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September 1, 2014

Regional MXR digital multiplexes to close

The three shareholders of the MXR regional DAB multiplexes have decided not to renew their licence to operate the services.

This means all the services carried on the five regions they serve will no longer be available on on regional level.

MXR is owned by Global Radio, Real and Smooth Ltd and Arqiva, operates in Yorkshire, the Northeast, Northwest, the Severn Estuary and the West Midlands. Most of the stations are extensions of brands for Global and Real and Smooth Ltd, including Heart, LBC, Choice, XFM and Real Radio XS. However, some stations are committed to being on DAB as part of their licence extension agreement.

The mutliplexes will close between July and September 2013 except Yorkshire which will continue till 2015.

A spokesperson for Global Radio told RadioToday.co.uk: “The industry (commercial and BBC) has agreed that the best way forward for digital roll out and to speed up coverage, the focus should be on local and national multiplexes. Therefore there is reducing demand for carriage on regional multiplexes.”

Global Radio say their investment in the DAB platform continues with local and national services. They have just invested a total of £15m committing to providing their stations on more localised multiplexes owned by Bauer Media, for the next 12 years.

Ashley Tabor, Founder and Executive President of Global told RadioToday.co.uk: “This is an important development for this company and for the future of local digital radio. It is critical,” he added, “that as DAB grows, the investment in the local layer of DAB infrastructure matches the investment being made to the national layer.”

Digital Radio UK say: “The release of the MXR regional DAB spectrum is good news for local digital radio as it supports the planning of the expansion of local DAB coverage, as part of the preparations for a radio switchover. Ofcom is planning to utilise the released spectrum in the planning of the buildout of local DAB coverage.”

Arqiva confirmed their intentions with a statement to RadioToday.co.uk: “Arqiva currently holds a 12% share in MXR. The remaining shareholding is owned by Global Radio and Real and Smooth Limited. MXR has decided not to renew their DAB licence, giving the requisite 12 months notice period to Ofcom. Arqiva does not intend to acquire the shares of Global and Real and Smooth Limited.”

The closing dates are:

South Wales/Severn Estuary: 29 July 2013
Northeast England: 29 July 2013
West Midlands: 27 August 2013
Northwest England: 24 September 2013

Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 12:08 pm by .

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  • Radio Listener

    DAB now even more pointless.

    • MarkO

      I certainly don’t think so….I binned all my analogue radios long ago! The new DAB+ tuner in my car works like a charm.

      • John Harrison

        It might do but only in DAB as there isn’t DAB+ in the UK. I also feel DAB to be pointless now. Mono-what’s all that about?

  • http://jamesvincentuk.blogspot.com james vincent

    Local and Regional DAB coverage is awful. Certainly no where near matching FM. and putting services on the multiplexes in Mono is stupid. But then MXR ‘south wales and the west’ might as well go cos Kiss is now National so we dont have regional radio here anymore. we dont even have local radio since Global. what a srew up this all is

  • Radio Gerodie

    The ironic thing is that the MXR platforms have a much better coverage area than the local platforms serving the same areas.
    Are these additional transmitters going to start broadcasting the local platforms when MXR closes? I bet they don’t.

  • Phil England

    This isnt going to help with the push to DAB is it! – its going to reduce choice! Nation is on MXR and split its service on there to provide choice by adding Nation 80s (great station!) Real XS is on there as well (ok, this one may actually be going soon anyway) but Choice is on there too, again another station we will loose!. While Kiss maybe national, its not on a national multiplex – its on the Swansea one and MXR.

    If they want to go for a national multiplex, couldn’t they approach ofcom and extend the MXR ones around the UK fill in the gaps with extra transmitters and hey-presto, another national service (or close to) – and get the same services on all of them?

    What was the point of Global putting Capital South Wales on to MXR if it was going to drop the platform anyway?

    • Radio Geordie

      Or they could just use either the spare national licence that was awarded to Channel 4 which Ofcom are still sitting on so that Choice, LBC, Kerrang and Kiss could start broadcasting on, or at least one of the services could take up the spare capacity thats currently available on the DIGITAL ONE platform (There’s to test transmissions on their at present – both in mono I believe).
      To answer your question about Capital – it’s a regional platform, that’s why.

  • http://jamesvincentuk.blogspot.com james vincent

    the Government have SCREWED up, along with ofcom, and Global. DAB is in a discraseful mess. and the radio industry is shameful.

  • Peter Symonds

    Wonder if they are going to give any spare parts of Band III to DRM+

  • Anthony Mocroft

    So as of 29 July 2013 South Wales/Severn Estuary: on a DAB Radio you will hear nothing. three years ago I lived in an area of Ebbw Vale that on an FM radio received stations based up in & around Birmingham, Sadly I had to move, & am now in a area which is completely useless for FM reception, so now rely more on my DAB. I was so pleased that Capital London 95.8 was replaced by Capital South Wales 97.4 & 103.2. Looks like next year I will have to revert back to Dave & Lisa the other end of the M4 on Capital London 95.8. Change to Real Radio Wales on channel 0146 on the sky box. My other option is give BBC Radio a try, last time I done this Radio 1 Breakfast was presented by Mike Smith. Having a conversation with my dad regarding this he commented “Ant in December you hit the funny age of the big 40, & trying something new at that age is hard.”

    “South Wales/Severn Estuary DAB RIP”

  • Dave

    The Begining of the end for DAB with regional mulitpexes to close .
    spare capacity on D1 & stations like planet rock making a loss???.
    It must have cost millions ????.
    Do we need D1 as most the stations are on freevew ???.
    Would it not be better to put all the stations on D1 on freevew & scrap DAB ???

    • Stu Taylor

      It costs about
      £800k-900k a year (stereo) to be hosted on D1

  • http://www.facebook.com/ddwig Dave Wiggy Wiggins

    If This Is True Now About DAB Digital Radio Regional Mxr Digital Radio Multiplexes To Close I Just Hope The Uk Government Do Give Money Back To Us All That Did Buy A DAB Digital Radio Now Because It Will Not Be Good Digital Radio When No Sound On Them Am I Wright Or Wrong Now

  • http://twitter.com/richardberryuk Richard

    Ok, this doesn’t make sense. As I’d assume that that the services on MXR who are on FM will have to migrate to the local MUX’s and removing the DAB only services and so REDUCING choice. Does anyone know how this capacity will help local coverage? As surely the point of SFN is that you don’t need to retune, so this space is useless for that. Some clarity would have been useful.

  • Dale

    DAB radio keeps changing, get a lot more stations on analogue. The only good thing about DAB is lot better quality then the rubbish AM reception only stations