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MuxCo Gloucestershire Update – 9th July 2013

We are currently looking at an end July/mid-August launch for this multiplex although BT main spine distribution delays could impact on this.

The multiplexing software/hardware is built, and the hardware & electrical installation at transmitter sites is largely in place for our launch transmitters at Churchdown Hill and Stockend Wood.  Connectivity to the multiplex is also largely in place.

The biggest obstacle at the moment is that currently all distribution work by BT is on hold because of serious BT issues with ducts.  Work is planned for the 17th July which may rectify this.  This affects feeds to the transmitters and although our transmission subcontractor has arranged that commissioning can be undertaken regardless, until this is resolved we won’t have a firm launch date.

Some pictures of the equipment are below:

MuxCo Launches Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool Multiplex

We officially launched the multiplex today at events in Wrexham and Liverpool. Here’s the press release that accompanied the launch:


Today at Wrexham Football Ground, local politicians Ian Lucas MP and Lesley Griffiths AM switched on two new DAB digital radio transmitters for the Wrexham and Chester area, meanwhile in Liverpool, Juice FM’s Ian and Leanne turned on the transmitter at St John’s Beacon. The switch-on means that 2.2 million people in North East Wales, West Cheshire and Liverpool can now listen to BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Real Radio Wales, Nation Radio, Juice FM and Dee on DAB on DAB digital radio for the first time.

Nation Radio, Real Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales and Juice FM are currently available on FM and are launching on DAB in the area for the first time, while Dee on DAB is a new service being launched by Chester-based Dee 106.3. To receive the new stations, listeners with digital radios may have to re-tune their sets – find out more at

The switch-on was marked by a unique collaboration between public and commercial broadcasters, with BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales, Juice FM, Nation Radio and Dee on DAB, at the home of Wrexham FC and at Juice FMs studios. The switch-on also means that listeners will be able to follow Wrexham FC on DAB in the area for the first time on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, as they battle to regain their Football League status.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, who hosted the event, said: “This is great news for 2 million people across the Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool areas as until now they have not been able receive all their favourite local stations on DAB.”

Ian Lucas MP said: “As the town’s MP I’ve pushed for better radio coverage for Wrexham, so I’m honoured to be switching on the new digital radio transmitters today. This is excellent news for radio and football lovers in the area who will now be able to enjoy coverage of the top local matches in digital quality sound for the first time.”

Assembly Member for Wrexham, Lesley Griffiths said: “Boosting local coverage for Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool means the excellent range of local DAB digital radio stations can be received by even more listeners, at home, at work and in their car.”

The 3 new transmitters at Wrexham Rhos, Moel-y-Parc and St John’s Beacon take local digital radio coverage from zero to 74.3% of households, and bring the local DAB stations and the national BBC services for Wales on DAB digital radio to the area for the first time. Coverage for local and national services in Wales will be further expanded as Muxco will also be launching DAB services this year in Mid and West Wales, with North Wales to follow soon.

Local road coverage is also improved, adding hundreds of miles of roads into local DAB coverage for the first time. Digital radios are increasingly becoming available in cars and according to new industry data 35% of all new cars now have digital radio as standard. A third of all new Toyota vehicles, whose engine manufacturing plant is located at Deeside in North Wales, has digital radio as standard.

Digital radio in NE Wales and West Cheshire is popular with over 35% of homes having a DAB radio but until now listeners have been unable to listen to all their favourite local radio stations and the BBC’s national radio stations for Wales on DAB. The importance of local radio stations to listeners has been shown in research carried out by the radio industry regulator, Ofcom. Listeners can check which stations they can receive by inputting their postcode at

This switch-on comes as Government announce they will make a decision on digital radio switchover later in 2013. Digital listening in the UK represented 33% of all listening in Q4 2012 and in 2012 UK digital radio sales reached the second highest level ever with over 2 million sets sold. A cumulative total of 17 million digital radio sets has been sold to date in the UK.

The radio industry communications campaign featuring digital radio evangelist D Love, who encourages everyone to spread the love for digital radio, is currently on air on BBC TV, BBC radio and commercial radio.

Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring these services to digital radio in Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool. 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. We’ve also got exciting plans for further new radio stations over the coming months.”

Steve Austins, Editor of BBC Radio Wales, said: “We’re always looking to improve the way our listeners are able to receive BBC Radio Wales, so I’m delighted that we’re now available on digital radio in north east Wales. Today is Radio Wales Music Day – a celebration of the best of new Welsh talent – so we’re particularly pleased that listeners in this area will be able to hear this and all our programmes on their DAB radios.”

Lowri Davies, Editor, General Programmes for BBC Radio Cymru, said: “We’re delighted that BBC Radio Cymru is now available on digital radio in Wrexham and across most of north east Wales. We know that our listeners want to be able to listen to Welsh language content across all platforms, so today is a significant step forward.”

Graham Sarath, Station Director Juice FM said: “Boosting local coverage for Liverpool means the excellent range of local DAB digital radio stations can be received by even more listeners, at home, at work and in their car. It gives Juice listeners the opportunity to hear the station on another platform and one which I’m sure they’ll enjoy.”

Muxco WCL: Update 9th January 2013

Here’s a quick update for the New Year.  All the Ofcom paperwork is now submitted and in due course they will issue the Ensemble and Service IDs which will enable us to configure services.  The telecoms links for all but one of our services are now in.

