talkSPORT wants to start turning off AM transmitters

talkSPORT has asked Ofcom to reduce the transmission coverage of its AM national commercial radio licence by 2.4%.

The regulator has provisionally agreed the changes but will carefully consider any comments from stakeholders before making a final decision because it will mean some listeners will lose their ability to receive talkSPORT on the AM band.

talkSPORT says that there has been a decline in analogue listening at a rate faster than it had predicted and the listening at the sites it wants to close, based on RAJAR data, is no longer at appreciable levels due to the evolution of audience behaviour.

The following seven transmitters are at risk of closure:

• Rosemarkie (Inverness);
• Redruth (Cornwall);
• Redmoss (Aberdeen);
• Londonderry;
• Occombe (Devon);
• Plummers Barracks (Plymouth);
• Pearce’s Hill (Devon)

Ofcom has already given permission for Northsound 2 to switch off its AM transmitter, and Absolute Radio gained approval to close 12 transmitters (and reduce power at five others) in 2018.

Of the seven sites identified, five are in areas where Absolute Radio already switched off its service.

talkSPORT also adds: “The findings of this exercise may also lead talkSPORT to look at additional sites to option for switch off at a later date as AM listening declines further.”

In addition to its national AM licence, talkSPORT also broadcasts nationally on the Digital One multiplex. The service is also available via television on the Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media platforms, in addition to the internet.

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13 Comments
  1. Michael V says

    With DAB coverage expanding its only right that companies end the MW relay.
    Infrastructure is aging & expensive. Good move talksport

    1. Mr Boltar says

      You can buy new AM transmitters you know. Plus a strong AM signal on a good radio actually sounds better than a lot of the low bitrate rubbish on DAB. The irony is lost it seems.

  2. Joe Smith says

    Makes more sense to simply turn off talkSPORT.

  3. Brenton says

    That’s a big shame another analog station off air , digital may be current and sounds clearer with high bass and sharp tones but you can’t beat the past time sounds , you feel analog not digital

  4. Chris says

    I still listen on AM, I know plenty of people who do, digital is nowhere near complete with AM in terms of coverage.

  5. Ray Woodward says

    You can turn the whole ruddy lot off for me.

  6. Radio Geordie says

    To be fair, the transmitters only serve a small population so the loss of the service probably wouldn’t be noticed by many.
    However, the chances of the same thing happening on FM before 2030 is pretty remote given that DAB coverage is rubbish compared to FM.

  7. ciaran flavin says

    completely agree with chris. i listen to talksport on am, it is not availble on fm. i wish lovesport was still availble on am.

    1. Mr Boltar says

      Lovesport still is on AM – it moved to 1584.

  8. Dave says

    It’s hardly worth a consultation for a miniscule 2.4% ! 24% maybe yes. They should switch the whole AM network off imo asap…

  9. Robin Dee says

    Unfortunately this is now the trend with the increase not only of DAB, but also the many other platforms available on phones, tablets and laptops etc. My son and his wife don’t even own a radio except for the car which is always on DAB. The operating expenses of an AM transmitter site compared to the decline in audience says it all. Add to that the value of the extensive real estate occupied by them and it’s a done deal.

    1. Dave says

      Oh yes.. give it 10 years even less and all the main networks will have vacated AM imo

  10. Nev jack says

    Many older cars don’t have dab, so talk sport listeners then only have am!
    These xmitters fill in black spots,the only way then is to increase the power of MAIN xmitters,but of course the applications have also been submitted to reduce THEIR power…I admit I listen on dab,but I have a newer car. Why don’t bbc put radio3 on dab only and release FM for other broadcasters???most cars have FM…just a thought….

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