Applications in for Channel Islands DAB radio multiplex

Ofcom has received a number of applications to run a DAB digital radio multiplex covering the Channel Islands.

Three companies are wanting to run the service covering 134,000 adults living in the Bailiwicks.

Applications have been submitted by MuxCo/Tindle Broadcasting, Bailiwick Broadcasting (Nation Broadcasting) and a new company on the DAB radio scene, Small Digital Planet.

Here’s what we know about the three applicants so far:

Small Digital Planet is Chaired by Mark Sumner, the former Director of Regulation at the Jersey Financial Services Commission, and has local businessman Chris Bee as Managing Director.

Other directors include Guernsey financial consultant Rudi Falla; John Dingle who runs the electronics and transmission facilities company, Fortuna Ltd, and Spencer Pryor, the former owner of YOUR Radio and the Glasgow Small-Scale SDAB multiplex. He retired back to his home island of Jersey in September last year following the sale of his UK broadcasting interests to Nation Broadcasting.

Small Digital Planet proposes to include 16 stations from launch, including BBC locals, community station Quay FM, five new locally-based stations including a Portuguese language station aimed at the 8% of the population who speak the language. Launch date would be June 2020 with four transmitters, one each in Guernsey and Alderney and two in Jersey.

Bailiwick Broadcasting – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nation Broadcasting, plans to broadcast 25 services, to Jersey, Guernsey, Herm, Sark and Alderney using three transmitters.

Stations will include BBC Radio Jersey and BBC Radio Guernsey, alongside a large number of new digital services covering a variety of genres. The new services include country music, children’s programmes, rolling news, rock music and a number of new regional radio stations for the Channel Islands with a range of music, local news and information.

The application is led by Nation Broadcasting’s DAB Platform Manager, Ash Elford. He says: “We’re proud to submit a really strong application that will give the Channel Islands a local DAB multiplex that will provide a diverse line-up of services from large and small broadcasters targeted at every demographic. In short, there should be something for everyone with our multiplex. With our proposed coverage plans, even islands with small populations such as Herm, Sark and Alderney will be able to enjoy the DAB revolution.”

Jason Bryant, Nation Broadcasting’s Founder and Executive Chairman said: “I’m delighted that our plans will ensure that each of the Channel Islands can take full advantage of digital radio. With trusted local brands and a large number and variety of new channels for different tastes and interests, our application offers incredible choice, variety and opportunity for Channel Island listeners and businesses.”

And Tindle MuxCo Channel Islands is a joint venture between Folder Media (30%) and Tindle CI Broadcasting (70%). Tindle CI Broadcasting owns Channel 103 in Jersey and Island FM in Guernsey, and wants to bring UK stations such as Virgin Radio, talkSPORT and talkRADIO to the islands terrestrially for the first time.

New stations including Atlantis for soft rock, Rewind for ‘greatest hits’, Bailiwick Radio and Contact Classic Hits and also proposed by Tindle MuxCo.

Two transmitters are proposed at launch, one for Guernsey and one for Jersey, and a launch date of July 2020 is expected with a minimum of 15 services.

Currently, the only DAB services available in the Channel Isles are national BBC stations Radios 1 to 5 Live, 1Xtra, 4 Extra, 5 Live Sports Extra, 6 Music, Asian Network and World Service.

Digital capacity of 256 kbits/sec must be reserved on this local radio multiplex service for the BBC to broadcast BBC Radio Jersey and BBC Radio Guernsey.

The frequency being cleared for this licence is a standard VHF DAB channel known internationally as ‘Frequency Block 12A (centre frequency of 223.936 MHz)’. Should clearance of this block be problematic then the GE06 Plan allocation of block 11C (centre frequency 220.352 MHz) will be used.

This licence is offered for a service designed to cover the Channel Islands (i.e. the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey), subject to frequency and transmitter siting constraints, and will be granted for a period of twelve years from the commencement of broadcasting.

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  1. Mr Boltar says

    8% of people in the Channel Islands speak Portugese? Who knew?

    As for bringing talkRadio to the islands – talkRadio could do itself a favour and start broadcasting in large parts of the mainland UK first. They claim to be national but their definition of national seems to be “in the big cities”. You can’t even pick it up in some parts of Kent and Surrey, never mind the lakes or highlands.

    1. mb23 says

      The UK population coverage of SDL is 83%, the road coverage is lower. There are parts of east Kent that can’t be covered because a multiplex on the Belgian coast uses the same frequency. SDL knew this when they applied for the licence.

      1. Mr Boltar says

        There are no technical reasons SDL couldn’t use a different block there. Given how Ofcom green light pretty much anything the large broadcasters want I’m sure it could be arranged.

        1. mb23 says

          There are no other internationally cleared frequencies for East Kent, they would need agreement from Belgium, France & the Netherlands.

          1. Mr Boltar says

            France barely uses DAB so it shouldn’t be an issue for them at least.

        2. Jack says

          Not entirely true about France barely using DAB, these days most towns and cities have at least one multiplex, as do many of the regions, and there is due to be two national multiplexes launching this year. DAB has rapidly expanded in France over the last few years.

      2. graham says

        a very feeble excuse as there are powerful transmitters in the anglia area. thanet has a small (c.150watt) service which can use block 11A.i personally have never heard belgian radio under high conditions on 11A. 11B yes–but not 11A. 150000 plus people live here.

    2. Philip says

      Or parts of North Yorkshire 🙄😂

  2. Phillip says

    An interesting bunch of applicants with MuxCo/Tindle probably being the front runner. I’m surprised a provision from Ofcom for the 3 INR licences wasn’t part of the deal?? With a small but wealthy community in the CI, I’m wondering if the proposal of small local niche services will be overkill for the local ad market which would affect Island and Channel. I would have imagined the mux to be used to supply the local ILRs, Local BBC, and a selected D1/SDL service roster… with perhaps a couple of local niche services…. with 25 proposed by some, perhaps this may well be the case. Can’t see Global passing on adding Heart to another area 😉

  3. Lee says

    I think we should all move to the channel Islands if they can’t receive Heart. I hope the multiplex in the channel Islands will be better served and have more variety then the mainland.. It’s Heart, Smooth, Radio X, Classic FM, Gold, LBC, Greatest Hits Radio, and Hits Radio almost everywhere. Shocking just shocking.

    1. Colin Harris says

      You can listen to all Global and Planet Radio stations via the apps in the Channel Isles.

      1. Mr Boltar says

        If you’re going to listen to internet radio why on earth would you waste your data allowance listening to Globals bland identikit rubbish when there are so many more interesting stations around the world.

  4. Colin Harris says

    Will the exiting CI commercial stations grt to broadcast in DAB?

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