Sound Digital wins national DAB multiplex

The second national commercial radio DAB multiplex has been awarded to Sound Digital – a consortium of Arqiva, Bauer Media and UTV Media.

It means new services such as talkRADIO, Virgin Radio and Magic Mellow will start broadcasting soon, whilst existing stations heat, Jazz FM and Kisstory will go national. The multiplex will launch within 12 months and will spend £15m promoting DAB over the first six years.

The decision was made by Ofcom in record time – within two months of the closing date – and means the only other application by Orion Media and partners will not get the chance to deploy its proposed services.

These are all the services included on D2:

talkRADIO (news, current affairs and general speech)-UTV Media (GB) Limited
talkSPORT 2 (live sport and sports talk)-UTV Media (GB) Limited
talkBUSINESS (business and finance)-UTV Media (GB) Limited
Virgin Radio (rock and pop music)-UTV Media (GB) Limited
Kisstory (old skool dance tunes and anthems)-Bauer Radio Limited
Magic Mellow (relaxing and melodic music)-Bauer Radio Limited
Heat Radio (pop music, celebrity gossip and entertainment)-Bauer Radio Limited
Planet Rock (classic rock music)-Bauer Radio Limited
Absolute 80s (80s music)-Bauer Radio Limited
Sunrise Radio (Asian music and speech)-Sunrise Radio (London) Limited
British Muslim Radio (Asian music and speech, with elements of Islamic content)-Asian Sound Radio Limited
UCB Inspirational (Christian music)-United Christian Broadcasters Limited
Premier Christian Radio (Christian music and speech)-Premier Christian Media Trust
Jazz FM (non-mainstream music)-Jazz FM Investments Limited
DAB+ channel – TBC

Sound Digital is a mixture of Arqiva (40%) Bauer (30%) and UTV (30%). The company wants to launch within 12 months, and launch all services on a single day with the exception of UTV which plans to launch four new radio stations over time.

Sound Digital has a board of three directors, consisting of a senior executive director from each of Sound Digital’s shareholder companies. The shareholders have agreed that the chairpersonship will rotate between the three directors. They are:

Steve Holebrook (Managing Director of Arqiva Terrestrial Broadcast)
Dee Ford (Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media)
Scott Taunton (Chief Operating Officer, UTV Media plc)
In addition, Grae Allan has been mentioned as Bauer’s alternate director for Dee Ford.

Sound Digital plans to co-site transmitters for D2 with Digital One and the BBC national networks to avoid adjacent channel interference to existing digital radio services, and use the same dual satellite distribution feeds that are used by the Digital One network.

Some of the services proposed are already available on Digital One, but Sound Digital says it will still broaden listener choice as the transfer of Planet Rock, Premier Christian Radio and Absolute Radio 80s to the new multiplex would support a further future extension in the choice of distinct national digital radio services available in the UK.

Live reaction from across social media:


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Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 7:00 am by RadioToday UK

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