Global Radio to push DAB and launch Heart Extra in 2015

  • Global takes more capacity on the Digital One national DAB multiplex.
  • "Service Following" to roll-out on local DAB in 2015.

Global Radio, owner of radio stations including Heart, LBC and Capital, has announced that it is taking significant capacity on the national Digital One DAB digital radio multiplex next year, which will allow it to launch further stations.

Among them is the long anticipated "Heart Extra", which would make the Heart brand available in areas where the main Heart service is not available on FM and/or DAB.

Later this month, Global will introduce ‘Smooth Extra’, starting 27 December 2014.  In the past year, Global has launched Capital XTRA and LBC on Digital One, alongside its existing Classic FM service.

The new deal with the Arqiva owned Digital One sees Global take significant capacity nationally on Digital 1, which it says will  cement "its brand led strategy and increasing its national digital services to five, with more to come."

Global has also reaffirmed its commitment to investing in local DAB with the group investing in the build-out of the local DAB transmission network, which will add coverage for its main stations, Heart, Capital and Smooth.  This is part of the joint commitment to fund local DAB coverage, announced by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, in 2012.

The media group is also set to introduce "service following" on local DAB - this will facilitate seamless listening as people drive between local multiplexes, without a break in service and without drivers having to manually retune from one station or multiplex, to another.  "Service following" is currently in final testing and launches on the vast majority of local DAB multiplexes in early 2015.

Ashley Tabor, founder & executive president of Global, said: “Now is a really exciting time as DAB digital radio gathers pace.  Global is committing significant investment in the D1 digital platform; the only national commercial DAB multiplex with near true national coverage.  We’re launching new digital only stations, all of which are brand extensions, and thus extending some of our most loved brands nationally on digital radio.”

He continued: “We’re also continuing to invest heavily in local DAB coverage, adding coverage for our core brands, Heart, Capital and Smooth. We want all our listeners to be able to enjoy their local stations on DAB as well as our national ones.”

Ofcom is currently advertising a second national commercial DAB multiplex, with Global Radio's key competitors known to be interested in running the multiplex. Today's news that Global is taking "significant capacity" on Digital One creates speculation that rival groups such as Bauer (Absolute, Magic, Kiss) and UTV Media (TalkSport) will focus on moving/launching services on the second multiplex, while Global takes over more of Digital One's capacity. As Digital One is full, details of which service(s) will have to move to make way for Heart Extra will need to be confirmed.

In the meantime, Bauer's Magic is due to launch nationwide next month on Digital One, replacing Absolute Radio 90s.

minor revision: 10/12/2014 20:16
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  1. DAB is a failed technology, and I include DAB+ in that. We should stop spending more money on it. It will not be long before it is completely superceded by what is possible on mobile broadband.


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