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Gloucester, Hereford and Worcestershire local DAB launch plans revealed

Local radio on DAB in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire has today moved closer to reality with the announcement of firm plans to launch two local DAB multiplexes this year.

DAB multiplex operator MuxCo today confirmed that a new multiplex serving Gloucestershire is expected to commence test transmissions this June in a change to some earlier plans, which had envisaged a joint multiplex with Hereford and Worcester.

The Gloucestershire multiplex will carry BBC Gloucester, Nation Radio and Sunshine Radio according to MuxCo, broadcasting from Churchdown Hill and Stockend Wood transmitters to start with. Additional transmitters at Cirencester and Icombe Hill are to launch towards the end of 2013.

A separate multiplex serving Herefordshire and Worcestershire will launch later this year using the frequency block (VHF block 12A) currently being used by the MXR West Midlands multiplex, which is set to close this August. The move creates capacity for stations displaced from the MXR regional multiplex, which is currently available in parts of Worcestershire, should radio stations wish to remain available on DAB locally.

Stations currently confirmed as joining the Hereford and Worcester multiplex are: BBC Hereford & Worcester, Free Radio, Sunshine Radio and Nation Radio.

The new Hereford and Worcester multiplex will use the current MXR transmitter at Bromsgrove, boosting reception of local DAB radio for Worcestershire into the outskirts of Birmingham and along the M5 motorway. Other transmitters confirmed by MuxCo are at Ridge Hill and Malvern.

The Hereford and Worcester multiplex is expected to start tests in September.

Meanwhile, MuxCo is preparing to start test transmissions on its first local DAB multiplex serving Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool next week. According to the MuxCo website, the operator is looking at starting tests from Moel Y Parc and Wrexham Rhos transmitters on the 13th March.

updated 18:03
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