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Manchester small-scale mux to make DAB+ switch

Niocast, small-scale DAB operator for Manchester has confirmed it will be switching to an all-DAB+ service at the end of the month.

The switch to DAB+ will enable Niocast to carry 28 stations. It's believed the move will make the small-scale DAB service the most populated multiplex in the world.

The new stations include Manchester stations Vinejuice, Radio Diamond and Trafford Sound; community stations Fever FM, Radio Sangam and Flame CCR; Mi-Soul; nineties revival station NonStop90s; and Likwid - described as ‘free flowing music to open your mind!’.

Announcing the additional nine services, Niocast Digital’s Director of Operations, David Duffy said:
“We are delighted to be able to give more services the opportunity to bring their content to listeners via our DAB platform. We are now adding to the variety and choice of listening in Manchester with another nine fantastically diverse radio stations”.

The newer DAB+ standard makes it possible to offer more stations, with improved sound quality, per multiplex. Only DAB radios bearing the "Digital Radio Tick Mark" will be able to decode DAB+ signals. The revised standard is now the norm in most neighbouring countries, with small-scale DAB multiplex operators leading the way in its adoption in the UK.

Small-scale DAB offers operators the chance to offer low cost distribution on DAB across a smaller geographical area than traditional DAB multiplexes. There are currently 10 such multiplexes on air in the UK, with recently passed legislation paving the way for more small-scale DAB multiplexes to be licenced by Ofcom. The Manchester small-scale multiplex is the second UK multiplex to switch to all-DAB+ broadcasts, following in the footsteps of the Brighton multiplex which switched in March.