Licences to operate regional DAB in these areas expire today and are not being renewed in order to concentrate funds on improving the availability and station line up on local DAB multiplexes.
In the North East, commercial radio stations that are also on FM - Real and Smooth Radio - have now moved multiplexes, and therefore frequencies. Capital has also moved across to local multiplexes in the region.
Around the Severn Estuary, the frequency used by regional services on DAB will from tomorrow be used to broadcast the Cardiff and Newport (South Wales) local DAB radio multiplex, following approval by Ofcom. This multiplex will also carry regional radio stations displaced from the regional multiplex, including Real Radio and Nation Radio. Most transmitters currently broadcasting the Severn Estuary multiplex will be re-used for the Cardiff and Newport multiplex, meaning that listeners in the Heads of the Valleys area will be able to gain access to local DAB services for the first time, after a retune.
Listeners in Bristol and Swansea will also need to retune to continue listening to certain regional stations. In Bristol, Capital has already changed multiplexes and in Swansea, Real Radio Wales moves to the Swansea local multiplex.
However, the changes across the North East and Severn Estuary area mean that some stations will no longer be available on DAB. Stations including LBC and Real XS alongside Choice and some UCB stations are affected by the multiplex closure. In the Severn Estuary area, Kiss can continue to be heard on the national Digital One multiplex. XFM has already been dropped from the Teesside multiplex and is now to also disappear from DAB in the Severn Estuary area.
The changes are part of a major restructuring of DAB digital radio, removing the regional tier of the service across England and Wales. The changes will enable local DAB multiplexes, some of which have been underutilised, to extend their coverage. Frequencies will be reused to launch further local DAB services across more of England and Wales. Next month, regional DAB will cease in the West Midlands, and in September in North West England. In both regions, regional radio stations that are also carried on FM will shortly begin migrating across to local DAB multiplexes.
|A change of frequency and addition of transmitters is set to boost Cardiff DAB mux coverage|