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New DAB stations reach respectable first listening figures

New DAB stations launched earlier this year have recorded respectable first listening figures, including stations using the newer DAB+ standard, only available on newer digital radios.

In March, Sound Digital officially launched a second multiplex of commercial radio to around three quarters of the UK, with new stations from Bauer, Wireless Group and smaller independent operators.

DAB+ station Magic Chilled reached 233,000 listeners in the three months to the end of June, according to the latest Rajar radio audience figures.

Jazz FM reached 597,000 listeners, up 6.6% year-on-year, after launching a DAB+ service across parts of the UK where the station had not been available on the DAB platform.

The new incarnation of Virgin Radio reached just over 400,000 listeners in its first months on air, while Mellow Magic was able to reach 380,000 listeners and TalkSPORT 2 285,000 listeners. Sister station TalkRADIO appealed to 224,000 listeners.

Of the other stations, including established stations that transferred across to the new Sound Digital multiplex, Heat reached 872,000 listeners, down from 878,000 in the previous quarter, but still up when counting the last 12 months as a whole. The drop came despite a boost in coverage for the station, moving from patchy local DAB coverage to Sound Digital. Planet Rock and Absolute 80s, who had previously been carried on national multiplex Digital 1 before the move to Sound Digital, fared worse, with significant reductions in the numbers listening.