|Published in print and online by Derby Telegraph, 28/12/2013|
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As another year draws to a close, there is ongoing frustration from some radio listeners about the lack of local radio on DAB digital radio in some parts of the country.
On Saturday, the Derby Telegraph published a letter from one such listener, wanting more information from local DAB multiplex licence holder Now Digital about when local digital radio would be available in Derbyshire.
Now Digital is a subsidary of transmission infrastructure company Arqiva.
Arqiva has confirmed that the remaining local DAB multiplexes will launch within the next 24 months following an announcement by Communications Minister Ed Vaizey earlier this month.
Derbyshire is the last part of the Midlands where there is no provision to carry local radio on DAB. The latest news is that the Derbyshire DAB multiplex is due to go on air in Spring 2014, according to the BBC's reception website. Arqiva announced the arrival of the Derbyshire DAB multiplex in late 2012 as the last part of the Now Digital local DAB multiplex roll-out that included Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.
According to coverage maps on the Ofcom website, the Derbyshire DAB multiplex will, when fully rolled out across the county, allow BBC Radio Derby to properly reach the Chesterfield area for the first time. North East Derbyshire is in a BBC local radio anomaly - the BBC Local Live online service linked to BBC Radio Derby covers news, travel and sports results from the Chesterfield area for internet users. On FM, it's BBC Radio Sheffield that operates a relay serving Chesterfield, despite the station no longer officially serving "the North Midlands", as it once frequently proclaimed on-air . The Radio Derby FM service, broadcast from Drum Hill, Stanton Moor and Buxton does not properly reach the Chesterfield area due to the hills. MW reception from a mast at the opposite end of Derbyshire is subject to interference, especially at night.
Elsewhere in the UK
Other parts of the country where local DAB is absent, such as North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and North (West) Wales, are covered by licences owned by MuxCo. These multiplexes are also due to launch in the coming 24 months, but further details are still pending.