Retune for Plymouth digital radio listeners

Richard Spencer, Global; Tristan Hunkin, UKRD; Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Dr John Mahony; Isha Pit, UKRD; Emma Clements, BBC Radio Devon
  • New frequency and transmitters for Plymouth DAB. Further expansion in March 2016.

As scheduled, local DAB digital radio services in and around Plymouth switched to a new frequency this morning, meaning DAB listeners in the area need to retune to continue listening to some stations, including BBC Radio Devon, Pirate Oldies and Heart.

Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Dr John Mahony, pressed the big green retune switch at 8.30am, marking the moment for listeners to retune their DAB digital radios and starting the process of turning on the new digital transmitters, which will bring local BBC and commercial stations - BBC Radio Devon, Heart, Smooth, Capital, Gold, Pirate Oldies and Kiss - to 100,000 more listeners in the Plymouth area for the first time, and will be completed by the end of the week.

Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Dr John Mahony, said:
“Plymouth is served by a great variety of local stations. I am delighted that now even more listeners in Plymouth will be able to hear these important and well-loved stations on digital radio and encourage everyone to retune their radios this morning.”

What's changed:

  • In and around Plymouth, local DAB stations have moved to VHF Block 12D. Listeners need to retune their radios and adjust any presets set to local DAB stations.
  • Today, a new transmitter at North Hessary Tor above Tavistock was switched on to boost coverage across more of South West Devon.
  • Tomorrow, a new transmitter at Ivybridge will go live, improving reception of local DAB services south of Dartmoor
  • On Friday, a new transmitter at Torpoint (Poron) will go live, improving reception around Torpoint.
  • In all cases, local DAB is found on VHF Block 12D.
  • In March 2016, a final transmitter at Kingsbridge will go live, improving reception along parts of the south Devon coast.

Over 51% of homes in Devon have a DAB digital radio, and 42.2% of radio listening hours are to digital platforms [Source: Q3 2015RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB]. Until now many listeners in Plymouth have not been able to receive any of their local stations via DAB digital radio.

The new Plymouth transmitters, which have been built by communications infrastructure company, Arqiva, are part of an industry and Government programme of work that aims to expand the coverage and listening to DAB digital radio. Government, BBC and commercial radio have agreed plans to build a further 182 local DAB transmitters to extend local DAB coverage to more than 90% of the population which will bring eight million listeners across the UK into coverage and will add over 6,700 km of roads.

Paul Eaton, Director of Digital Radio, Arqiva, said: 
“I am delighted that the local DAB coverage expansion programme is continuing with Plymouth being the latest area to receive a digital boost. We look forward to playing our part in expanding local DAB coverage to the level of commercial radio FM coverage.”

  • Pictured above, left to right: Richard Spencer, Global; Tristan Hunkin, UKRD; Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Dr John Mahony; Isha Pit, UKRD; Emma Clements, BBC Radio Devon
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