Listeners in Cumbria and Morecambe Bay are waking up to a digital radio revolution this morning thanks to the launch of two new local DAB networks bringing local digital radio to the region for the first time and a huge expansion of radio listening choice.
The new networks collectively carry 28 digital radio services including local FM favourites BBC Radio Cumbria, CFM, Heart North Lancashire & Cumbria and Smooth Radio Lake District broadcasting in DAB or DAB+ for the first time alongside a host of new and additional services.
The new DAB digital transmitters went live this morning from nine sites across the two networks, with one network, operated by Bauer Digital Radio Ltd, covering North and West Cumbria including Carlisle, Penrith, Workington, Whitehaven and Keswick; and a second network, operated by MuxCo Cumbria Ltd, covering South Cumbria and Morecambe Bay including Morecambe, Lancaster, Ulverston, Kendal and Windermere.
Each network carries different services, apart from BBC Radio Cumbria which is available on both. Listeners are advised to confirm which stations are available where they live by checking their postcode at www.getdigitalradio.com and may need to retune their digital radio to receive the stations for the first time.
Some services will be broadcast in DAB+, an upgraded and more efficient version of DAB that enables a greater number of stations to be broadcast. To listen to these services listeners will need a DAB+ enabled digital radio.
Bauer’s Digital Radio Cumbria network has launched with five transmitters in North and West Cumbria carrying twenty services, including BBC Radio Cumbria and CFM, plus a number of national commercial stations previously unavailable in the area – Absolute Radio 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Greatest Hits Radio, Planet Rock, Scala Radio and Jazz FM. Additionally, the network features further stations dedicated to a huge variety of musical genres, including Magic at the Musicals, KISS Dance, Absolute Classic Rock, Magic Chilled and Hits Radio Pride.
MuxCo Cumbria has launched with four transmitters in South Cumbria and Morecambe Bay carrying eight services, including BBC Radio Cumbria, Heart North Lancashire and Cumbria, Smooth Radio Lake District, and Nation 80s, plus additional local services CandoFM a community radio station in Barrow; Bay Trust Radio, the hospital radio station for Lancaster, Morecambe and Kendal hospitals; Beyond Radio, a local station for North Lancashire; and Fun Kids, a station specially for children.
The launch of the two new digital networks will be celebrated this morning at a special switch on event at Robert Ferguson School in Carlisle with the school’s children helping popular local presenters BBC Radio Cumbria’s Mike Zeller and CFM’s Robbie Dee countdown the moment of launch live on air.
Mark Elliott, Executive Editor of BBC Radio Cumbria said: “It’s great that BBC Radio Cumbria is coming to DAB digital radio. We know from audience research that many people choose to tune in via DAB and now they can hear our broadcasts in digital quality. We will broadcast in DAB+ which means listeners will need to check they have a DAB+ enabled radio but this will mean in poorer reception areas our signal will be more robust.”
Ben Cooper, Chief Content and Music Officer, Bauer Media Audio UK, said: “Today brings a new fantastic choice of radio stations from classical music to classic rock. You can now get better accessibility to your local station CFM, as well as now being able to hear Simon Mayo’s Drivetime show on Greatest Hits Radio or Lemar on Magic Soul.”
Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “The launch of local digital radio across Cumbria and the Lake District is an important milestone and enables listeners to receive their favourite local stations such as BBC Radio Cumbria and CFM on DAB for the first time. This launch also brings a wealth of choice to listeners in Cumbria with a range of much-loved commercial stations alongside new digital stations available on DAB for the first time anywhere in the UK. Stations in different areas do vary, so to check which stations are available in any particular area listeners should check the postcode checker at getdigitalradio.com and make sure they retune their digital radio.”