Covering 75% of the UK population from 45 transmitters, placeholders for the new stations will begin to appear on 15th February, but listeners will need a DAB+ compatible radio to listen to the full set of stations, including Jazz FM, which has confirmed it will be available in stereo. Jazz FM was pulled from national DAB in 2013, and its impending launch on Sound Digital has already been welcomed by listeners.
The multiplex, known previously as Digital 2, has been testing on VHF Block 11A from a number of transmitters during the past few weeks, further transmitters are due to go live ahead of the launch.
Stations launching on Sound Digital are:
- Virgin Radio
- Share Radio (replaces TalkBusiness in the original bid for the licence)
- Mellow Magic
- Magic Chilled (new) DAB+
- Absolute 80s (moving from its current slot on Digital 1)
- Kisstory (moving from its slots on various local DAB services)
- heat radio (moving from its slots on various local DAB services)
- Planet Rock (moving from its current slot on Digital 1)
- Sunrise Radio
- Awesome Radio (new - from Asian Sound Radio)
- UCB2 (the recently renamed station, moving from its slots on various local DAB services)
- Premier Christian Radio (moving from its current slot on Digital 1)
- Premier Praise! (new)
- Panjab Radio
- Fun Kids (existing London DAB frequency remains) DAB+
- Jazz FM DAB+
The changes will increase coverage of stations such as Kisstory and Heat, but reduce coverage of national favourite Absolute 80 as well as Planet Rock and Premier Christian Radio.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale will officially switch the multiplex on a day later, at a special event on 1st March 2016, an event that will trigger a big retune campaign to get listeners tuned in to the new stations.
|Culture Secretary John Whittingdale|
Due to the changes, freed up capacity on Digital 1 will be used by Global Radio for its new Heart Extra radio station.