Category Archives: herefordshire and worcestershire

May Additions

We’re pleased to be announcing the addition of two new stations to our networks in May.

Orion Media will be launching Free Radio 80s on our Hereford and Worcester multiplex. The station’s currently available on DAB and AM in Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country/Shropshire, but it will be the first time it’s broadcast to Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

David Lloyd from Orion Media says:

We’re delighted to add Herefordshire & Worcestershire coverage to the footprint of Free Radio 80s. It makes a great complement to our FM service in the two counties, which continues to play a mix of new and older songs.

Free Radio 80s now safely covers the whole of the West Midlands – and listeners across the entire region can enjoy great songs from that decade, back to back.

We’re also pleased that Brooklands Radio is joining our Surrey and South London multiplex for a month-long broadcast.

Short-term broadcasts have been a big part of UK radio broadcasting for the last 20 years. More commonly seen as short-range FM RSLs, we’re keen to create a digital version. We offer, where we have availability, a way for stations to broadcast for 28 days across an entire multiplex area, covering the same territory as all of the other stations that we carry.

We’ve also been keen to make this affordable, so we’re offering it at a similar price to Ofcom’s fee for a 28-day FM RSL. There are more details here.

Free Radio 80s will start broadcasting on May 1st and Brooklands Radio on May 2nd.


Call for Ramadan Services for DAB

We are interested in hearing from anyone who would like to operate a Ramadan service on the following DAB multiplexes during June and July 2014:

Interested parties are invited to answer this questionnaire, after which we will discuss opportunities to contract for capacity for up to 28 days on each available multiplex.

Please fill in the questionnaire by 5pm on 31st March 2014

All contracts for capacity are subject to the availability of suitable capacity on each multiplex.  If there are multiple expressions of interest, and more demand for capacity than is available, we will select services on the basis of ability to enter a standard carriage contract rather than first come basis.

We intend to notify interest parties in April.

Any questionnaire submissions that are received after the date specified above, will still be considered for a licence, but subject to capacity availability.

The fee to broadcast on any of the multiplexes will be £2,000+VAT for the 28 days, subject to contract, and you will be required to get your signal to the multiplex centre (which we can describe in more detail after submission of the form).

All successful service providers are reminded that they will need to hold the necessary DSP licence from Ofcom and comply with the requirements of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, in particular if they wish to broadcast charity appeals and must take reasonable steps to satisfy itself that the charity appeal organisation concerned can produce satisfactory evidence of charitable status, or, in the case of an emergency appeal, that a responsible public fund has been set up to deal with it.   Further details can be found at:

If you have any questions about this opportunity please contact [email protected]

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!



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.”

November Planning Meeting

Planning Meeting

A blurry camera phone picture of Gregory from MuxCo (left) and David Peters from Arqiva (right) at today’s planning meeting.

We have these catch-ups every month to review current projects and to plan further multiplexes. In the picture, Gregory is looking at one of many potential options for the North West Wales multiplex.

This month the big topics were the progress on Gloucester’s next two transmitters, our Bromsgrove transmitter for Herefordshire & Worcestershire and installations for Surrey. Surrey is looking good at the moment and we’re in the process of rolling out contingencies in Gloucestershire and H&W as we continue to be let down by BT. All should hopefully be on this year, before Arqiva’s network freeze at Christmas.

Looking to future multiplexes we spent some time exploring the various options for North Wales and the cost-implications of decisions in Somerset.

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Launch Update – 26th October 2013

The transmitters are built and services have their encoders and connectivity.  The only thing continuing to cause delays to this multiplex is chronic telecom distribution delays to the transmitters.

Our contingency is satellite distribution which has required links to be put in place, this has caused some extra work but these are ready to go at Ridge Hill and Malvern.  It is not possible for us to use satellite at Bromsgrove, and so this transmitter will have to wait for its telecoms lines before it can go live.  This is expected in the coming weeks although delivery dates haven’t proved to be terribly reliable.

With this plan we are planning to commence “barker” audio from the start of the November with live audio tests likely to be running in the lead up to the new proposed launch towards the end of November.

Gloucestershire/Hereford & Worcester Test Plans

Today we’ve just started test transmissions for our Gloucestershire multiplex, in preparation for the official launch on the 18th October.

