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Every bit counts as Brit music station takes last Digital 2 slot

The last 24kbps of capacity on the Digital 2 DAB multiplex is being squeezed for one more station.

Union Jack, from the people behind the Jack FM brand, is officially launching at 11am, playing nothing but British music, but DAB listeners who can receive services such as Absolute 80s and Planet Rock should already be able to tune in to the station.

The station will only be audiable on DAB+ compatible radios in the around 75% of the UK covered by Digital 2's signal, but will otherwise also be available online.

Speaking about the launch of the new station, Donnach O’Driscoll, co-CEO of Union JACK, said:
“We have conducted a huge amount of research and the feedback confirmed that there is a massive gap in the radio market for a new national station which promotes the very of best British music.”


  1. That mux filled quick. Time for the broadcasters to switch to DAB+ to free up space. Or when/if we get a 3rd National Multiplex, all broadcasters must use DAB+ format. And a decent amount of kbps...

    1. I totally soon as they make the switch the better. We could have a few dozen stations using 64 Kbps...just on one multiplex

    2. BUT they won't! DAB+ will only result in lots more stations nobody needs at ever worse sound quality. 60 years after the start of FM, we have to put up with worse sound quality than they had in 1955!

  2. I am sure we will get a third multiplex at somepoint, I wonder how many On/ITV Digital and Freeview had to start with and that now has a few.

    Time to roll out Sound Digital starting early next year followed by a third mux as well as more stations on DAB+.

  3. There already are 3 National Multiplexes: BBC National, Digital 1 and Sound Digital. Presumably you both meant either a 3rd commercial National Multiplex or a 4th National Multiplex. The only way I can see a 4th National Multiplex happening is if Digital 1 was on 11D across the whole of the UK instead of being on 11D in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 12A in Scotland. That would inevitably involve more re-engineerinng work across many locally and nationally-used transmitter sites as many local DAB multiplexes would need to change frequency, in some cases change frequency again as some local multiplexes have already changed frequency once earlier this year and late last year. Changing the frequency of one local DAB multiplex could have a knock-on effect to neighbouring multiplexes in that they too may also have to change frequency if they are too close to other local DAB multiplexes on the same frequency if people's reception of their local multiplex is worsened by interference from a nearby mast at another neighbouring local multiplex.

    As for Sound Digital itself, I don't know if the other bid to run the new national multiplex if they planned to operate from more transmitters than Sound Digital but when you look at how sparsely populated the UK is with Sound Digital transmitters compared to Digital 1 transmitters, I think Sound Digital should only have been granted the licence if they agreed to operate from a few more transmitters as there are currently no Sound Digital transmitters in the following places:

    Western or Northern Scotland; North of Winter Hill through Lancashire, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders up to Darvel; North West, Mid and West Wales; South East Midlands, Southern Lincolnshire and Anglia region; South Kent or East Sussex; Southern Hampshire/West Sussex region; Devon and Cornwall; Most of Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset; Outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

    So I think at least another 15 transmitters are required and would be enough for now to cover a good extra portion of the UK.
    Here is a map of the current 45 Sound Digital DAB transmitters:

    Compare that map to this one of the UK coverage of Digital 1:

  4. Would have been better to have a rolling news service. 24kb souns awful

    1. No way there are enough ways of getting the news these days ! The sound quality is surprisingly not too bad but certainly needs an improvement...

  5. The reason that we now more stations broadcasting nationally via SDL National, even though it is to only 75% of the UK population, is because they broadcast from 45 sites at a lower cost than compared to Digital 1 and its over 160 transmitter sites covering 90% or even the over 400 sites the BBC National multiplex needs to reach nearly 98%.

    It is the cost of the number of transmitters that had previously held back many stations from going national prior to SDL coming on air.

    Broadcasting is a business and unless a station has a guaranteed source of income like the BBC, and an obligation to offer their services to the whole population, then as a commercial operator or a listener-supported station you have to be able to afford your transmission cost. It is as simple as that!


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