Sound Digital, the joint venture company formed by Arqiva, Bauer Media and UTV Media in 2014, has today announced its plan to switch on the UK�۪s second national DAB digital radio multiplex network on Monday 29th February 2016.
The Secretary of State, Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, will perform the official switch-on of the new multiplex network built by transmission provider Arqiva at a central London event on Tuesday 1st March. This event will also see the launch of the national Big Retune campaign to encourage listeners to retune their digital radios to access the full range of available stations.
The landmark switch-on paves the way for listeners to access 18 national radio stations, representing a huge increase in choice for the British public. This includes four previously unannounced radio stations, with the UK�۪s only dedicated children�۪s radio service Fun Kids, a brand new sister station to the popular Magic brand ��� Magic Chilled, leading Asian broadcaster Panjab Radio and contemporary Christian music channel Premier Praise all agreeing to join the line-up ahead of the launch.
The confirmed stations, all of which will launch either on 29th February or within a month of this date, are:
Talk Radio, Talk Sport 2, Virgin Radio, Share Radio, Mellow Magic, Magic Chilled, Absolute Radio 80s, Kisstory, Heat Radio, Sunrise Radio, Planet Rock, Awesome, UCB 2, Premier Christian Radio, Premier Praise, Panjab Radio, Fun Kids and Jazz FM.
As mentioned above, the three Asian commercial stations being offered on the new multiplex include Sunrise Radio, Panjab Radio and British Muslim Radio, which has now been morphed into Awesome.
The announcement follows the award of a second national DAB multiplex licence by Ofcom to Sound Digital in March 2015. The new multiplex will support the continued digital development of radio, with Sound Digital�۪s line-up of popular and well-loved brands living entirely or predominantly on digital platforms.
Scott Taunton, Chief Operating Officer, UTV Media plc, said: ���Today marks a landmark moment for British broadcasting, with confirmation that the biggest expansion in radio choice for a generation is just weeks away. UTV is proud to be broadening the range of speech radio programming through the launch of talkRADIO and talkSPORT 2, as well as reuniting the British public with the iconic Virgin Radio brand.�
Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: ���The launch of the UK�۪s second national DAB multiplex is a significant moment in radio�۪s digital development. Bauer is the UK�۪s leading commercial digital radio broadcaster, and the national launches of Mellow Magic and Magic Chilled, heat Radio, KISSTORY, Absolute 80 and Planet Rock on the new multiplex offer exciting programming to drive consumer take-up.�
Steve Holebrook, Managing Director of Arqiva Terrestrial Broadcast, said: ���Since the licence was awarded in March 2015, Arqiva has been working hard building the new national transmission network and we are delighted to have delivered this in record time.�� We are also pleased to be able to be bringing next generation DAB+ to the market for the first time as well as additional diversity of�� channels such as Jazz FM, Fun Kids, Asian and Christian channels.