To demonstrate some of the progress made, below are some pictures from the Moel Y Parc transmitter install.  Look closely and you can see the labels.

Muxco WCL: Update 20th December 2012

Work continues as we approach Christmas. The Wrexham Rhos and Moel-y-Parc transmitters are installed and powered-up. 3G Modems for telemetry at these sites are scheduled to be installed this week.  St John’s Beacon transmitter, antennas and rack are with the installation contractor, awaiting the OK for installation subject to permissions and weather.  This transmitter’s telecoms connectivity is currently providing longest delay.

On the service side the multiplexer rack is installed at Mux Centre and configuration is ongoing – we are awaiting service IDs from Ofcom and BBC which will determine how analogue and digital versions link up.   Encoders are installed and tested at Dee, Juice, Nation, Real Radio, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales.  SDSL links (the telecoms that get the station output to the multiplex) for Dee is installed, the links for other services start feeding in January.

Below is the multiplexer installed in its rack (on the left).  We’re trying to get some pictures of the transmitters and some other parts of the project so you can see how things are taking shape.  We hope to have more updates and pictures soon.


Would you like to broadcast on DAB?

As we develop our launch plans for the new multiplexes, if you are interested in providing a service on any multiplex, please let us know.

We have a MuxCo Service Provider Questionaire, which can be downloaded from this page.

The application process is:

  1. All applicants must complete the attached questionnaire.
  2. Only valid and completed application form will be assessed. Further information may be sought to assist in the evaluation of applications.
  3. Applications which we wish to enter a contract with, will be contacted as to this fact and will be sent a draft contract.
  4. Before entering into any contract, we will wish to seek confirmation of the following:
  • Sight of a valid DSPS licence
  • Confirmation of the applicant’s ability to pay the fees detailed in the contract. This would involve confirmation from a bank or financial adviser, and sight of a business plan.

Muxco Service Provider Questionnaire

Click here for more information about being service provider

The Digital Economy Act

Digital Economy Act
Summary of Radio Clauses

The Digital Economy Act entered Statute on 9th April

Like all legislation, the Act is incredibly complex, and like all radio legislation it is pretty impenetrable, not least because it does not simply set out a new framework, but instead amends three previous pieces of legislation to achieve its objectives (the 1990, 1996 and 2003 Acts).

Clause 30 – Digital Switchover
This clause sets the framework for digital radio switchover. It is an ‘empowering’ clause in that it allows the Secretary of State to set a date, but does not require one to be set, or
indicate when the date might be. The details of the clause are as follows:

  • The Secretary of State may set a date for digital switchover. There may be different dates for different services.  This is good news: the power rests with the Secretary of State, not Ofcom, and there can be different dates for different services.
  • Having set a date, the date may be withdrawn. An alternative date may then be set.
  • When deciding what date to set, the SofS must have regard to a report submitted by Ofcom or the BBC. That report must consider current and future: provision of digital services, coverage and digital set ownership. It must also involve consultation with all sectors of the industry as well as wider stakeholders including groups representing listeners.
  • Once the SofS has set a date, Ofcom must shorten the analogue licence of any service which will be part of the switchover process so that the licence end date is the same as the switchover date. At least two years notice must be given (unless the licence holder consents).

Clause 35 – Local radio multiplex services: frequency and licensed area
This clause is important as it gives Ofcom important flexibility to facilitate any changes that the industry might want to make to the local multiplex layer.

  • Ofcom may change the frequency of a local multiplex licence and may reduce/extend its licensed area.
  • However, it must first have received an application from the licence holder. The licence holder must have submitted a technical plan.
  • Ofcom must consult before granting its approval, and may only consent to this if it does not unacceptably narrow the range of programmes available.

Clause 36 – Renewal of radio multiplex licences
This clause allows a further rollover for multiplex licences. It does so by setting a framework to allow a new piece of (secondary) legislation to be brought forward.

  • The new piece of legislation may grant a rollover for a multiplex licence. It may also set out how long the roll-over is for, and other licence conditions.
  • The powers to bring forward this piece of secondary legislation expire at the end of 2015.

Follow the progress of the Bill at

Listening Tests

We recently attended some listening tests hosted by NGW to demonstrate a new codec for producing MPEG-2 audio for DAB, We also had the chance to listen to some DAB+ audio.

It was a very enjoyable experience although I admit I have never been very good at listening tests. I can’t always distinguish subtle difference in audio as easily as the eagle eared engineers, in part due to the fact that my hearing isn’t very sharp. In any case we have to be very careful when discussing subjective opinions about audio.

Listening to the audio from the different codecs, however, I could tell the difference – just. One was more lean and rangy – more treble, basically.

Now here is why subjective listening tests are to be viewed with caution. If you’re turning out jangly guitar rock you might quite like the sound quite lean and rangy. If however you’re running a talk service or playing a lot of acoustic numbers then that lean and rangy treble might be less welcome.

In addition, whatever we provide in terms of baseline parameters can be totally masked by a station’s processing – or lack of, and the quality of the same. There is excellent and disastrous unprocessed audio and the same goes for various types of processing. How a radio station presents its audio is very much up to them. So for us as multiplex operators, just picking one codec over another alone does not guarantee a subjective improvement for you the listener.

Luckily there is hard data we can refer to – data that demonstrates the actual frequency range that each codec achieves. A greater range gives services a broader platform to stand on. So subjective listening is valuable but is only part of the decision making process.

One day, two wins (three beers)

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.