The digital switch-over has quietly commenced at four BBC local radio stations in England, RadioToday.co.uk can reveal.
BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Nottingham have all stopped broadcasting regular programmes on medium wave, instead directing listeners to FM or DAB.
It’s part of a five week trial to make savings – and to find out if listeners will miss or complain about the lack of AM services.
The BBC told RadioToday.co.uk: “MW services mainly duplicate what is already available on FM and DAB, and most listeners will be able to hear their local stations on FM. The BBC is also committed to a full roll out of local radio stations across the DAB network. If local radio is not already available on DAB it will be in the future.
“The aim of the trial is to get a better understanding of the impact of the loss of MW for our core listeners and also enable us to ensure adequate coverage is available on other platforms in these.”
One BBC local radio manager told us “To commence this trail at the start of the football season, when some stations use their AM frequencies for extra football coverage in different parts of the county is absolutely absurd.”
The BBC has chosen Kent, Lincolnshire, Merseyside and Nottingham areas because they have different levels of MW coverage and allow them to test a spread of MW coverage in both rural and city locations, they said.
The changes started on Friday and will finished on September 24th.