Staff from a number of Manchester based radio stations gathered today for an official re-tune event in the city.
The event was held at the Beetham Tower – the tallest building in the UK outside London – ahead of the DAB expansion taking place at 6am Wednesday.
BBC Radio Manchester’s Breakfast presenters Phil Trow and Alison Butterworth, Key 103’s Breakfast presenters Mike Toolan and Chelsea Norris, and Smooth North West’s Jo Lloyd gathered to press the big green retune switch to signal the importance for listeners to retune their DAB digital radios to continue to receive eleven local BBC and commercial stations on DAB – BBC Radio Manchester, Capital Manchester, Heart North West, Gold Manchester, Smooth North West, Key 103, Key 2, Key 3, KISS FRESH, Absolute 90s and Asian Sound.
The retune is necessary as a result of essential engineering work, boosting and changing the frequency of existing digital radio transmitters in the Manchester area and switching on two new transmitters, which will bring eleven local BBC and commercial stations to 385,000 more listeners for the first time.
There will be an increase in power at the major Winter Hill transmitter and the switch-on of two new digital transmitters – one at Littleborough expanding local DAB coverage to listeners in Littleborough and Rochdale, and a second in Saddleworth expanding coverage for listeners in Saddleworth, Oldham and the East of Manchester.
The national stations, and services on the Niocast small-scale DAB trial, are not affected by the changes.
Here are your quotes:
Kate Squire, Managing Editor, BBC Radio Manchester, said: “BBC Radio Manchester has more and more listeners on DAB to our great presenters and programmes with local news, sport and great music, so the improvement to the coverage will be brilliant. We’ll be making sure listeners retune smoothly.”
Will Harding, Chief Strategy Officer, Global, said: “Today’s news means more people in and around Manchester can listen to the nation’s two most loved commercial radio brands, Heart and Capital. This is in addition to our other brands, Radio X, Heart extra, Classic FM, Capital XTRA, LBC, and Smooth Extra which are already available right across the country on digital radio. We are continuing our strategy of brand extension and investment in building audiences on DAB so that we can bring our brands to more listeners than ever before.”
Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said: “Manchester has a great variety of local digital stations so it’s great news that 385,000 more listeners will now be able to enjoy all their favourite local stations on DAB digital radio for the first time.”
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: “The digital radio retune in Manchester is great news for both listeners and Manchester’s local radio stations. Government is committed to rolling out DAB digital radio, bringing listeners around the UK greater access, better coverage and an even wider variety of content.”
Paul Eaton, Director of Digital Radio, Arqiva, said: “I am delighted that the local DAB coverage expansion programme is continuing with Manchester being the latest area to receive a digital boost. We’re proud of our role in expanding local DAB coverage as we continue working towards commercial radio FM coverage equivalence by the end of the year.”
On the photo: Jo Lloyd, Smooth North West; Dan Bunker, Global; Matt Haslam, Key 103; Alison Butterworth, BBC Manchester; Mike Toolan, Key 103; James Lett, Key 103; Laurence Harrison, Digital Radio UK; Phil Trow, BBC Manchester and Chelsea Norris, Key 103.