DAB Digital Radio is a ‘flavour’ of digital radio that lets you listen to a variety of local, regional and national radio station on a specific type of radio – a DAB Digital Radio. There are radios available in car, on the move and for the home. Just like the regular radio you can pick up different radio stations depending on where you live. To check your coverage visit getdigitalradio.com.
In each area a number of stations are broadcast together in something called a ‘multiplex’. The multiplex operator hold a licence and builds a transmitter network. This operator then contracts with lots of different radio stations to broadcast on its platform. As the multiplex operator pays for the running of the entire multiplex, the radio stations pay a carriage fee to the operator, to help cover their costs.
Whether a station broadcasts on a specific multiplex is down to whether there is enough space to broadcast the station and whether the station wants to broadcast on DAB in that area. If you’re interested in knowing why a station you like isn’t broadcasting on DAB in your area, the best thing to do is to contact that station direct and ask them.
There are currently a number of multiplex operators running local, regional and national platforms, you can use this link to find out more about each multiplex. Further information is listed below.
Digital One run the current national commercial multiplex. It broadcasts to the majority of the UK and Northern Ireland. Digital One’s website is http://www.ukdigitalradio.com.
The BBC also operate a national digital radio multiplex covering the majority of the country. This only broadcasts their national services. Their website is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/digitalradio.
Two companies operate regional multiplexes – MXR Digital and SwitchDigital.
MXR operates a regional multiplex in Yorkshire. They are owned by a consortium including Global Radio, Real & Smooth and Arqiva.
Switchdigital is responsible for the regional multiplex in Central Scotland. It is owned by UTV Radio and the Carphone Warehouse. Their website is at www.utvdab.com and the multiplex is overseen by Piers Collins at UTV in London.
There are a number of local multiplex operators in the UK. These include:
NOWdigital (operated by Arqiva) has a website: www.localdigitalradio.co.uk. The multiplexes are managed by Glyn Jones.
The areas that NOWdigital operate are: Bristol, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Essex, Cardiff, Cambridge, Dorset, Kent, Leicester, Norfolk, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth and Cornwall, Exeter, South Hampshire, Sussex Coast, Swindon & West Wilts and Reading, Oxford and Herts, Beds, Bucks and Northampton.
Most multiplexes are wholly owned by Arqiva. However, Leicester and Nottingham are part of consortia with Sabras Radio, Plymouth/Cornwall is a consortium with UKRD and Oxford is owned with Oxis Media.
Bauer Digital Radio
Bauer operate a number of multiplexes, mainly across the North of England and Scotland.
The multiplexes they operate are: Central Lancashire, Humberside, Leeds, Liverpool, South Yorkshire, Teesside, Tyne and Wear, Dundee and Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Northern Ireland. The multiplexes are managed by Gordon MacArthur.
UTV operate multiplexes in Aberdeen and London and are overseen by Piers Collins, their website is: www.utvdab.com.
Local Multiplexes – Joint Ventures
A number of local multiplexes are operated by consortia:
CE Digital – a consortium of Global Radio and Bauer which runs multiplexes in London, Birmingham and Manchester – these are managed by Gordon MacArthur of EMAP.
UTV-EMAP Digital operate the multiplexes in Bradford, Swansea and Stoke-on-Trent – these are overseen by Piers Collins at UTV.
Digital Radio Group – a consortium of Global Radio, SMG, UTV and Carphone Warehouse operates the third London multiplex, this is managed by Global Radio.
Digital Radio UK
Digital Radio UK works with Government, broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers, and a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate digital listening, to enable the expansion of the digital radio platform, and to ensure that industry meets the consumer-led criteria to be achieved for a proposed radio switchover. Digital Radio UK’s Board comprises representatives from the BBC, RadioCentre, Arqiva, Global Radio, Bauer Media, GMG Radio, Absolute Radio Intellect and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Digital Radio UK sits on the Ministerial Group and is represented on the Steering Board for Digital Radio Action Plan, and chairs two of the task groups, the Technology and Equipment Group, and the Market Preparation Group.