Applications submitted for Cumbria DAB radio multiplexes

Ofcom has received two applications for the DAB digital radio multiplexes covering North Lancashire, Cumbria and parts of South West Scotland.

MuxCo has partnered with Nation Broadcasting to apply for a multiplex to cover Morecambe Bay and South Cumbria, whilst Bauer has applied for a multiplex to cover North and West Cumbria.

If successful in its bid, MuxCo Cumbria will launch using four transmitters initially, which will cover 78% of the population, carrying nine stereo radio stations. They are Heart (DAB), Smooth (DAB), Capital (DAB), BBC Radio Cumbria (DAB), Bay Radio (DAB), Cando FM (DAB+), Bay Trust Radio (DAB+), Fun Kids Junior (DAB+) and Chris Country (DAB+).

Bay Radio is a proposed new service from Nation Broadcasting – Cando FM is a community radio station in Barrow, and Bay Trust Radio is the hospital radio station for Lancaster, Morecambe and Kendal hospitals.

MuxCo says its transmission proposal takes into account coverage of existing local services BBC Cumbria, Heart and Smooth, as well as existing local and national multiplexes, designed to provide optimum population coverage from launch.

Nation Broadcasting has 51% shareholding in the new company, whilst MuxCo Ltd has 49%.

Meanwhile, Bauer’s application for North and West Cumbria will allow BBC Radio Cumbria and CFM to broadcast to the same area they do now but on DAB.

Using five transmitters, BDR Cumbria will carry 13 services in total, including a number of national services currently on the national SDL multiplex which is not available in the area.

The stations lined up are Greatest Hits Radio, Country Hits Radio, Planet Rock, Scala Radio, Absolute Radio 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Absolute Classic Rock, Magic Chilled, Magic Soul, Mellow Magic and Jazz FM.

No new local stations are proposed but capacity will be available for any future additions.

Both MuxCo and BDR say they will launch within 12 months of licence award – meaning it will start braodcasting around the end of next year.

No applications were received to operate a multiplex for South West Scotland, as was in the plan from Ofcom.

Quotes

Gregory Watson, MuxCo’s Managing Director, said: We are pleased to submit our application to bring local DAB to Morecambe Bay. Our proposals will bring a range of new services to the area – including a number of local community services as well as existing and new commercial services, helping broaden choice. We have capacity to enable further local services to broadcast and hope that if successful, we will launch with a wider range of stations.

Jason Bryant, Executive Chairman Nation Broadcasting, added: “The Morecambe Bay multiplex will build on Muxco’s existing presence in the north west, extending choice for listeners across the patch. In particular, we look forward to introducing Bay Radio to Morecambe Bay, a brand new radio local service focussed on the needs of local people and led by Bill Johnston, one of the region’s most experienced radio professionals.”

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13 Comments
  1. Radio Geordie says

    I’m surprised that BBC Lancashire wasn’t included in the Morecambe Bay application given that it broadcasts on FM in that area.

    The other thing I’m surprised is that no one wanted to provide a platform to South West Scotland, not even Bauer who own the only commercial service in the area.

    Not a surprise that North Cumbria will only have Bauer-owned services though.

  2. Ian Scott says

    Disappointing that there will remain a single service in Cumbria not on DAB at all.

    The community station Eden FM in Penrith, hasn’t been included in the Bauer station list.

    1. mb23 says

      They will have their opportunity when small scale DAB is launched in the area.

      1. Ian Scott says

        The area is too sparsely populated for an SSDAB to work. Population is barely 20,000.

        It looks like Muxco/Nation have offered carriage to both community and hospital radio services in the other parts of Cumbria.

        It would be good PR for Bauer to do the same in the north for the only community station there.

  3. Willie Bone says

    The only disappointment being, nobody has the desire to operate a local DAB multiplex in south west Scotland. Dumfries & Galloway, like the highlands and islands of Scotland, cannot receive BBC Scotland’s two regional services on DAB. That is about half of the geographical landscape in Scotland. This country is not even near ready for a digital radio migration plan!

    1. Radio Geordie says

      Whilst it may not be available on DAB, it should be audible via Freeview (I’m assuming you’re listening at home by the way).

      1. Willie Bone says

        Radio Geordie, I live in the sticks of Dumfries & Galloway and rely primarily on 4G wireless broadband at home and in the car. Only BBC National DAB is available in the DG3 post code area and will be for a long time to come! In contrast to commercial DAB radio rollout, DG3 and beyond has now got good signal continuity on 4G, courtesy of EE opening an additional six relays, covering my area of Dumfriesshire, throught to Wigtownshire. It would be nice to have commercial radio on DAB as service backup, though..

        1. Graham says

          Will be great to have planet rock in north Cumbria again hopefully late next year.

  4. Willie Bone says

    The only disappointment being, nobody has the desire to operate a local DAB multiplex in south west Scotland. Dumfries & Galloway, like the highlands and islands of Scotland, cannot receive BBC Scotland’s two regional services on DAB. That is about half of the geographical landscape in Scotland. This country is not even near ready for a digital radio switch over plan!

  5. Michael darnbrough says

    I live 16 miles from Manchester center and still can’t get a decent DAB signal on my radios USELESS !

    1. Dale says

      Very surprised that Smooth will not be carried on North Cumbria DAB as Smooth’s broadcast area covers Keswick and the north lakes which are not part of the South Cumbria DAB area.

      1. mb23 says

        They don’t have to cover the whole of the area on DAB to get the local FM licence rolled over, and “Smooth Extra” is available in the rest of Cumbria. The goal here will be to prevent the FM licence being re-advertised.

  6. Paul Dransfield says

    Is about time. Cumbria is sooo far behind on radio entertainment. Dab would be a huge advantage.

Comments are closed.