Today is our 2nd Anniversary!

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Today, 19th August, the Portsmouth DAB multiplex celebrates its second anniversary of broadcasting. The multiplex is part of an Ofcom/DCMS trial to test the viability of low cost DAB transmission on a very local basis. In Portsmouth, the multiplex has blossomed from launching with just six services, to broadcasting twenty one services to the area covering a wide range of genres. 

 
One of the original launch services is The Flash, a digital and internet community radio station based in Havant. Station Manager Martin Kirby said:
 
“I cannot believe that two very successful years have gone by since we started broadcasting on the Portsmouth DAB multiplex. The DAB platform has given our volunteer based station a real boost and new local listeners are discovering us on DAB all the time. We are very proud to be a part of this experiment locally, and hope to be on air in Portsmouth for many years to come”.
 
The services added to the Portsmouth DAB multiplex since launch cover a wide variety of formats from rock, pop, country, oldies, chart hits, easy listening and more. One of the new formats is a local ethnic station Awaaz FM. The first local DAB station for the ethnic communities of South Hampshire. Ali Beg, the project manager of Awaaz FM said:
 
“Thanks to the Portsmouth DAB multiplex, Awaaz FM is now the biggest ethnic radio station in this area. This was never possible before due to the high costs of traditional DAB multiplexes. The small scale DAB multiplex in Portsmouth clearly shows how community focused the new choice of services can be, and how effectively it reaches out to all members of the community and not just the traditional stations that we are used to, giving the area a much needed variety of stations to choose from!”
 
The Portsmouth DAB multiplex has been pushing the boundaries of DAB broadcasting. It launched within two months of being granted a licence from Ofcom, and has been broadcasting DAB+ services in the UK longer than any other operator. One of the longest operating DAB+ services is BFBS Portsmouth. Nick Beer, the Chief Development Officer at SSVC, the organisation behind BFBS, said:

 
“Working with Angel Radio on the Portsmouth DAB multiplex has allowed us to launch a trial radio service for our significant Royal Navy audience in the city. It also allowed us to trial DAB+ with minimum risk. Something which would otherwise have involved a lot more effort and expense launched very swiftly. Ash and the guys have been great partners in this and we look forward to working with them on an enduring and expanding basis.”
 
The majority of services broadcast DAB slideshow and are broadcast in stereo too. The multiplex is run by local community station Angel Radio with engineering support provided by local company Commtronix.
 
Ash Elford, Angel Radio’s Digital Development Manager said:
 
“It’s been an amazing two years for us in Portsmouth. We’ve demonstrated that we can just get on with things. Here in Portsmouth, we’re improving the listener experience with a broad range of formats, and many of the services feature local content too. And who says stereo is dead – 20 of our 21 services are in stereo! We’ve embraced DAB+ and DAB slideshow in a way that traditional multiplexes haven’t. I’d like to thank our service providers for working with us to enhance listener choice in the Portsmouth area. We’ve demonstrated that DAB doesn’t have to be difficult.”
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JACK 3

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The latest radio station to commence broadcasting on DAB+ digital radio to the Portsmouth area is JACK 3. The station features relaxing hits from the last six decades. Featured artists include Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley, Linda Ronstadt, The Carpenters, Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Roxy Music, Paul Simon, Celine Dion, The Hollies, Enya, Aretha Franklin and Michael Buble.

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JACK 3 is broadcast in DAB+. This means radios that do not support DAB+ will be unable to find this service. As a guide, look for the DAB+ logo or green Digital Radio tick mark to be certain of a radio that supports DAB+.
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Awaaz FM returns to Portsmouth DAB

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Having appeared for a trial period in 2016, Awaaz FM has today returned to DAB+ digital radio in the Portsmouth area. Awaaz FM is the first digital ethnic station for Hampshire featuring music in Punjabi, Pushto, Urdu, Hindi and English with speech of interest to the Asian community in Hampshire.

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Awaaz FM is broadcast in DAB+. This means radios that do not support DAB+ will be unable to find this service. As a guide, look for the DAB+ logo or green Digital Radio tick mark to be certain of a radio that supports DAB+.
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Another two new stations for Portsmouth

We’ve recently added another two radio services to our line-up.

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Timeless Radio broadcasts adult standards, classy tunes and music for grown ups from the 1940s to the current day.

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Established as an online station in 2012, Antenna Radio broadcasts pop music from the 1980s to today. Unlike other pop stations, Antenna Radio also features English language pop music from around the world in addition to the UK.

Both Timeless Radio and Antenna Radio are broadcast in DAB+ digital radio, this means some older sets may not be able to receive them. To be certain of a radio that does DAB+, look for the DAB+ logo or the green digital radio tick mark logo.

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May station line-up changes

This coming week will some changes to the station line-up on our Portsmouth DAB multiplex. We say goodbye to Cheesy FM and News Radio UK. You can continue listening to these stations online at www.cheesy-fm.com and www.newsradiouk.com We wish these stations well. We maintain a flexible relationship with our services, so if a station wants to leave, we don’t force them to stay.

As a result of the departure of Cheesy FM, News Radio UK and Unforgettable Radio, we have the capacity to add new services to our Portsmouth DAB multiplex.

Back by popular demand, 60s is returning to DAB+ digital radio. The station relaunches at 9am on Saturday 20th May. Tune in for nothing but the fabulous Swinging 60s!

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Another station returning to DAB+ digital radio is Sleepyhead Radio, a radio station of continuous soothing sounds from home and nature that are designed to help babies drift off to sleep.

