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DAB Update: D2 station migration completes

The great migration of DAB digital radio stations this spring has concluded, with the last services still broadcasting on their old frequencies being switched off over the weekend.

It follows the official launch of the Sound Digital (Digital 2) multiplex two months ago, which has become the new home of stations including Absolute 80s, Heat, Kisstory, Planet Rock and UCB 2 alongside new services such as Mellow Magic and TalkRADIO.

Heat and Kisstory were removed from their old positions on various local DAB multiplexes at the end of 30th April. While Heat had replaced normal programming on their old frequencies with a retune message, Kisstory was still broadcasting its regular output until the end. Both stations are now exclusively available via the Sound Digital DAB multiplex. And as previously reported, the Stoke DAB multiplex is now down to three stations following the removal of Heat, Kisstory and UCB2 overnight.

24 hours earlier, the old slots for Absolute 80s and Planet Rock were turned off following the completion of their migration to Sound Digital.

The station changes have prompted numerous complaints from listeners, with the Sound Digital multiplex currently only reaching around 75% of the UK, leaving many without reception on DAB. Although Sound Digital does have clearance to extend its multiplex coverage into many areas currently without reception, including East Anglia, the multiplex operator aims to offer a low-cost option to stations wishing to be carried on DAB, which includes operating fewer transmitters, limiting coverage to areas where transmitters can reach the most people. For smaller stations, the cost of national distribution on the more widely available Digital 1 multiplex was said to be too expensive.

Kiss Fresh available in more areas
Making use of some of the freed-up capacity on local DAB multiplexes, Bauer Media's Kiss Fresh station has replaced Kisstory in areas where it controls the local DAB service - notably across northern England and central Scotland. In Birmingham and Sheffield, Absolute Classic Rock and Kiss Fresh have been added to fill the space left by Heat and Kisstory. In other areas, the former Heat and Kisstory capacity remains vacant.

Bing pops-up
Meanwhile, in the following areas, Pop Up Radio is carrying a special temporary service devoted to Bing Crosby: Ayrshire, Berkshire & North Hampshire, Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Coventry, Essex, Kent, Leicester, Norwich, Nottinghamshire, Peterborough, Plymouth, South East Wales, the Sussex Coast, Swindon, West Wiltshire and Wolverhampton.

Coverage boosts
With just a few months until the completion of the current DAB coverage expansion programme, DAB digital radio has been boosted during the past week in parts of East Anglia, with the addition of the Essex local DAB multiplex from transmitters at Braintree and Manningtree. Since Easter, BBC National DAB is now live from fill-in sites at Blythburgh Water Town (near Southwold) and in Felixstowe.

Elsewhere in the UK during April, local DAB became available from Mow Cop, boosting coverage north of Stoke. A new transmitter at Membury is improving reception of the N Hants & Berkshire DAB service.

Awaaz FM has been removed from the Portsmouth DAB trial multiplex. It had been broadcasting as a DAB+ service, only available on newer compatible digital radios. Awaaz continues online.

What can I get on DAB?
Listeners can check which stations are now available in their areas via the official DAB postcode checker. A retune, full rescan or "rest of world" tune  may be required in otder to receive all available stations. More information about retuning and resetting your presets when stations change frequency are available here...