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BBC MW switch-off trials over for 2012

BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Kent have restored full service on their medium wave frequencies, three months after the services were taken off the air to assess listener feedback ahead of a proposed permanent switchoff of BBC Local Radio on AM frequencies in favour of FM and DAB digital radio.

Services on 1584 kHz in North Nottinghamshire returned last week along with local radio output in  Kent on 1602 kHz. Both switch-off trials had been extended way past their original end date, with similar but shorter trials having taken place in Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Hereford and Worcester and Essex.

In November it was reported in The Guardian that the BBC received 600 complaints during the switch-off trial involving the BBC Merseyside AM signal. It was not made clear whether the complaints included those out of the official service area. In contrast, it is thought that the extended trial in Nottinghamshire and parts of Kent was due to low response rates from listeners.

Under the BBC's "Delivering Quality First" efficiency measures, all but a handful of BBC local radio stations would be removed from AM, with stations such as BBC Radio Derby retaining an AM service due to FM and proposed DAB digital radio coverage not reaching the whole service area.
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  1. I totally fail to see why the BBC should turn the AM services on again after three months. Surely the former AM listeners will have found other ways of tuning in by now and will not go back to AM listening? And those who haven't found an alternative way of listening are now listening to other stations! When it comes to wasting money the BBC certainly does it better than anyone else.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately it's not that simple. The BBC Trust - who have the ultimate say in services launching and closing - still needs to give the AM switch off the green light. The results of the trial should give the BBC Trust enough evidence.


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