The North West’s regional digital radio multiplex has ended service today after 12 years on-air.
MXR, operated by Global Radio and Arqiva, will no longer carry stations such as LBC, UCB, Choice, Heart and Real Radio XS after a decision was made to close this and other multiplexes.
The North West closure follows the ceasing of other regional operations in the West Midlands, South Wales and the North East. MXR Yorkshire, the final of five, will continue to operate for now.
Of the 11 stations carried, just three will move to a number of local multiplexes to achieve the same coverage.
Capital FM Manchester and Real North West will continue, but listeners will no longer be able to hear Choice FM, Gold, Heart, LBC 97.3, Real Radio XS, Transworld Radio, UCB Inspirational and UCB Gospel on regional DAB in the area.
At the same time, Xfm is to be removed from Central Lancashire multiplex and Gold will also be removed from the Manchester multiplex.
A message on Gold’s website says:
Unfortunately you can no longer receive the Gold signal on DAB in a number of areas throughout the UK. This is because of the ongoing DAB reorganisation plan to replace the regional multiplexes with even more local multiplexes – therefore offering more choice of radio to more people. During the transition period there will be times when some areas won’t be able to receive the Gold (and other radio stations) signal on DAB. The affected DAB areas in 2013 are : West Midlands, Central Scotland, Manchester & The North West, The North East and Yorkshire (in 2015) If you live in any other area you should press AUTOSCAN or AUTO RETUNE on your DAB radio to update your list of available stations.
The decision to remove these radio stations was made by MXR owners last year when they announced they weren’t renewing the licence to operate the services, following consultation with service providers and in light of the industry’s decision to focus on the development and build out of the national and local networks of DAB transmitters.