Fourteen years after launching in England, Scotland and Wales, Digital One has arrived in Northern Ireland bringing 10 extra radio stations to the area.
The Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, together with music star Dana, switched on the signal at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, with live music performances sponsored by Absolute Radio and Smooth Radio.
Both brands will now be heard for the first time on terrestrial radio along with TeamRock Radio, Jazz FM, Planet Rock, BFBS and Premier Christian Radio.
talkSPORT, Classic FM, Kiss and UCB are also on Digital One so will now cease transmission on local multiplexes.
One of the stations, Premier Christian Radio will also broadcast its breakfast show live from Belfast all next week to mark the occasion.
“We are delighted to welcome our new audience in Northern Ireland to Premier Christian Radio,” says Premier’s CEO Peter Kerridge. “Our programmes cover a broad spectrum of news, features, interviews and music from a Christian perspective and we hope to offer inspiration and support to Christians and the Christian Church in Northern Ireland.”
Digital One will use six transmitters by Arqiva to cover 1.4m people meaning the multiplex now covers just about 90% of the UK population.
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, who hosted the event, says: “This is great news for radio listeners in Northern Ireland as they can now receive the full range of national commercial digital radio stations.”
Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín, says: “Boosting digital radio coverage for the North of Ireland means the excellent range of national DAB digital radio stations can be received by even more listeners, at home and in their car.”