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How do the two new national DAB radio bids compare?

We could have another dozen national DAB radio stations transmitting in the next two years. How do the bids from Listen2Digital and Sound Digital stack up?

Listen2Digital or Sound Digital?   Photograph: Shutterstock
Listen2Digital or Sound Digital? Photograph: Shutterstock
published on UK Free TV

It is interesting to see the two new bids from the second national DAB multiplex

Now that the first one is full, and that in London there are the other full multiplexes, it is instructive to see what the market has discovered about the digital radio listener.

Contrary to some expectations – especially of the BBC – listeners are interested in having a wide selections of radio stations, rather than audiophile levels of quality.

With the DAB system now also proving local radio to most of the UK, and DAB listening overtaking analogue, the launch of national 2 would seem timely.

Is worth recalling that Channel 4 previously won the licence and cancelled their service in 2008 due to the sudden recession.

There’s not much between the two bids in terms of transmitters (Listen2Digital 42, Sound Digital 45) but L2D promises much better coverage in terms of homes and roads.

ServiceProviderCurrent DABFreeviewSky
Absolute 80sBauer RadioSDNational 1no0200
British Muslim RadioAsian Sound RadioSDNEW SERVICEnono
Chris CountryChris Country BroadcastingL2DONLINE ONLYnono
DAB+ channelTBCSDnonono
Fun KidsChildren's Radio UKL2DLondon 3nono
GaydioGaydio DigitalL2DLondon 3 +2nono
GEMOrion MediaL2DDerbyshire +2nono
Heat RadioBauer RadioSDLondon 1 +21716no
Jazz FMJazz FM InvestmentsSDLondon 2no0202
KisstoryBauer RadioSDLondon 2 +20714no
Magic MellowBauer RadioSDnonono
NationTown & Country BroadcastingL2DNorth West Walesnono
Panjab RadioPanjab RadioL2Dnono0130
Planet RockBauer RadioSDNational 1no0110
Premier GospelPremier Christian CommunicationsL2DLondon 3nono
Premier RadioPremier Christian CommunicationsL2D and ProposedNational 1725no
RT Radio 1RTL2DIrelandno0160
SabrasSabras SoundL2DLeicestershirenono
Share RadioShare RadioL2DLondon 3nono
Sunrise RadioSunrise Radio (London)SDBradfrd&Huddersf +3nono
talkBUSINESSUTV MediaSDNEW SERVICEnono
talkRADIOUTV MediaSDNEW SERVICEnono
talkSPORT 2UTV MediaSDNEW SERVICEnono
TBC contemporary hitsConfidentialL2DNEW SERVICEnono
TBC foodUSP/ConfidentialL2DNEW SERVICEnono
TBC jazzConfidentialL2DNEW SERVICEnono
TBC modern rockConfidentialL2DNEW SERVICEnono
TBC sport radioConfidentialL2DNEW SERVICEnono
UCB InspirationalUnited Christian BroadcastersSDLondon 2 +2no0136
Upload RadioFolder MediaL2DNEW SERVICEnono
Virgin RadioUTV MediaSDNEW SERVICEnono
WirelessAge UKL2DLondon 3nono

Both bids have six stations not on air at this time.

Sound Digital is 40% Arqiva, 30% Bauer, 30% UTV.  

Listen2Digital is 45% Orion Media, 35% Babcock Communications, 20% others. 

Also of note this time: no moving of any BBC services to this multiplex. 



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In this section
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Comments
Friday, 13 February 2015
MikeP
7:32 PM

Mark

That's not how the data is being presented in the media. I am always wary of such figures as they get 'massaged' out of all recognition and the originbal data gets 'lost' amongst the spin.

link to this
MikeP's 1,022 posts Gold Gold GB
Sunday, 15 February 2015
C
Chris Barker
10:52 AM

Why bother with another so-called 'National' multiplex when there are still large gaps in National 1's coverage?
I can listen to Planet Rock all the way up the M5 and M6 from Taunton to Kendal, but here in Somerset, just outside Yeovil, a town of 40,000 people, I can SEE the local Coker Hill DAB transmitter, but it only transmits BBC stations, most of which I can hear with superior quality on FM.
How will either of these bids affect or improve that situation?

link to this
Chris Barker's 2 posts GB
M
Mark
4:28 PM

Chris Barker: You can only hear 4 of the 11 BBC national stations on FM. Coker Hill will also transmit the Somerset local mux by September 2016, including BBC Somerset.

