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MuxCo Bids for Morecambe Bay and South Cumbria Licence

MuxCo Cumbria Ltd, a joint application between MuxCo Ltd and Nation Broadcasting Ltd, has submitted an application to Ofcom to establish and operate a local DAB digital radio multiplex for Morecambe Bay and South Cumbria.

MuxCo Cumbria’s proposal is to launch a multiplex within twelve months of a successful award, offering a minimum of nine services, which includes a mix of established local and national services, as well as new local stations.

Capacity has been allocated to accommodate existing local analogue services from launch – BBC Radio CumbriaHeart and Smooth. These services collectively account for 15.2% of total radio listening in Morecambe Bay.

Capacity has also been allocated to bring a range of digital services that will broaden choice and expand the number of providers in the market.

Individually and collectively, they cater for a wide range of tastes and interests. 6 new services are confirmed:

MuxCo Cumbria will launch using four transmitters initially, which will cover 78% of the population.

Gregory Watson, MuxCo’s Managing Director, said

We are pleased to submit our application to bring local DAB to Morecambe Bay. Our proposals will bring a range of new services to the area – including a number of local community services as well as existing and new commercial services, helping broaden choice. We have capacity to enable further local services to broadcast and hope that if successful, we will launch with a wider range of stations.

Jason Bryant, Executive Chairman Nation Broadcasting, said

The Morecambe Bay multiplex will build on Muxco’s existing presence in the north west, extending choice for listeners across the patch. In particular, we look forward to introducing Bay Radio to Morecambe Bay, a brand new radio local service focussed on the needs of local people and led by Bill Johnston, one of the region’s most experienced radio professionals.

New Additions

It’s a busy time across our multiplex networks for both short term and long term services.

In Surrey we’ll be adding Radio Marsden Christmas on the 27th November running through to the end of Boxing Day.

In Mid and West Wales we’ll be adding Nation Xmas on the 1st December running until the end of the 27th December. We’re then pleased to be adding Nation Gold as a permanent service to the multiplex from the 28th December.

In Herefordshire and Worcestershire we’ll be adding another new permanent service – Like Radio – from the 14th December.

We have a standard ratecard for ‘RSLs’ – month long licences – on our multiplexes. You can find out more here.

Happy Christmas and Happy Listening!

Surrey Launch Update – 3rd October 2013

We are making good progress with our Surrey Multiplex and still on track for a December launch.  This area does not appear to be subject to the same chronic BT delays as other areas of the UK and it has been a refreshing change to see the project plans covered in green markers not red ones.

The lines to most of the service providers are now in place, with encoders and routers to be installed in November.

The equipment for the transmitter builds is in hand; Crystal Palace antenna work will take place by 14th October with Reigate and Guildford to be completed by the end of October.  Ofcom commissioning will be arranged to take place in November.  Weather becomes an issue for mast work at this time of year so we will be pleased if the current mild conditions continue.

In terms of distribution the network is already in place; London enjoys comprehensive service for telecoms and so the scale of work to connect our ring is immeasurably simpler than in other areas where brand new lines have had to be delivered.

In answer to some queries the second phase of transmitters (Stoke D’Abernon & Hungry Hill) is scheduled to launch in April 2014.

Surrey Launch Update – 12th September 2013

We are on track for our December 2013 launch.

As of  6th September all transmitter sites have been surveyed with the exception of Crystal Palace which is scheduled for this week. Orders for transmitters and telecoms lines  have been placed – delivery time expected to be October but until we have the precise dates we don’t consider this confirmed.

Lots of work underway with both us and our transmission subcontractor in getting in touch with the service providers to establish the readiness of their racks rooms, confirm their site details and contact numbers.

We’ve uploaded some maps which demonstrate the coverage.  Our plan is for the multiplex to broadcast with transmitters at Crystal Palace, Guildford and Reigate with a second phase of Leatherhead and Hungry Hill.

Transmission Map (Launch)

Transmission Map (Final)

Mid & West Wales – countdown to launch…

As you may have noticed if you have DAB and are in the area, we have some test transmissions going out – these are on four channels from two transmitters: Kilvey Hill and Carmel.

We are currently on track to launch at 0001 on Friday 30th August with the seven planned services which will include our third transmitter at Preseli. The formal launch is next Friday (6th Sept).

Launch services are as follows:

  • Radio Pembrokeshire
  • Radio Carmarthenshire
  • Nation Hits
  • Nation Radio
  • Real Radio
  • BBC Wales
  • BBC Cymru

MuxCo Hereford & Worcester Update – 9th July 2013

Work is underway on this multiplex which is expected to go live in September 2013.

For both Ridge Hill and Malvern TX the  transmitters are expected to be delivered this week (8th July).  Electrical installation is scheduled from 12th August with antenna work on the 19th.  Commissioning is scheduled for 26th August and we anticipate these transmitters will be operational in early September.  Bromsgrove will be commissioned from 2nd September, so anticipated operational from mid-September .

Our transmission subcontractor has been undertaking the design work for the contribution network.  Current delays relating to the BT distribution network may affect telecom delivery and so may impact on launch dates.

MuxCo Mid & West Wales Update – 9th July 2013

We are currently looking at an end-August launch although BT main spine distribution delays could impact on this.

The multiplexing software/hardware is scheduled to be commissioned on the 12th August, and the transmission hardware & electrical installation at transmitter sites scheduled for dates in August for all three launch transmitters (Preseli, Carmel & Kilvey Hill). Service provider connectivity is scheduled for early August.

The largest obstacle at the moment is that currently all distribution work by BT is on hold because of serious BT issues with ducts.  Work is planned for the 17th July which may rectify this.  This affects new feeds to the transmitters and in some instances to services too, and although our transmission subcontractor has arranged that commissioning can be undertaken regardless, until this is resolved we won’t have a firm launch date.

MuxCo Gloucestershire Update – 9th July 2013

We are currently looking at an end July/mid-August launch for this multiplex although BT main spine distribution delays could impact on this.

The multiplexing software/hardware is built, and the hardware & electrical installation at transmitter sites is largely in place for our launch transmitters at Churchdown Hill and Stockend Wood.  Connectivity to the multiplex is also largely in place.

The biggest obstacle at the moment is that currently all distribution work by BT is on hold because of serious BT issues with ducts.  Work is planned for the 17th July which may rectify this.  This affects feeds to the transmitters and although our transmission subcontractor has arranged that commissioning can be undertaken regardless, until this is resolved we won’t have a firm launch date.

Some pictures of the equipment are below:

MuxCo Launches Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool Multiplex

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.”

Muxco WCL: Update 9th January 2013

Here’s a quick update for the New Year.  All the Ofcom paperwork is now submitted and in due course they will issue the Ensemble and Service IDs which will enable us to configure services.  The telecoms links for all but one of our services are now in.

To demonstrate some of the progress made, below are some pictures from the Moel Y Parc transmitter install.  Look closely and you can see the labels.