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Where will the 162 new BBC DAB transmitters be?

The BBC has announced today a two-year plan to bring national BBC DAB to 2 million more people - to bring BBC national DAB coverage to above 97%.

We should not lose sight of the fact that overwhelmingly our audiences still come to our services through broadcast platforms  Photograph: Shutterstock
We should not lose sight of the fact that overwhelmingly our audiences still come to our services through broadcast platforms Photograph: Shutterstock
published on UK Free TV

Alix Pryde, Director of BBC Distribution, has written a blog post today explaining where the Making Waves: extending the BBC digital radio coverage to a further 2 million people

To quote Dr Pryde,

For radio, nearly 90% of listening hours are delivered through FM, AM, and digital (DAB), equating to 900 million hours of radio each week in round numbers; a staggering figure. It's the same for TV; some 98% of viewing is to live or time-shifted programmes which were delivered to the home on satellite, cable, or Freeview.

So I am making the point that we have to balance our critical investment in the future with investment in broadcast platforms, in order that they are worthy as the nation's favourite places to watch and listen to our services.

You might be wondering what this means for BBC Local Radio or our radio services for the Nations. Not a lot, I'm sorry to say. As you might know, our Local Radio services and our radio services for the Nations are carried in capacity which we buy from a commercial multiplex operator in each area. The expansion of the commercial multiplexes is tied up with the Government's digital radio action plan. There is extensive work going on across the industry on that front and we expect some more news at the end of this year. So, for now at least, this phase of network expansion covers only the BBC's UK-wide services.

The locations are listed as

BBC DAB Phase 4 by area, number of transmitters in parentheses, including principal towns/villages

City-centre boosts

Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Coventry, Glasgow, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, Oxford and Plymouth


Berkshire (2) - Wokingham, Maidenhead
Buckinghamshire (3) - Chesham, Aylesbury, High Wycombe
Cambridgeshire (1) - Wisbech
Cornwall (2) - St Just, St Erth
County Durham (1) - Weardale Valley
Cumbria (1) - Barrow-in-Furness
Derbyshire (6) - Ashbourne, Glossop, Chapel-en-le-Frith
Devon (10) - Ashburton, Bampton, Beer, Brixham, Dartmouth
Dorset (3) - Lyme Regis, Blandford Forum
Essex (2) - Braintree, Harlow
Gloucestershire (2) - Stow-on-the-Wold
Hampshire (4)
Hertfordshire (2) - Letchworth, Stevenage
Isle of Wight (1) - Ventnor
Kent (4) - Folkestone, Faversham, Dover, Deal
Lancashire (5) - Darwen, Blackpool, Whalley, Whitworth
Lincolnshire (7) - Boston, Bourne, Grantham, Scunthorpe, Skegness
Norfolk (11) - Brandon, Fakenham, Downham Market, Kings Lynn, Thetford, Wells-next-the-Sea
North Yorkshire (3) - Harrogate, Pateley Bridge, Skipton
Northampton (1)
Northumberland (3) - Haydon Bridge, Hexham, Alnmouth, Alnwick
Oxfordshire (1) - Banbury
Redcar and Cleveland (1) - Skinningrove
Shropshire (4) - Bishop's Castle, Church Stretton, Ludlow, Oswestry
Somerset (2) - Chard, Weston-super-Mare
South Yorkshire (1) - Stocksbridge
Suffolk (7) - Southwold, Bungay, Felixstowe, Sudbury, Ipswich
Surrey (4) - Caterham, Haslemere, Dorking, Leatherhead
West Sussex (3) - Crawley, East Grinstead
East Sussex (2) - Rye, Eastbourne
Teeside (1) - Barnard Castle
West Yorkshire (4) - Hebden Bridge, Calder Valley
Worcestershire (1)


Aberdeenshire (3)
Argyll and Bute (2), including Islay
Borders (3) - Innerleithen, Jedburgh, Peebles
Dumfries and Galloway (4) - Kirkconnel, Langholm, Moffat, Thornhill
Ross-shire and the isles (1)
Isle of Skye (1)
Perthshire (1) - Montrose
South Ayrshire (2)
South Lanarkshire (1)


