A special switch-on event has taken place in Telford on Wednesday morning to switch on new DAB transmitters in Wolverhampton & Shropshire.
Ian Perry from BBC Radio Shropshire, and Ed Nell, Home Run presenter on Free Radio, pressed the big green digital radio switch at 08.45am to signify the expansion of local DAB coverage in Telford and across Wolverhampton & Shropshire in front of pupils and staff from Newdale Primary School.
The expansion of coverage means that many listeners can now receive eight further radio stations – BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio West Midlands, Free Radio, Free Radio 80s, Heart West Midlands, Smooth West Midlands, Radio XL and Capital – on DAB digital radio for the first time.
Four new Arqiva transmitters have launched in the past 18 months and a final transmitter will launch in Market Drayton in the coming weeks. The five transmitters bring the local stations to 650,000 more listeners on DAB digital radio in Wolverhampton & Shropshire and have expanded local DAB coverage to 92% of households from 53%.
Rachel Cook, Head teacher, Newdale Primary, said: “We’re so proud to have hosted such an exciting occasion on behalf of the county at our school and to have welcomed Wolverhampton & Shropshire’s local stations. The pupils have loved the big green switch, meeting the radio presenters and finding out more about digital radio.”
Tim Beech, Editor, BBC Radio Shropshire, said: “BBC Radio Shropshire has been a major part of life in the county for over 30 years and its great news that now even more listeners can tune in to our hugely popular presenters, delivering the local news, sport, music and entertainment that they love on DAB digital radio.”
David Salt, Content Director, Free Radio, said: “At Free Radio we’re proud to be the number one commercial radio brand in the West Midlands and today’s digital switch-on will ensure even more listeners in the county will be able to hear Free Radio and Free Radio 80s in their homes and cars. It’s great news all round and moves to expand the ever developing Bauer City Network in the process”
Paul Gerrard, Managing Editor, Heart and Smooth West Midlands, said: “The increase in DAB digital radio coverage is fantastic news for Shropshire and it’s great news for Global that we can bring the UK’s three biggest commercial radio stations, Capital, Heart and Smooth, to more people in the county.”
Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said: “Today we are celebrating the transformation of the coverage of local stations on DAB digital radio across the county. It’s great news that a further 650,000 listeners across Wolverhampton & Shropshire will now be able to hear these much-loved stations, which play such an important role in serving the local community, on digital radio.”
Richard Johnston, Head of Commercial Radio, Arqiva, said: “Arqiva has been extremely busy over the last year building hundreds of additional national and local DAB transmitters across the UK to bring DAB digital radio into millions more homes and thousands of miles of the road network. We are delighted to complete the expansion of local DAB coverage in Wolverhampton & Shropshire enabling over 650,000 more people to receive their local stations on DAB.”
In the photo: Ed Nell, Free Radio; Lauren French, Global; Ford Ennals, Digital Radio UK; David Salt, Free Radio; Tim Beech, BBC Radio Shropshire with head teacher, Rachel Cook, and pupils from Newdale Primary School.