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BBC FM reshuffle in Wales

The BBC is making changes to the availability of BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 3 in a move that will affect listeners in Wales and parts of England.

The move confirmed today will extend FM coverage of BBC Radio Wales to an additional 400,000 people across Wales and will take place on Wednesday 24th October 2018. Listeners in North East and Mid Wales are set to benefit most from the expansion, which has been in planning for over a year; it was first announced in June 2017.

The changes will be achieved by using a small number of existing FM frequencies currently allocated to BBC Radio 3. Radio 3 will continue to be available to 92% of households in Wales on FM as well as its existing availability on DAB radio, television and online. The BBC is unable to acquire additional frequencies to enable both stations to continue on FM as before.

In a statement the BBC says that "significantly more people will gain Radio Wales than will lose Radio 3 as a result of these changes, generally as a result of overspill reception from high power Radio 3 transmitters in England." BBC Radio Wales' FM coverage will jump from 79 to 91% of households in Wales as a result.

Retune message
The BBC says that at some larger transmitters, Radio 3 will be replaced by a recorded announcement in the week leading up to the 24th October. This will tell listeners about the change and provide information on how to continue listening to Radio 3.

A few households will lose Radio 3 altogether from any transmitter and will need to listen via the internet, DAB (where available) or Digital TV.

Listeners in England
Some Radio 3 listeners in some parts of Shropshire, Cheshire and Merseyside will need to re-tune to continue listening to BBC Radio 3, either by using another FM frequency, or by listening on DAB.

Alternative BBC Radio 3 frequencies
Many listeners, particularly along the North Wales coast and in Shropshire, Cheshire and Merseyside, can to re-tune to an alternative FM frequency:
  • Cheshire; Merseyside; Flintshire; Wrexham County Borough 91.5 MHz 
  • Shropshire; Staffordshire 90.5 MHz FM
  • North Wales coast 92.0 MHz FM 
Elsewhere in Wales, BBC Radio 3 remains on the following frequencies:
  • South East Wales 92.1 MHz FM
  • Carmarthenshire 90.6 MHz FM
  • Pembrokeshire 91.5 MHz FM
  • Cardigan Bay 90.9 MHz FM
  • Conwy 92.0 MHz FM

Areas that will profit from the boost in coverage of BBC Radio Wales
Areas set to benefit from the boost to Radio Wales on FM include Welshpool, Llandrindod Wells, Ruthin, Brecon and the A55 and A470 road networks. In total, more than 550 miles of road in Wales will be covered for the first time. Work has been ongoing on over 30 transmitters to ensure minimum disruption to radio listeners.

Colin Paterson, Editor of BBC Radio Wales, said:
“As we approach our fortieth birthday celebrations next month, this exciting development is set to benefit BBC Radio Wales listeners in many parts of Wales and make it a national service in every sense. We know that in the past some Radio Wales listeners have been frustrated by FM blackspots. These changes mean if you’re at home or in the car, more listeners than ever can tune in to enjoy the unique mix of entertainment, music and sport Radio Wales has to offer.”

Radio Wales, Wales' national station in English, started life on 13 November 1978. It broadcasts a unique mix of quality news, sport, culture, entertainment and live events to the people of Wales. Over recent years the station has been attracting the biggest names in broadcasting, producing more content from different parts of Wales and working with partners to bring great programmes to audiences across the country.

Until now, many listeners have only been able to listen to the station via AM, on 882kHz from a high powered transmitter at Washford, Somerset.

Frequency switch from BBC Radio 3 to BBC Radio Wales on FM:
FM frequency (MHz) and transmitter name
 90.2 Clyro
 90.3 Ffestiniog
 90.3 Deiniolen
 90.3 Llanidloes
 90.4 Betws-Y-Coed
 90.4 Rheola
 90.5 Llwyn-Onn
 90.6 Penmaen Rhos
 90.7 Cwmafan
 90.8 Llangeinor
 90.8 Llyswen
 91.1 Llangollen
 91.1 Brecon
 91.1 Carmarthen
 91.2 Abertillery
 91.2 Croeserw
 91.3 Conwy
 91.3 Llanfyllin
 91.3 Llandrindod Wells
 91.4 Ogmore Vale
 91.4 Pontypool
 91.5 Rhymney
 91.6 Llandecwyn
 91.6 Machynlleth
 91.7 Pennar
 91.8 Long Mountain
 91.8 Ferndale
 91.9 Mynydd Pencarreg
 92.0 Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant
 92.3 Dolgellau
 92.3 Llandyfriog
 92.3 Llandinam

Updated 15/10/2018 22:10 with additional frequency information.