Category Archives: news

Ipswich FM Licence

In regards to Ofcom’s advertisement of an FM licence in Ipswich:

MuxCo Suffolk‘s a big believer in local radio – whether that’s analogue or digital. With the recent changes to Town 102, there’s now no local commercial radio based in Ipswich, so we think there’s a great opportunity to create a brilliant station for the area that will be broadcast on FM and DAB Digital Radio.

We’ve been talking to people and businesses across Ipswich and we look forward to sharing our plans soon.

Get in touch by emailing ipswich@muxco.com.

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”.

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.

Lincolnshire Update

We’re making good progress on the build for the Lincolnshire multiplex, ready for tests in September.

All the transmitters have been installed and pre-commissioned and the telemetry is ready to go. The feeders for the the dish links are all ready, whilst the radio links are starting to be installed. This week we’re installing the contribution servers at each of the radio stations so they can provide audio to the multiplex.

We’ve still got work to do to make sure all of the dish links and circuits are working before we’re ready to test the system end to end and then get Ofcom to approve everything.

Full Steam Ahead

It’s probably time for a bit of an update about our forthcoming multiplexes launches. We’ve had a busy few months organising the technical roll-out of the next batch which includes North Wales, North Yorkshire and Somerset.

As you may be aware, commercial radio, the BBC, Ofcom and Government have been working together on the roll-out of hundreds of new local transmitters. We’ve also had changes as the regional multiplexes have been discontinued. Collectively all of this work has meant that the new launches have had to change quite a lot of their transmitter plans, which has a knock-on – generally positive – to the coverage and the cost and… well… taken together it just means a bit more work for everyone.

However, a decent amount of the work’s been completed which means we’ve been able to sign transmission contracts for our multiplexes in Somerset, North Yorkshire and North Wales.

*** Health Warning ***

As always, we try and be open as we can on the blog, however things do change – sometimes in our control and sometimes out of control. Millions of pounds of gear need to be attached to structures, lots of telecom lines need to be put in, there’s huge amounts of actual physical engineering, so launch dates do change! These are indicative and what collectively hundreds of people are working to!

So, we’re looking to launch Somerset towards the end of the Summer and North Yorkshire and North Wales will be on-air towards the end of 2014. Additionally Lincolnshire will launch in 2015.

Hopefully over the coming weeks we’ll be able to publish some coverage maps and also be a little firmer with the service provider line-ups.

As well as the usual suspects we’ve had some really interesting discussions with other service providers – from community stations to new local entrants – about these multiplexes. If you’re interested in broadcasting on them, now is an excellent time to get in touch. We have a questionnaire that allows us to find out a bit more about you, so we can respond better to your situation.

 

Wirral Radio Joins Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool

We’re pleased to announce that Wirral Radio has joined our Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex. It’s the first community radio station to join this particular multiplex, but we hope it’s the first of many.

Delivering choice for listeners is at the centre of what we want to do a MuxCo and we’re always looking at ways we can add more stations to our multiplexes.

Wirral Radio joins a platform that reaches around 2m people in the Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool area, giving them a great opportunity to serve the core Wirral audience, but also reach their listeners as they live, work and travel across the region.

At MuxCo we understand the challenges that face different broadcasters. Our team has a long history in traditional commercial radio, but we’re also experienced at running digital-only stations, and some of our staff are Trustees of community radio stations. We’re always keen to work with potential service providers and find a way to bring them to our multiplexes.

Joining the multiplex is only one part of Wirral Radio‘s launch today – so we wish them all the success in the word and look forward to tuning in.

MuxCo’s Surrey Multiplex Launch

The MuxCo team and the switch-on button.

The MuxCo team and the switch-on button.

This morning at Epsom Downs Racecourse we turned on our fifth DAB Digital Radio multiplex of the year, bringing local DAB to 800,000 people across the county.

Gallery:

Press Coverage:

Video:

An update on BBC1’s London lunchtime news:

An update from BBC1’s London Evening bulletin:

 

Here’s the release:

On Thursday 12 December at the iconic Epsom Downs Racecourse Sir Paul Beresford MP for Mole Valley will officially switch on three new DAB digital radio transmitters, giving nearly 800,000 listeners new local stations on DAB in the Surrey area. The switch-on means listeners will be ready to receive four local radio stations – BBC Surrey and 96.4 Eagle Radio, alongside new stations eagle3 and Redstone FM 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 three new transmitters at Guildford, Reigate and Crystal Palace take local digital radio coverage for these stations from zero to almost 800,000 listeners in the area, and add over 660km of roads into DAB coverage for the first time.