There will also be three more stations launching this month on our multiplex, but as they have not made their arrival public yet, we don’t want to steal their thunder!

Finally, Gaydio will become a DAB+ service this week, it’ll result in an improvement to the sound quality, and the station being available in stereo. Older radios have difficulty receiving DAB+, so to ensure you can continue listening to Gaydio, make sure you have a DAB+ radio. Simply look for the DAB+ logo or green digital radio tick mark to be sure of a radio that supports DAB+.
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Line-up changes

On Sunday 30th April, Unforgettable Radio will be leaving digital radio in Portsmouth. The station continues online, and we hope that they are able to return to digital radio some time in the future.

Eagle eyed readers, will have noticed that we recently advertised spare capacity on our multiplex, and we’re delighted to report we will be adding several stations during May. We’ll provide more details in due course.

 

Boost for local DAB as Bill receives Royal Assent

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The Private Members’ Small-Scale DAB Bill received Royal Assent to pass into law as an Act of Parliament yesterday (27 April 2017), thereby providing the means for a huge expansion of local and community stations on DAB, marking an historic day for UK radio.

The Bill, officially known as the Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill 2016-17, is believed to be the first Private Members’ Broadcasting Bill to receive Royal Assent, and makes provision for the regulation of small-scale DAB multiplex services. Industry observers predict this could prompt an increase of over 1000 new commercial and community stations across the UK.

The Bill was introduced into Parliament by Kevin Foster MP who strongly supported the need for ultra-local commercial and community radio stations to have a path to DAB in a digital age. Completing all the parliamentary stages in both Houses, the Bill received its final reading in the Lords on 21 March.

Kevin Foster MP, said: ‘I am delighted that with Royal Assent today the Bill has become law, marking an exciting new era ahead for digital radio at a local level. It being passed in Norman French is perhaps a symbol of how it will allow the tradition of excellence in British local radio to continue and thrive on this most modern of platforms. I cannot wait to hearing the new listening choices this bill will bring to digital radio listeners across the country.’

The small-scale DAB approach was developed and pioneered by Ofcom engineer Rashid Mustapha and the first trial was launched in Brighton by Daniel Nathan of Brighton’s Juice 107.2.

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: ‘This is a big day for radio and potentially the start of a new era for DAB offering an affordable path to digital for ultra-local commercial and community radio stations right across the UK. Our thanks to Kevin Foster MP for the first piece of broadcasting legislation prompted by an individual MP and to Rashid Mustapha of Ofcom and Daniel Nathan for their excellent pioneering work on the small-scale DAB technology .’

The Small-Scale DAB Bill will enable Government and Ofcom to create a regulatory regime for the licensing of local commercial and community radio stations on small-scale DAB multiplexes  across the UK.  Currently  there are 10 small-scale DAB multiplex trials in place with over 140 local stations on air in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Portsmouth, Cambridge, Brighton, Aldershot, Bristol  and Norwich.

In September 2016, Ofcom published a report into the outcome of the trials and concluded that they had been ‘highly successful’ and that there is sufficient spectrum to support at least one small scale multiplex in most parts of the UK. [Source: Ofcom Small-scale DAB trials: Final report 2016, 26 Sept 2016. Full report].

The advent of additional local DAB capacity and the ability of local stations to broadcast affordably on DAB will lower the barriers to entry for small and new start-up commercial and community radio broadcasters and could mean an unprecedented level of radio innovation and creativity.

Ash Elford, Digital Development Manager, Angel Radio, who runs the small-scale multiplex in Portsmouth, said: ‘We are delighted that Royal Assent has been granted and look forward to supporting the roll out of a new wave of community and commercial stations. Small-scale DAB has allowed Angel Radio to expand its reach around the UK on DAB in a simple and cost effective way. In addition, the small-scale DAB multiplex we operate has enabled us to transmit other community and smaller commercial stations on DAB to Portsmouth. We are also innovating with our use of DAB+ and enhancing the listener experience through applications such as DAB Slideshow.’

Dean Kavanagh, Director, Switch Radio, operator of the small-scale DAB multiplex in Birmingham, said: ‘We’re obviously delighted that the Bill has received Royal Assent before dissolution. It’s fantastic news for the listening public, which will bring additional choice and variety to an already bustling medium. With the ever increasing percentage of digital listening, this news could not be better timed.’

David Duffy, Director,  Niocast Digital, who run Manchester’s small-scale DAB multiplex, said: ‘I am delighted that the commitment of all those involved in the DAB trials, operators and stations alike, has achieved so much in a relatively short time. This legislation will open the doors to a new era in radio – providing access to digital radio for new entrants and expanding listener choice.’

Progress update

Sorry it has been a while since our last update. Over the last few months we’ve been busy working behind the scenes. While our transmission system has proven very reliable, there is always room for improvement, and that’s what we’ve been working on.

60s has now ceased broadcasting. However, we hope to have an announcement in the coming weeks about some new services coming to our digital radio service in Portsmouth.

 

Two new stations on the way

Testing on DAB+ digital radio in the Portsmouth area are two new stations.

60s is a station dedicated to nothing other than music from the swinging 60s! Test transmissions currently taking place giving a taster of the music to come.

Totally Radio is one of the UK’s longest established internet radio stations, and will be soon be heard on DAB+ for the first time in Portsmouth. It showcases independent and non mainstream music presented by knowledgeable broadcasters. Currently the test channel is silent, but audio will appear in a few days time.