This is a week or so later than we have recently blogged about. We’re also not testing the Herefordshire and Worcestershire multiplex, which we had previously mentioned we were planning to have on air at the same time. I just wanted to provide an update about why this is the case.

In some previous updates we’ve talked about some issues with BT. The way the multiplexes work is that we hook up stations to our network by putting in special lines into their studios. These are often special versions of broadband that guarantee certain bandwidth levels that means we will always receive their signals. These all come into our transmission provider’s multiplex centre and are wrapped together into a multiplex feed, this is then sent by telecoms lines to each of the transmitters.

Quite often transmitter locations are in the middle of nowhere, so our options for getting lines (and our signals) into the areas are quite limited. BT, as the UK’s legacy network provider, are often the only people that have the right connectivity to deliver our services. If they have problems or delays there’s often very little that we can do but wait.

And that’s the issue. BT currently have significant network issues that are affecting connectivity for our multiplexes in Mid and West Wales, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

To get Mid and West Wales and Gloucestershire on-air we have had to think somewhat creatively to get around these BT issues. So, both of these multiplexes are currently being fed by satellite. We’ve installed equipment at the multiplex centre to take the multiplex signal send it up to a satellite and then installed dishes at the transmitter sites to downlink the signal to get it to the transmitters.

As we are hopeful that this is only a temporary solution we are using existing equipment from Arqiva to achieve this somewhat over-engineered solution. Our issue with Herefordshire and Worcestershire is that we have now used all their ‘spare’ equipment on the other two multiplexes so can’t deploy the same solution for Hertfordshire and Worcestershire.

We’re working with BT to try and fix the connectivity at one of the three sites so we can either feed Herefordshire and Worcestershire direct or use some satellite equipment released from getting direct feeds online to M&WW or Gloucestershire.

To say we’re frustrated about these delays is a massive understatement. We’re having discussions at the highest levels of Arqiva and BT to get back on track.

Also, please remember that the Gloucestershire tests are just that – tests. This means that there may well be downtime for the multiplex or individual services between now and launch.

Gloucestershire and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Update

Some news about our Gloucestershire and Herefordshire & Worcestershire multiplexes.

We have been backwards and forwards a bit with these multiplexes. They were initially advertised and awarded as two separate areas. We then explored with Ofcom the opportunity to simulcast a mutiplex across two areas, which, in the early years, would provide the best coverage of local listeners’ favourite stations.

Since then, as part of Ofcom’s digital radio working group, we’ve been working on both the launch configuration and also the roll-out plan of more transmitters across the licence term. Whilst doing this work, it was announced that MXR would be handing back many of their licences over the next two years. This has now prompted Ofcom to re-distribute MXR frequencies to some local multiplexes.

This has meant another re-plan of our networks as new frequencies change the interference we will generate and also receive from other networks.

We have therefore decided to launch two separate multiplexes, with separate line-ups.

The Gloucestershire multiplex is currently scheduled to begin test transmissions in June this year. The Herefordshire and Worcestershire multiplex is going to use the MXR West Midlands frequency (and indeed their Bromsgrove transmitter) so will launch at a point shortly after their licence has been handed back to Ofcom. We expect our tests to start in September 2013.

Hereford & Worcester

Its the 6th June and the sun is shining, so hopefully this now marks the start of summer. For us it mark’s the closing date for applications for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire multiplex, something MuxCo Hereford & Worcester Ltd has submitted its application for.

Behind the bid, alongside us, are Town & Country and local radio man (and the theme tune writer for Gladiators no-less), Muff Murfin. It was an interesting licence area to plan, covering a number of urban areas and also a lot of green space, so it was a little more complex getting the transmitter network right.

We have included an interesting selection of new radio formats to complement the existing local services of Wyvern FM, Sunshine and the BBC, ranging from an interactive youth service, Shuffle, to a classic rock station called Smithy Rock, and a new local speech station too – Local Live. I won’t bore you here with all the detail but you will find a copy of the application online here. In the meantime, its off to the pub for a well earned drink and to think about the next project. As always, please send us your views and comments to [email protected].