We had some good news last week, as Ofcom announced that MuxCo North Yorkshire Ltd had been awarded the licence for North Yorkshire.
It’s disappointment all round here at MuxCo towers, as the news was revealled that NOWdigital had won the digital licence for Oxfordshire. We believed (and still do) that our application had the widest choice of services for listeners, so we’re a bit down that Ofcom awarded it to the other bidder.
Obviously, we’re pressing on and continuing to bid for licences in other areas and we’ll continue to ensure that our plans are robust, deliverable and attractive for the communities that we are keen to serve.
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…
Congratulations to NOWdigital on the award of the local multiplex licence for Northampton. Both of the applications shared many similar services so hopefully it will be a good selection of stations when the multiplex launches. Anyway, you can’t win them all, back to finishing off Gloucestershire.
Great news at MuxCo headquarters, with wins for both MuxCo Northeast Wales & Cheshire and for MuxCo Herefordshire & Worcestershire announced today. Great local radio is what we promised, and will now launch within the next 12 months. Time for a quick drink and then on with writing our North Yorkshire application.
Interesting to see our competitors, NOWdigital, changing their application a couple of months after submitting it. They said they would be provide a religious format – UCB UK. UCB, however, no longer want to provide the station, so it’s been removed from their application with NOWdigital saying it will be replaced by an “unspecified local digital sound programme service… within one year of the multiplex going on-air”.
It seems quite a late change, especially as we think the licence will be awarded on September 6th! It’s also not the only change, since submitting the application we’ve seen them change their transmitter configurations and which versions of services they’ll be launching in the area. We’re obviously sure that this has nothing to do with a better bid from MuxCo! But then we would say that, I suppose…
In response to this change (well, the first one anyway) Ofcom have said whilst they have accepted the UCB amendment they’re interested in citizens views about it. You can write to Neil Stock, Head of Radio, Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HA or email him – [email protected].
It’s always interesing to see the other bidder’s line-up when the Ofcom press release comes out. In case you haven’t i’ve shown it below. On the left is the NOWdigital bid, on the right is the MuxCo bid, the highlighted area is ‘the MuxCo difference’.
It’s just coming up to three o’clock, which is the customary time for me to write a blog post about the latest application to go in. Oxfordshire’s been an interesting one to work on, a few ups and downs, but we’re incredibly pleased with what we’ve just submitted, we think it’s our best line-up yet.
11 audio services, including all of the analogue operators, nearly 90% coverage of the population and an excellent podcast service with another 11 interesting service providers and room for many more. We’re very proud of this one and we hope Oxfordshire (oh, and Ofcom!) like our proposals too.
As always, please email me with any comments – [email protected] or leave them on this blog post.
It doesn’t happen very often, so I think it’s worth a mention here. NOWdigital has advertised that there’s some available capacity on the London 3 multiplex owned by GCap, UTV, SMG and Carphone Warehouse. They don’t say how much capacity, but they’re asking potential operators to download an application form and return it to the multiplex manager by the end of the week.
Oh, and if you need any advice, we’re always here to help!
Congratulations to Channel 4 and 4digitalgroup on the award of the new national digital radio multiplex. It’s good to see Ofcom award the licence to a new entrant to digital radio, and also acknowledge the benefits of having service providers as shareholders.
Both applicants (4DG and NGW) bid with ambitious proposals to take digital radio forward. Each applied with a number of new radio stations that would appeal to both new and existing DAB listeners, and further broaden listening choice. A combination of new exciting audio services and new types of data services, will provide reasons for many consumers to look at DAB digital radio for the first time.
Whilst existing operators kicked off DAB in the UK by investing strongly in this new distribution platform, they have been rewarded with prime digital real estate to grow their audiences and revenue. New operators, like Channel 4, with new ideas will help take DAB into a different direction for new audiences and help reinvigorate the platform. It’s good to see these new operators rewarded for their efforts as well.