New DAB digital radio services for the City of Portsmouth launched this morning as part of ground breaking trial, licensed by broadcast and telecoms regulator Ofcom. The purpose of the trial is to test the feasibility of small scale DAB digital radio broadcasting to individual towns and cities, and Portsmouth is one of just ten locations in the country to be chosen.
Six stations are taking part in the trial, led by Havant based Angel Radio. If the nine month trial proves successful it will lead to the licensing of long term broadcasts.
The new services available on DAB digital radio to Portsmouth are:
ANGELxtra – A spin off service from Angel Radio broadcasting dance band music from the 1920s to 1950s by day with vintage easy listening music by night.
Express FM – Passionately Portsmouth, the popular local community radio service is now available on DAB digital radio, featuring great music, talk, and live Portsmouth FC commentary.
The Flash – An alternative to pop music, with a diet of classic rock, blues and tracks from local bands with studios based in Havant.
Mango Vibe – A dance music service aimed at young adults playing upfront music and specialist dance programming.
100% Hits Triple Radio – A service aimed at those too old for Radio 1, but too young for Radio 2 playing a mixture of familiar current and classic hits.
JAMM Radio – The student station of Highbury College, JAMM Radio plays chart hits and guilty pleasures with programmes made for students by students.
To find these new services, listeners will first need to perform a one-off ‘autotune’ on their DAB digital radio. Once an autotune has been performed, the new stations can then be found by searching for the name of the station in the station list.*
A website about the project has been established at www.solentwireless.com and an Information Channel will also provide periodic updates for listeners. It will be possible to receive the new DAB signal for the six new services within the City of Portsmouth and parts of Portchester, Havant, Hayling Island and Gosport. Transmission services are being provided by Hampshire based Commtronix, who have installed the transmitter at Highbury College’s iconic Tower building in Portsmouth.
Station Director of Express FM, Cheryl Buggy said:
“Like Angel radio, we are one of the longest running community stations in the country, with our third licence term recently approved by Ofcom, and Express is proudly ‘Passionately Portsmouth’, based as we are in the heart of the city. Our listenership is strong both on FM and online, and is growing steadily, especially with regards to our Portsmouth FC coverage, so to be able to add a digital choice to our repertoire is bound to be a bonus. It’s also great to be part of a pioneering venture, as our partnership in this trial is one of a select few in the country.”
Media Programme Manager at Highbury College, Kara Hall said:
“We are so excited to be part of this ground breaking venture. JAMM radio is a station run by young people, for young people. More and more people are choosing to listen to radio online and through DAB so this will give us the chance to reach even more young people in Portsmouth. Our aim is to entertain and inform 14 to 19 year olds with fantastic music and young presenters who understand the issues that teenagers face. This is an amazing opportunity not just for us but for the whole community of Portsmouth. We are excited to have the only Further Education College student radio station participating in the trial.”
Founder of The Flash, Martin Kirby said:
“We have been operating as an internet station for over three years now, with the occasional temporary FM broadcast, but to have the chance to take part in this trial is by far the most exciting opportunity we have had so far and will enable us to offer our unique service to a wider audience. The Ofcom trial is a great idea and will make local DAB digital radio broadcasting viable for smaller ‘not for profit’ services like ours to serve our communities and create more choice for the listener.”
Station Manager of Angel Radio, Tony Smith said:
” Our new ANGELxtra service brings a unique choice for Portsmouth’s fans of all things vintage and retro. With this service, Angel Radio builds on its reputation as the home of pure nostalgia. We are proud to be working with our broadcasting partners to bring this exciting venture to the Portsmouth area.”
Managing Director of Mango Vibe, Robbie Harrison said:
“We’re really excited about this opportunity to bring a fresh new sound to Portsmouth. We also want to hear from local DJs who want to get involved, please get in touch with us at Mango Vibe.”
Chief Executive of Digital Radio UK, Ford Ennals said:
“Listeners in the Portsmouth area love digital radio with over 41% of radio listening being on a digital platform and with almost 52% of homes having a DAB radio.** These small scale DAB trials are very exciting as they encourage innovation and competition delivering six great new stations broadcast on DAB digital radio and encompassing stations from all sectors of the radio industry, including community, student and small local stations.
“Angel Radio have assembled a first-rate content line up for this nine month trial, incorporating the great range of services that small stations offer including music services, community services featuring talk and sport, and student radio. We would encourage listeners to re-tune their DAB radios to make sure that they can receive these new stations available to listeners in the City of Portsmouth.”
Notes to editors:
* Some radios that were manufactured before the year 2007 may require a Full autotune or Rest of World scan to find the services. On many radios this is done by simply holding down the autotune button for five or six seconds. Please refer to the radio instruction manual if this does not work.
** Data from RAJAR Q2 2015 Capital South Coast TSA (all services).
A placeholder for JAMM Radio is currently on-air, regular programming will commence in September.