National DAB multiplex changes: Making way for more rock music

At midnight, changes to the national commercial DAB digital radio multiplex Digital One came into force. Alongside the rock-orientated Absolute Radio and Planet Rock, the changes give space to newcomer Team Rock. 

Absolute 80s and Planet Rock have switched to mono. The changes were approved by Ofcom last month, and means that only two stations on the national Digital One multiplex are in stereo.

Absolute 80s reduced its bandwidth to 64kbps and Planet Rock is now on air with 80kbps bandwidth. New rock radio station Team Rock appeared on the multiplex at 04:00, starting with test transmissions, ahead of a 'soft launch' later this month.

Listeners to Absolute 80s reacted negatively to the move. On the One Golden Square blog, the official Absolute Radio blog, listeners posted their response to the announcement that the station would be in mono.  User "Andy" posted on the blog: "Instead of trying to cram in so many stations, why not concentrate on the popular ones? – I believe Absolute 80s is meant to be the UK’s most popular commercial digital station? – so why screw it up?"

Absolute explained its decision stating that the move was due to "high demand for national digital radio bandwidth." However, the reduction in bandwidth will also have a cost-saving effect for the station.

Digital One
Block 11D England, Wales,
Northern Ireland (later in 2013)
Block 12A Scotland
Station line up - May 2013
Absolute Radio
Stereo 
112kbps
Absolute 80s
Mono 
64kbps
Absolute 90s
Mono
64kbps
BFBS Radio
Mono
80kbps
Classic FM
Stereo
128kbps*
Jazz FM
Mono 
64kbps 
Kiss
Mono
80kbps
Planet Rock
Mono 
80kbps
PremierChristian
Mono
64kbps
Smooth Radio
Mono
80kbps
Smooth 70s
Mono
80kbps
TalkSport
Mono
80kbps
Team Rock
Mono
80kbps
UCB
Mono
64kbps


updated: 17:13
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9 comments:

  1. Since I did a snapshot of Digital One at 00:30 this morning, Classic FM has gone down to 128 kbps stereo. The table above will be updated later this afternoon to reflect this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had a planet rock VIP subscription and noticed a significant drop in quality last week. Asked them if they'd dropped the bit rate. They said yep 80KBS and I said fine give me my money back and to be fair they did immediately. I'D HAVE FAR RATHER KEPT THE SUBSCRIPTION - REALLY PI55ED OFF ABOUT IT - THAT WAS MY FAVOURITE STATION AND NOW IT SOUNDS TERRIBLE

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's because of that depressing bit rate table I listen to satellite radio.
    Just as a snapshot of the stations under discussion the rates on satellite are:
    Classic fm 192 kbps
    Absolute 80's 128 kbps
    Absolute 128 kbps
    Absolute 90's 96 kbps
    Absolute CR 96 kbps
    Planet Rock 160 kbps
    If you haven't got a hi-fi to connect up to there are some cracking HD soundbars on the market with HDMI connections to the TV - just compare the sound with that being offered on DAB, there is no comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I bought a portable DAB, partly for the quality but mainly for the variety of stations. Now most of them are going to mono which spoils the listening experience. Classic FM is still available in stereo but you can get this on FM ( its in the name! ) but Planet Rock has never been on FM but now may as well be on AM as a big part of listening on headphones is the stereo! Why is modern music less important than classical? I could have spent 5 quid on a cheap radio and got what I am getting now. The government promote DAB as the way forward. Just shows that yet again, you should never trust a politician!
    is there a petition we can sign?

    ReplyDelete
  5. So we now have lookalike Teamrock which was the cause of Planet Rock going to MONO? Now I will not listen to either - the music was mixed in STEREO did anyone at OFCOM notice?
    DAB is filling up with tat while decent content gets dumbed down on audio qualiy.

    Now 4 Extra dramas in MONO, wtf?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Planet Rock went to MONO so that Teamrock could find space? I now refuse to listen to either.
    And all the BBC radio dramas that were lovingly mixed in STEREO are now being broadcast on Radio 4 Extra in MONO!

    What a corrupted medium DAB has become. Any chance of OFCOM's current management being sacked and replaced with people who care about radio?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I made a point of buying stereo DAB radios over the last 13 years. The change to mono and stereo only being available on satellite is like winding everything back to 2001. I am abandoning Planet Rock and DAB in general. We've all been conned.

    ReplyDelete

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