North West Wales now has a number of new stations available on DAB with the launch of a DAB digital radio multiplex by entertainer and actor Martyn Geraint and Welsh actor and singer-songwriter Bryn Fôn.
They are pressing the big DAB button today at an event at Galeri Caernarfon, which symbolises the switching on of two new digital transmitters covering 100,000 people – or 30% of the population in the licence area.
Four radio stations – BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales, Capital and Smooth will be available on DAB in addition to analogue, whilst two additional stations, Nation Radio and Nation Hits!, will be available for the first time in the area only on DAB digital radio. The only notable exception from the multiplex line-up is Heart, which in this area is a franchise operated by Communicorp UK.
This switch-on will signal the start of a wider plan to build additional transmitters in North West Wales by mid-2016, bringing local DAB coverage to almost 70% of the population.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy said: “I welcome today’s big switch-on in North West Wales and wish BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales, Capital, Smooth, Nation Radio and Nation Hits! great success on DAB. The future of radio is digital and this is part of a major expansion of DAB digital radio coverage across the UK.”
Laurence Harrison, Director of Digital Radio UK, said: “This is a big day for radio and for North West Wales. From today 100,000 listeners will be able to receive their favourite local and national stations on DAB for the first time.”
Steve Austins, Editor of BBC Radio Wales said: “We’re pleased that Radio Wales will now be available to some areas of north-west Wales on DAB. We’re keen that as many people can hear our service as possible, so this is a positive step forward.”
Betsan Powys, Editor of BBC Radio Cymru said: “This is good news for listeners who will now be able to listen to Radio Cymru on DAB in the areas served, and clearly a step in the right direction in this part of Wales. DAB is an important listening option and we know that our listeners appreciate the choice of listening to Wales’ national Welsh-language radio station on as many platforms as possible.”
Mel Booth, Managing Director of Global Wales, said: “We’re excited to bring Capital and Smooth to digital radio in North West Wales. We know our listeners love the great music we play, and now they can listen in digital quality.”
Jason Bryant, Executive Chairman of Nation Radio and Nation Hits! said: “We are pleased to bring both Nation Radio and its sister station Nation Hits! to listeners in North West Wales. Each service adds real music variety and additional choice for listeners and, with both stations growing fast, we are proud to be the only commercial stations available on the DAB digital radio platform right across Wales.”