Bridgend (1)
Camarthenshire (1) - Kidwelly
Ceredigion (2) - Lampeter, Newcastle Emlyn
Conwy (1)
North Anglesey (1)
Flintshire (1)
Neath Port Talbot (1)
North Wales (5) - Deiniolen, Dolgellau, Cefn Mawr, Wrexham
Pembrokeshire (2) - Haverfordwest, Tenby
Powys (4) - Brecon, Hay-on-Wye, Llanidloes, Machynlleth
South Wales (1) - Aberdare
Swansea (1)

Northern Ireland

Ballycastle (1)
Bangor (1)
Newtownards (1)

Channel Islands

Guernsey (1)

Isle of Man

Ramsey (1)
Port St Mary (1)

I will integrate these locations into the UK Free TV DAB system soon.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Trevor Harris

12:27 AM

Actually I believe only Radio 3 transmits stereo some of the time. Every other station uses a fake stereo effect called joint stereo or mono.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB flag

9:22 PM

Trevor Harris: Interesting. I have occasionally wondered if the jack-plug on my phones was at fault when DAB stations didn't sound as stereo should - or does on a live broadcast, such as the Proms.

Anyone have authoritative expertise on this?

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michael's 872 posts GB flag
10:28 PM

If Planet Rock is not stereo, then it's very good fake. It's not that long ago that they played a track with different vocals coming from the left and right speakers, just like on the original recording.

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Ian's 17 posts GB flag
Trevor Harris

11:44 PM

Just checked the info on my radio Planet Rock is 80kb/s, MP2, Mono. From what I can make out stereo was dropped in April. Listening to it sounds mono, and very what I would call muddy. Just listened to "Type O Negative - Cinnamon Girl" on my PC to compare with DAB. The difference was increadable. Mind you I have some B&W MM1's speakers attached to my pc. The internet stream is only 48kb/s AAC-HE but sounds much better than DAB. It may be in joint stereo.

What is your radio model. Your radio might have some processing in it to simulate stereo or you might be just hearing it because you are familiar with what it should sound like.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 23 October 2013

9:52 AM


All broadcasts of the Proms are 192kbps discrete stereo (on BBC Radio 3).

BBC Radio 3 is always at this bit rate after 5pm. When 5 Live Sports Extra is on the air before 5pm Radio 3 drops to 160kbps joint stereo.


Planet Rock on DAB is currently in mono. If you're in the West Midlands you might be listening on 105.2FM, which is in stereo.

80kbps mono is the same quality as 160kbps stereo - the only difference is the lack of stereo.

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Mark's 181 posts GB flag

7:38 PM

Even my crystal set would sound superb on B&W speakers - with a little help from a hifi amp...

Music on DAB should be in genuine stereo and at bitrates that sound at least as good as FM on the same speakers or headphones. But it ain't necessarily so... Officialdom seems to concentrate on DAB coverage one day equally FM, without the same passion for audio quality. Hmmm...

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michael's 872 posts GB flag
Saturday, 26 October 2013
Dave E
10:03 PM

I'm extremely surprised that 40.1% of new cars have DAB radios - I looked at some new Mazdas last week and none seemed to have it fitted as "standard"

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Dave E's 19 posts GB flag

11:22 PM

Dave E: DAB is a cost, like any other, so perhaps some of the more basic models have them as an 'extra'.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag

11:28 PM

I note with dismay that Wiltshire, where I live, will not have any new DAB transmitters so large parts of the county will remain with poor or no service still.

As far as new cars being fitted with DAB radios 'as standard', I believe this to be an error in how the research was conducted. Many new cars have several options of trim and equipment levels and some may offer an optional DAB radio in some trim packs - but very few actually offer it as 'standard equipment' on all models and trim levels. It may well be that some 40% of cars offered for sale have an option to have a DAB radio as part of a trim pack.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Sunday, 27 October 2013

12:16 AM

Have heard the Dutch have ditched DAB and all DAB sets like ours now useless and they gone onto DAB+ and new sets required to be bought.

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David's 306 posts GB flag
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