Applications are in for small-scale DAB tests, which Ofcom will licence around 10 of in the UK in the coming months.
And one application for Manchester includes a 24 hour channel playing Steve Penk wind-ups, Chris Country, Gaydio and Panjab Radio.
The submission by Niocast Digital will also include Oldham commercial station Revolution962 and a new station – Manchester Business Radio.
Niocast Digital’s David Duffy said: “Digital is the future of radio in the UK and all the major political parties are firmly committed to an on-going expansion of the existing infrastructure. The national BBC and Commercial stations and many regional favourites can already be found on DAB here in Manchester. But we still fall a long way short of London where listeners have a choice of 65 digital stations.”
Niocast’s Head of Programming and Content, John Evington revealed ‘Niocast Digital’s proposal brings together partners from commercial, community and online radio. Our six great new digital services will cater for ethnic, lifestyle, specialist and general audiences across the city for the duration of the 9-month trial. If successful, we aim to get things up and running this summer.’
In Portsmouth, Angel Radio has also applied to run a multiplex. Stations proposed are Angel Xtra, Express FM, JAMM Radio, The Flash, Triple Hits and a dance music service.
The application is a collaboration involving local community broadcasters:
Angel Xtra – a spin off service from Angel Radio broadcasting dance band music from the 1920s to 1950s by day and easy listening music from the 1940s to 1950s by night.
Express FM – a simulcast of the popular local community radio service for Portsmouth featuring music, talk and live Portsmouth FC commentary.
JAMM Radio – a service from Highbury college playing chart hits with programmes made by students for students.
The Flash – a classic rock service featuring blues and music from local bands.
Triple Hits – a service aimed at 20 to 44 year olds playing current and classic hits.
The Flash station founder Martin Kirby said: “We have been operating as an internet station for almost three years now with the occasional seven day FM broadcast to the local area. To have the chance to take part in this Ofcom trial is by far the most exciting opportunity we have had so far. It will give us the chance to offer our unique service to a wider audience and for a more substantial period of time.”
Tony Smith, Station Manager of Angel Radio, said: “We will be able to offer extra choice to listeners in Portsmouth through our proposed spin-off service, Angel Xtra. This is a very exciting opportunity available to us and we have worked hard collaborating with our broadcast partners to come up with a proposition that showcases the best in Portsmouth broadcasting.”
David Harber, Commercial Manager of Express FM said: “Many people are aware that much of the offering from commercial radio stations is homogenised and lacks real variety. We are proud to be working in partnership to not only geographically extend own range of ‘Passionately Portsmouth’ programmes but also to support this opportunity to fully extend listener choice in and around Portsmouth”.
Celador Radio’s The Breeze was offered the opportunity to join the application but declined.
RadioToday understands there will be around 30 applications for the 10 slots, and we’ll update this story once Ofcom releases more details.