Sir Paul Beresford MP said: “Surrey is way ahead on digital radio, with over half of us having a digital radio at home. I welcome these new DAB transmitters which mean that our excellent local radio stations can now be received on digital radio at home and in-car.”

Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo said: “Muxco Surrey is a joint venture with UKRD Group. We are extremely excited to be working with UKRD to launch this multiplex, which will deliver a mix of existing and new digital-only radio services, such as Redstone FM and Eagle 3, in digital quality to 800,000 listeners in Surrey. We are in discussion with a number of operators that will enable further new services to launch during 2014.”

William Rogers from UKRD and Ford Ennals from Digital Radio UK

William Rogers from UKRD and Ford Ennals from Digital Radio UK

William Rogers, Chief Executive of UKRD said: “It’s a further exciting step for our operation based in Guildford that they are launching digital only service eagle3 on the Surrey DAB multiplex and it represents a further step forward in broadening the offering we are providing for listeners and advertisers alike”.

Des Shepherd, Chief Executive of Redstone FM said: “It’s great that Redstone FM 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.”
Sara David, Editor of BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey said: “We are delighted that BBC Surrey 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.”

Jane Ostler, Director of Digital Radio UK, said: “This is great news for almost 800,000 people in Surrey 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 stations.”
In the last 18 months, local DAB coverage has been improved for over 8 million people in the UK, increasing 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.

In Surrey, 55% of homes have a DAB digital radio – ahead of the UK as a whole, and in Q3 2013, 35.6% 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. 41.6% of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT Oct 2013).

 

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Launch

A busy morning for the MuxCo and Digital Radio UK teams as we officially launched the Herefordshire & Worcestershire multiplex. We had two events one at the Sixways Stadium and a second in Hereford town centre.

Pics, links and press release below!

Links

Video

A piece from BBC Midlands Today:

Press Release

Harriett Baldwin MP for West Worcestershire, and Worcester Warrior rugby player Craig Gillies officially switched on 3 new DAB digital radio transmitters today, bringing local DAB digital radio to over 530,000 people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Three stations – BBC Hereford & Worcester, Free Radio and Sunshine Radio, are now available in the area on DAB digital radio for the first time.

To receive the new services, you may need to re-tune your sets. Click here to find out how.

The big switch-on took place at the Sixways Stadium, the home ground of the Worcester Warriors Rugby Club. The three new transmitters at Ridge Hill, Malvern and Bromsgrove will take digital radio coverage for these stations from zero to over 530,000 listeners in the area, and add over 750 km of roads into DAB coverage for the first time.

The last 10 months’ build-out of DAB digital radio (including Herefordshire & Worcestershire and Gloucester) 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 we will have brought local DAB to around 6.5 million people.

This switch-on comes as the Government is expected to make a decision on radio switchover at the Go Digital conference at the BBC Radio Theatre in December. In Hereford and Worcester, 51.4% of homes have a DAB digital radio and in Q3 2013, 32.2% of radio listening was digital. A cumulative total of 18 million digital radio sets have been sold to date in the UK, including DAB radios and internet radios. 40.6% of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT, October 2013).

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, commented: “This marks an important new era for local radio, offering listeners better quality both at home and in the car. Local radio plays an important role in our community and often it is the best way to keep in touch with breaking news in the region.”

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 more than 500,000 listeners access to our stations on DAB, is another important step for our industry.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “This is great news for half a million people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire 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.

Jeremy Pollock, managing editor of BBC Hereford & Worcester, said: “We are delighted that BBC Hereford & Worcester is now available on DAB and our listeners can receive our programmes, news and sport in digital quality. It’s an important step for this area and an exciting day for local radio.”

Phil Riley, Chief Executive of Free Radio, said: “We’re excited to be able to bring Free Radio to digital radio in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. 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.”

Ginny Murfin from Sunshine Radio said: “It’s great that Sunshine Radio will be available to listeners on DAB in Herefordshire and Worcestershire for the first time, bringing local news and music to our listeners with the digital benefits of easy tuning and scrolling information.”