunshine Radio said: “It’s great that Sunshine Radio will be available to listeners on DAB for the first time, bringing local news and music to our listeners, with the digital benefits of easy tuning and scrolling information.”
Today we’ve just started test transmissions for our Gloucestershire multiplex, in preparation for the official launch on the 18th October.
This is a week or so later than we have recently blogged about. We’re also not testing the Herefordshire and Worcestershire multiplex, which we had previously mentioned we were planning to have on air at the same time. I just wanted to provide an update about why this is the case.
In some previous updates we’ve talked about some issues with BT. The way the multiplexes work is that we hook up stations to our network by putting in special lines into their studios. These are often special versions of broadband that guarantee certain bandwidth levels that means we will always receive their signals. These all come into our transmission provider’s multiplex centre and are wrapped together into a multiplex feed, this is then sent by telecoms lines to each of the transmitters.
Quite often transmitter locations are in the middle of nowhere, so our options for getting lines (and our signals) into the areas are quite limited. BT, as the UK’s legacy network provider, are often the only people that have the right connectivity to deliver our services. If they have problems or delays there’s often very little that we can do but wait.
And that’s the issue. BT currently have significant network issues that are affecting connectivity for our multiplexes in Mid and West Wales, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
To get Mid and West Wales and Gloucestershire on-air we have had to think somewhat creatively to get around these BT issues. So, both of these multiplexes are currently being fed by satellite. We’ve installed equipment at the multiplex centre to take the multiplex signal send it up to a satellite and then installed dishes at the transmitter sites to downlink the signal to get it to the transmitters.
As we are hopeful that this is only a temporary solution we are using existing equipment from Arqiva to achieve this somewhat over-engineered solution. Our issue with Herefordshire and Worcestershire is that we have now used all their ‘spare’ equipment on the other two multiplexes so can’t deploy the same solution for Hertfordshire and Worcestershire.
We’re working with BT to try and fix the connectivity at one of the three sites so we can either feed Herefordshire and Worcestershire direct or use some satellite equipment released from getting direct feeds online to M&WW or Gloucestershire.
To say we’re frustrated about these delays is a massive understatement. We’re having discussions at the highest levels of Arqiva and BT to get back on track.
Also, please remember that the Gloucestershire tests are just that – tests. This means that there may well be downtime for the multiplex or individual services between now and launch.
Test “Barker” channels will be running in the next few days and full channels should be audible around the 30th September 2013.
The launch transmitters will cover approximately 67% of the coverage area, equating to around 450 thousand households. The plan is to launch an additional two transmitters at Icomb Hill and Cirencester in December 2013 to increase this to 92.9% or 616 thousand households (Outdoor Mobile measurement). The technical work is on track for these second phase transmitters but they may be subject to the BT distribution delays which are still affecting some of our multiplexes.
More information about the line-up and coverage maps are here:
Some news about our Gloucestershire and Herefordshire & Worcestershire multiplexes.
We have been backwards and forwards a bit with these multiplexes. They were initially advertised and awarded as two separate areas. We then explored with Ofcom the opportunity to simulcast a mutiplex across two areas, which, in the early years, would provide the best coverage of local listeners’ favourite stations.
Since then, as part of Ofcom’s digital radio working group, we’ve been working on both the launch configuration and also the roll-out plan of more transmitters across the licence term. Whilst doing this work, it was announced that MXR would be handing back many of their licences over the next two years. This has now prompted Ofcom to re-distribute MXR frequencies to some local multiplexes.
This has meant another re-plan of our networks as new frequencies change the interference we will generate and also receive from other networks.
We have therefore decided to launch two separate multiplexes, with separate line-ups.
The Gloucestershire multiplex is currently scheduled to begin test transmissions in June this year. The Herefordshire and Worcestershire multiplex is going to use the MXR West Midlands frequency (and indeed their Bromsgrove transmitter) so will launch at a point shortly after their licence has been handed back to Ofcom. We expect our tests to start in September 2013.
Even though Gregory tried to send me out of the room as I am apparently ‘cursed’ when i’m in the office on award days, MuxCo Gloucestershire Ltd has been awarded the DAB Digital Radio multiplex licence for Gloucestershire!
We are very pleased, especially for the common service providers who are on both Hereford & Worcestershire and Gloucestershire as it gives them great coverage for their stations over the entire area.
I think it’s sometimes easy to get distracted by the announcements from the big boys about DAB investment. However this and the other recent awards to MuxCo shows that a great deal of the smaller operators in the radio industry are very committed to the platform. Up to now DAB has been out of reach of many of these small operators, but now as owner-operators, they can invest in the platform and reap the benefits of growing their audience and coverage.
We agreed at lunch that Gloucestershire was application number seven for MuxCo. It’s been an interesting one to do, partly because of its proximity to Hereford and Worcester which Ofcom awarded to MuxCo last month. In fact, we think it provides a great opportunity for the stations that broadcast on both multiplexes as it grows the coverage that we’ve already planned. For example if you look at Gloucestershire on its own then we’ve said we’ll provide 78.5% coverage, but when you add in the overlap coverage from the Hereford and Worcester multiplex, the coverage within Gloucestershire increases to 92.2%.
We think this is great news for common services (like Easy Radio, Shuffle, Smithy Rock, Local Live, UCB and Traffic Radio) as it creates an enlarged region for them to broadcast to with less interuptions as listeners driver around. Our plans aren’t bad news for the local stations either. Our proposals mean that the DAB reception will exceed what’s currently provided for Severn Sound, Star and BBC Radio Gloucestershire on FM.
We’ve got a little bit of a gap now before submitting Lincolnshire (in January) but already the work’s started and right now Deanna’s asking some very specific research questions, when all we want to do is go down the pub…