Digital 1 will also add more transmitters by the end of 2016, but the sites are not yet known. This is unaffected by the Digital 2 bids.

link to this
Mark's 181 posts Silver Silver GB
Monday, 16 February 2015
B
Bob
9:43 AM Chester

So, when FM is is restricted to local radio and we are all drowning in "choice", will the Murdoch empire and its friends and clients permit us to hear anything other than pop music, adverts and sport?

link to this
Bob's 2 posts GB
Bob's: Freeview map terrain plot frequency data R&TI Service digitaluk trade DAB coverage
Saturday, 21 February 2015
T
trevorjharrris
10:14 AM

As I have been saying for decades FM national stations will not be turned off for the foreseeable future.

Just look at the complaints the BBC got when they switched off some of their AAC radio streams recently. The BBC changed to HLS streaming which won't work with most internet radios. They forgot to notify many radio manufactures who are now striving to support the streams. They didn't consult radio for the blind and so many blind people have been cut off from radio.

link to this
trevorjharrris's 348 posts Gold Gold GB
Thursday, 5 March 2015
J Peter Wilson
3:14 PM

Chris Barker: Ofcom are currently evaluating the two bids for the Digital 2 Multiplex Licence (D2) which is a national licence whose national coverage will be around 70 to 80% of the UK population.
It therefore will not have as comprehensive coverage as the BBC's national multiplex (12B) which has an aim of reaching 97% of the UK population or the Digital 1 (D1) national multiplex (11D & 12A) which aims to reach or better the Classic FM analogue coverage at around 90% of the UK population.

As both D1 and D2 are commercial operations, unlike the BBC, they need to provide transmission facilities that their programme providers can afford. In the case of the D2 bids they will be using between 42 to 45 transmitters compared to over 140 used by D1 and the BBC's national DAB network uses over 280 transmitters.

This new D2 service, due on-air in mid-2016, will therefore aim at cities and other major population centres but will not reach some parts of the country on its 11A allocation. However some of the programme services on the winning bid may wish to supplement their D2 coverage by adding their service to some Local DAB Multiplexes in the parts of the UK not covered by D2 if they feel that some non-city areas are financially attractive to their advertisers or from where they receive financial support if they are a mainly listener-supported operation such as some of the faith-based stations.

link to this
J Peter Wilson's 24 posts Bronze Bronze GB
Saturday, 7 March 2015
R
Rob
8:21 AM

I Have noticed the new DAB radios are now wearing DAB+ logo. does that mean its future proof and will UK broadcast DAB+.. will it be better? who knows i asked a guy in curry's about DAB+ he was clueless as i am..... typical school kid pretending to know everything and anything... but he was stumped by my question.... i politely walked out of the shop!

link to this
Rob's 172 posts Silver Silver GB
J Peter Wilson
9:51 AM

Bob: You said, "So, when FM is is restricted to local radio and we are all drowning in "choice", will the Murdoch empire and its friends and clients permit us to hear anything other than pop music, adverts and sport?"

There is the recent matter over the carriage contact renewal of Premier Christian Radio on D1 and the proposed action by the multiplex operator - Arqiva - to decide to not renew Premier's transmission contract on reasonable terms. In this case, without intervention by MPs and the Minster in an Adjournment Debate on 11 February 2015, there could have been the possible replacement of a majority speech radio station by another variant of an existing pop music format which would have reduced listener choice.

Therefore is the current method the best way to organise the licensing of DAB multiplexes to ensure that a wide variety of programme services are provided? This is a matter that some people, including myself, feel that Government needs to re-consider in the light of what may have happened and that safeguards need to be strengthen to allow Ofcom power to intervene in similar circumstances in the future.

Rob: Yes new radios showing DAB+ should be future proofed and I notice that both the bids for D2 have some DAB+ services in their proposed programme line-ups.

link to this
J Peter Wilson's 24 posts Bronze Bronze GB
Sunday, 29 March 2015
R
rb01
4:48 PM

It will be interesting to see the investment in this new multiplex. Even after all these years, coverage from the existing D1 National mux is miles behind the BBC's, with only a fraction of their sites.

link to this
rb01's 3 posts GB
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
J Peter Wilson
6:52 PM

rb01: Both D1 and D2 are commercial operations and unlike the BBC they need to provide transmission facilities that their programme providers can afford.

It is the important point to note that all commercial radio stations have to make a profit and therefore the number of transmitters has to be at a cost that is viable for the radio stations to cover the appropriate percentage of the UK population that fits in with their business plans.

Now with two national DAB transmitter networks - D1 covering 90% of the UK population and D2 planning to cover 75% of the UK population - they now will have a choice. The BBC, as they are supported with a TV Licence Fee, can afford to build out their network to cover 97% of the UK population.




link to this
J Peter Wilson's 24 posts Bronze Bronze GB
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