DAB changes 1st March 2012: Retunes required.

Listeners to Capital, XFM, Heart, LBC and some listeners to Kiss on DAB digital radio will need to retune and reset their presets in order to continue listening to these stations following a change of service IDs on the DAB network. 

The affected stations are broadcast on a chain of various local and regional DAB ensembles or multiplexes across the UK, and some listeners may not receive all of the affected stations in a particular location.

The changes to DAB digital radio codes follows changes to FM RDS information implemented on Global Radio owned Capital and Heart this week. On DAB, Kiss listeners outside of Anglia and parts of the South East and Berkshire/Hampshire area are unaffected by today's changes.

The alterations to the service IDs have been necessary to tidy up allocations following the launch of new pseudo-national networks of radio stations in different regions. Many stations on the Heart network, for instance, were once individual independent local radio stations. Since then, the stations have rebranded as Heart and in some areas have merged with neighbouring Heart stations to form a regional version of Heart. On FM, this has required that the data used for alternative frequencies on RDS car radios is updated to reflect that once individual stations are now linked to neighbouring services.

The new, harmonised service identification on DAB will make it possible to introduce in-car following, where the car radio will be able to switch from Heart on one local digital radio multiplex to another version of Heart on another local digital radio multiplex as the car moves from one area of the country to the next.

On DAB, the "old version" of the affected stations will appear under the label "station moved" or similar. The "new version" is labelled correctly with the station's name. Listeners who have presets set to the old versions will be able to tell by the display label that they are receiving the old version and need to retune to the new version.

DAB listeners have until 27th March 2012 to make changes to their presets, otherwise they will hear a recorded announcement instead of the affected radio station(s). On 10th April 2012, listeners that have failed to retune will lose the warning announcement, with the radio possibly displaying a message such as "station off air", until they retune to regain the station(s).

Recommended reading:
Website of the organisation promoting Digital Radio in the UK with information about the changes and how to go about retuning and resetting presets.

Heart's announcement on the changes.

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