Category Archives: news

New multiplex for the Channel Islands

Ofcom has today, 17th April, advertised a digital radio multiplex to broadcast to the Channel Islands – Jersey and Guernsey.

MuxCo, working with the operators of Channel 103 and Island FM, will be applying for the licence in due course.

As such, we are interested in hearing from potential radio stations who would like to broadcast on the multiplex. Please fill in this form to register your interest.

Festive Additions

Our multiplex manager Nicky has been MuxCo’s very own Santa, busily adding a raft of festive stations to our multiplexes.

On Surrey and South London we’ve added Christmas FM and Radio Marsden Christmas. We’ve also added Christmas FM to our Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex too.

Over in North Yorkshire, Minster FM have launched a christmassy offspring in the form of Mince Pie Non-Stop supported by York Bid.

We think one of the key of benefits of digital radio is flexibility. So as well as regular full-time stations, we have a short-term ‘RSL’ opportunity and then through Upload Radio (on Wrexham, Surrey and North Yorkshire) there’s the ability for people to even buy a single hour on digital radio.

Ipswich FM Licence

In regards to Ofcom’s advertisement of an FM licence in Ipswich:

MuxCo Suffolk‘s a big believer in local radio – whether that’s analogue or digital. With the recent changes to Town 102, there’s now no local commercial radio based in Ipswich, so we think there’s a great opportunity to create a brilliant station for the area that will be broadcast on FM and DAB Digital Radio.

We’ve been talking to people and businesses across Ipswich and we look forward to sharing our plans soon.

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Digital Radio in Manchester

We’ve put out this press release this morning about our desire for Ofcom to advertise another local multiplex for Manchester.

DAB Digital Radio has had a great few years with both increased listening and a strong demand for capacity from existing and new operators. We’ve been supportive of the small scale DAB trial – which has also shown demand from community and other operators to broadcast to limited geographies.

We believe that there’s also demand for additional traditionally-sized commercial multiplexes in places where there are large numbers of listeners, but a lack of space for new entrants who want robust city-wide coverage. We’re encouraging Ofcom to make more spectrum available.

If you agree – please tell us, by emailing [email protected].

MuxCo looks to Ofcom to advertise a second Manchester-wide multiplex

MuxCo, one of the UK’s largest operators of local DAB digital radio multiplexes, has announced today (8th December) it is seeking to launch an additional Manchester multiplex to complement the city’s current multiplex operated by CE Digital.

MuxCo – which runs the adjacent Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex – is talking to Ofcom, MPs and the radio industry about why a second commercial Manchester multiplex should be advertised. Its three shareholders have agreed to work together towards a new Manchester DAB multiplex. They already operate a number of analogue and digital stations in the North West and also provide services to the small scale Manchester trial multiplex. If advertised and awarded to MuxCo, a second Manchester multiplex would enjoy economies of scale to aid scale and affordability for new local services in the city.

The MuxCo philosophy is about engaging local operators with digital radio, as both shareholders and service providers. The MuxCo Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex currently provides eight local commercial services – six of which are new to the area or extensions of community services – alongside the two Welsh services from the BBC. The multiplex is supportive of DAB+, with three services currently broadcasting in stereo using that technology.

Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo, says “Manchester is a thriving media market and its current multiplex is full. It is inequitable that whilst London has three local multiplexes offering a fantastic array of stations, Manchester has just the one city-wide multiplex. We already have enough interested operators to comfortably make a second Manchester multiplex viable”.

Jason Bryant, Executive Chairman of Nation Broadcasting said; “Competitive media markets such as Manchester are important to Nation Broadcasting’s future strategy. The current Manchester multiplex is full and its current operator has no ambition to upgrade to DAB+, stifling innovation. A second city wide multiplex would open up competition for local businesses and provide listeners with a fresh variety of new services”.

Dee 106.3 Director Chris Hurst said “Manchester did have two multiplexes – with the original MXR North West multiplex and the citywide one. It is a fact that choice has actually reduced for listeners and prospective radio operators and we want to fill the market gap that clearly exists”.

Suffolk DAB Starts

Our final local multiplex, in Suffolk, will start test transmissions on Friday 30th September 2016 before it’s official launch on the 7th October.

It will broadcast six radio stations to around 400,000 people. These will include:

  • BBC Radio Suffolk
  • Heart
  • Smooth Radio
  • Chris Country
  • Fun Kids
  • Suffolk First (a new service from Lincs FM)

All stations will broadcast in “original flavour” DAB.

Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo says: “We’re excited to be activiating our 10th MuxCo-branded multiplex in Suffolk at the end of the month. We’re already broadcasting over 60 radio stations to millions of people across the network and we’re looking forward to bringing local DAB to another county”.

There’s more information in our Suffolk section.

Further August 2016 Changes

It continues to be a busy month in August for the network.

This week we have updated Jack and Jack 2 on our Surrey multiplex to broadcast in the newer flavour of DAB Digital Radio – DAB+. This will mean that older radios may lose the service, or see it described as ‘Unavailable’.

To hear DAB+ services you need a modern tick-mark enabled digital radio.

On our North Wales multiplex we’re also pleased to have added Capital Cymru, the Welsh-language variant of Capital FM. With new transmitters launching in North Wales, there’s never been a better time for it to join the line up.

August Transmission

August is a busy month across our multiplexes. Not only are we adding services, we’ll also be adding additional transmitters to the network at the following locations:

On Herefordshire & Worcestershire:

  • Hereford
  • Kidderminster

On North Wales

  • Holyhead South Stack Road
  • Amlwch
  • Llanddona
  • Gwaenysgor (S)
  • Penmaen Rhos

Later in September we’ll be adding High Hunsley to our Lincolnshire network.

These additional transmitters should re-enforce coverage for existing listeners as well as growing the areas that we broadcast to.

As with all transmission work a number of things can conspire to delay implementation (weather, technical access etc) but we’re positive that they’ll all be on in the coming weeks.

Lincolnshire Update

We’re making good progress on the build for the Lincolnshire multiplex, ready for tests in September.

All the transmitters have been installed and pre-commissioned and the telemetry is ready to go. The feeders for the the dish links are all ready, whilst the radio links are starting to be installed. This week we’re installing the contribution servers at each of the radio stations so they can provide audio to the multiplex.

We’ve still got work to do to make sure all of the dish links and circuits are working before we’re ready to test the system end to end and then get Ofcom to approve everything.

Full Steam Ahead

It’s probably time for a bit of an update about our forthcoming multiplexes launches. We’ve had a busy few months organising the technical roll-out of the next batch which includes North Wales, North Yorkshire and Somerset.

As you may be aware, commercial radio, the BBC, Ofcom and Government have been working together on the roll-out of hundreds of new local transmitters. We’ve also had changes as the regional multiplexes have been discontinued. Collectively all of this work has meant that the new launches have had to change quite a lot of their transmitter plans, which has a knock-on – generally positive – to the coverage and the cost and… well… taken together it just means a bit more work for everyone.

However, a decent amount of the work’s been completed which means we’ve been able to sign transmission contracts for our multiplexes in Somerset, North Yorkshire and North Wales.

*** Health Warning ***

As always, we try and be open as we can on the blog, however things do change – sometimes in our control and sometimes out of control. Millions of pounds of gear need to be attached to structures, lots of telecom lines need to be put in, there’s huge amounts of actual physical engineering, so launch dates do change! These are indicative and what collectively hundreds of people are working to!

So, we’re looking to launch Somerset towards the end of the Summer and North Yorkshire and North Wales will be on-air towards the end of 2014. Additionally Lincolnshire will launch in 2015.

Hopefully over the coming weeks we’ll be able to publish some coverage maps and also be a little firmer with the service provider line-ups.

As well as the usual suspects we’ve had some really interesting discussions with other service providers – from community stations to new local entrants – about these multiplexes. If you’re interested in broadcasting on them, now is an excellent time to get in touch. We have a questionnaire that allows us to find out a bit more about you, so we can respond better to your situation.


Wirral Radio Joins Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool

We’re pleased to announce that Wirral Radio has joined our Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex. It’s the first community radio station to join this particular multiplex, but we hope it’s the first of many.

Delivering choice for listeners is at the centre of what we want to do a MuxCo and we’re always looking at ways we can add more stations to our multiplexes.

Wirral Radio joins a platform that reaches around 2m people in the Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool area, giving them a great opportunity to serve the core Wirral audience, but also reach their listeners as they live, work and travel across the region.

At MuxCo we understand the challenges that face different broadcasters. Our team has a long history in traditional commercial radio, but we’re also experienced at running digital-only stations, and some of our staff are Trustees of community radio stations. We’re always keen to work with potential service providers and find a way to bring them to our multiplexes.

Joining the multiplex is only one part of Wirral Radio‘s launch today – so we wish them all the success in the word and look forward to tuning in.