Small Scale DAB testers Solent Wireless has started broadcasting on digital radio today.
Test transmissions have been taking place for the last seven days, ready for Angel Xtra, Express FM, Mango Vibe, The Flash and 100% Triple Hits Radio to start today. JAMM Radio however will not launch until September. The mux operator is also broadcasting an Information Channel which will provide information about the broadcasts.
The coverage area for Solent Wireless is just one part of the Solent – particularly the City of Portsmouth. The company says: “It is highly unlikely there will be reliable coverage north of Portsdown Hill, however coverage may spill over to parts of Hayling Island and Gosport. We’d be interested to know where you can receive our services, please get in touch with us!”
Community radio station Express FM is one of the services simulcasting on DAB. Station Director Cheryl Buggy said: “Our listenership is strong both on FM and online, and is growing steadily, especially with regards to our Portsmouth FC coverage, so to be able to add a digital choice to our repertoire is bound to be a bonus. It’s also great to be part of a pioneering venture, as our partnership in this trial is one of a select few in the country.”
Transmission services are being provided by Hampshire based Commtronix, who have installed the transmitter at Highbury College’s iconic Tower building in Portsmouth.
The full list of services are:
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 by night. The station will provide greater choice to the city’s senior & discerning population.
Express FM – the popular local community radio service Portsmouth featuring music, talk and live Portsmouth FC commentary will be simulcast on digital radio.
JAMM Radio – a service from Highbury college playing chart hits with programmes made by students for students.
Mango Vibe – a dance music service for young adults playing upfront music with specialist dance programming.
The Flash – a classic rock service based in Havant, featuring blues and music from local bands.
Triple 100% Hits – a service aimed at 20 to 44 year olds playing current and classic hits.
Here are some of the comments from the stations:
Media Programme Manager at Highbury College, Kara Hall said: “We are so excited to be part of this ground breaking venture. JAMM radio is a station run by young people, for young people. More and more people are choosing to listen to radio online and through DAB so this will give us the chance to reach even more young people in Portsmouth. Our aim is to entertain and inform 14 to 19 year olds with fantastic music and young presenters who understand the issues that teenagers face. This is an amazing opportunity not just for us but for the whole community of Portsmouth. We are excited to have the only Further Education College student radio station participating in the trial.”
Founder of The Flash, Martin Kirby said: “We have been operating as an internet station for over three years now, with the occasional temporary FM broadcast, but to have the chance to take part in this trial is by far the most exciting opportunity we have had so far and will enable us to offer our unique service to a wider audience. The Ofcom trial is a great idea and will make local DAB digital radio broadcasting viable for smaller ‘not for profit’ services like ours to serve our communities and create more choice for the listener.”
Station Manager of Angel Radio, Tony Smith said: “Our new ANGELxtra service brings a unique choice for Portsmouth’s fans of all things vintage and retro. With this service, Angel Radio builds on its reputation as the home of pure nostalgia. We are proud to be working with our broadcasting partners to bring this exciting venture to the Portsmouth area.”
Managing Director of Mango Vibe, Robbie Harrison said: “We’re really excited about this opportunity to bring a fresh new sound to Portsmouth. We also want to hear from local DJs who want to get involved, please get in touch with us at Mango Vibe.”
Chief Executive of Digital Radio UK, Ford Ennals said: “Listeners in the Portsmouth area love digital radio with over 41% of radio listening being on a digital platform and with almost 52% of homes having a DAB radio.** These small scale DAB trials are very exciting as they encourage innovation and competition delivering six great new stations broadcast on DAB digital radio and encompassing stations from all sectors of the radio industry, including community, student and small local stations.
“Angel Radio have assembled a first-rate content line up for this nine month trial, incorporating the great range of services that small stations offer including music services, community services featuring talk and sport, and student radio. We would encourage listeners to re-tune their DAB radios to make sure that they can receive these new stations available to listeners in the City of Portsmouth.”