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4 million listeners to gain access to additional DAB stations

Listeners in East Anglia, the South West and parts of Scotland and Wales will benefit from a DAB coverage extension by Sound Digital.

As a result, 4 million additional listeners will gain access to Sound Digital's DAB stations such as Absolute 80s, Heat Radio, Planet Rock and Talk Radio, as well as DAB+ stations Fun Kids, Forces Radio BFBS and Magic Chilled on compatible devices.

There will also be a smaller coverage boost for the multiplex along the south coast around Eastbourne.

Sound Digital is a consortium between Arqiva, Bauer Media Group and Wireless Group. The coverage expansion announcement was made by Arqiva's Steve Holebrook at today's Radio Academy Radio Festival.

The UK's second digital commercial radio multiplex launched in 2016, reaching 75% of the UK population - significantly less than the coverage of the existing national BBC and Digital 1 DAB multiplexes.

So when a number of stations made the jump to Sound Digital in 2016, some areas lost out. Among them was Planet Rock, which suddenly become unavailable on DAB in places like East Anglia, where Jan Davies started a petition to protest about the loss of Planet Rock's signal.

Responding to the news, Jan told a516digital:
"This really is fantastic news for all those of us who listened to Planet Rock and nothing else. So many people bought DAB radios for the one station."

From the industry side, Steve Holebrook, Managing Director, Terrestrial Broadcast at Arqiva, said:
“This agreement to expand the reach of Sound Digital is further evidence of the continued success of DAB radio in the UK, and the fact that more and more people are making it their digital radio platform of choice. This week’s RAJAR figures are widely expected to show that for the first time ever, the majority of radio listening is through digital means and within that, DAB is by far the largest contributor. We are delighted to be bringing Sound Digital’s diverse range of content to almost 4 million new listeners for the first time.”

Go live is expected before the end of the year.

  • updated 17:26 15/05/2018