Digital radio on medium-wave took another small step closer to the mainstream today as the BBC announced trials of the technology in Plymouth. The Corporation, in conjunction with transmission provider National Grid Wireless, is experimenting with the Digital Radio Mondiale, or DRM, technology on its Radio Devon AM frequency in Plymouth, 855 kHz.
The digital transmissions will replace the present AM service. Current listeners to the 855 frequency will need to re-tune to 95.7FM or DAB, but no other frequencies in the county will be affected. The tests are expected to begin at the end of April.
John Allen, Head of New Services for BBC English Regions, said: "The trial will help us understand whether DRM has a role to play in the all-digital future for BBC Local Radio in the UK.
"We're really excited that BBC Radio Devon is going to be involved in this trial, as it confirms that BBC Local Radio is no stranger to technological innovation."
John Ward, Director of Network Operations and Engineering at National Grid Wireless, said: "We have a track record of being at the forefront of new developments in broadcast technology and this trial maintains our commitment to innovation.
"Importantly this trial will enable us to explore the practicalities of establishing domestic DRM broadcasting that could, in the future, complement existing radio services."
DRM is a technology which enables higher-quality digital audio, as well as text services, to be broadcast via existing medium-wave frequencies. Proponents of the system believe it will bring a new lease of life to the channels.
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