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Cornwall DAB boost celebrated in St Austell

A special event has been held to promote the recent coverage boost for DAB digital radio across Cornwall.

At a "switch-on" event held in Charlestown Primary School in St Austell this morning, Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay and Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, pressed the big green digital radio switch at 8:45am to signify the expansion of local DAB coverage in St Austell and across Cornwall in front of pupils and staff from Charlestown Primary School and representatives and presenters from Cornwall’s local radio stations. 

The expansion of coverage means that many listeners can now receive six further radio stations on DAB digital radio for the first time - they are: BBC Radio Cornwall, Heart South West, Pirate FM, digital-only station My Music Radio, as well as national stations Capital and Gold, all in stereo.

The new transmitters have transformed DAB digital radio coverage throughout Cornwall. Nine new transmitters have launched in the past ten months - including one serving St Austell where this morning’s celebration took place- and a final transmitter will launch in Bude in the coming weeks.

The ten transmitters bring the county’s popular local stations to 325,000 more listeners on DAB digital radio in Cornwall and have expanded local DAB coverage to 91% of households from 41%.

Although DAB digital radios are in over 55% of homes in Cornwall and almost 90% of new cars many listeners in Cornwall were unable to receive their favourite local stations on DAB digital radio before the new transmitters, which have been built by communications infrastructure company Arqiva, launched.

Listeners in Cornwall are encouraged to retune their digital radios to ensure they receive all their available stations, including the county’s local stations, on DAB.

Cornwall’s ten new digital transmitters are part a programme of work co-funded by Government, BBC and commercial multiplex operators to expand coverage of local DAB stations from 75% to 90% of UK households, in line with FM coverage for commercial radio. Over 200 local DAB transmitters have been built nationwide and the local DAB expansion programme is largely complete with the last remaining few transmitters to launch by the summer. In total, an additional 10 million adults and over 4,000 miles of the UK road network have been brought into coverage for local DAB stations.

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, said: 
“Today we are celebrating the launch of not just one, but ten transmitters, which have collectively transformed the coverage of local stations on DAB digital radio across the county. I am delighted that a further 325,000 listeners across Cornwall will now be able to hear these much-loved stations, which play such an important role in serving the local community, on digital radio.”

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, said: 
“Local radio is very popular in Cornwall, keeping listeners up to date with the news, sport and entertainment that matters to them. Today’s event signifies a transformation in the availability of local digital radio right across the county, including in Falmouth and Truro where listeners have benefitted from a digital radio boost.”

Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said: 
“This is a big day for radio and a big day for Cornwall. Now over 90% of households in the county will be able to receive their favourite local radio station on DAB digital radio – many for the first time. We are seeing a long term transition to digital radio and digital listening and it’s great that Cornwall is part of this digital revolution.”

Technical information
Local DAB stations broadcast on VHF Block 11B in Cornwall, but the majority of listeners just need to rescan their DAB radios to ensure all available stations are in their station list. National DAB services have differing levels of coverage, with the BBC National DAB multiplex carrying national stations having the greatest level of coverage.

Pre-2016 local DAB transmitters in Cornwall:
  • Caradon Hill
  • Redruth 

Ten new transmitters in Cornwall:
  • Bude (coming soon)
  • Gulval 
  • Helston
  • North Hessary Tor 
  • Penaligon Down 
  • St Austell 
  • St Just 
  • St Mawes Water Tower 
  • Treencreek 
  • Truro 

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