Over the last two years, Solent Wireless has established itself as the leader in small scale DAB digital radio. We have been leading the way in the UK, proving that DAB broadcasting doesn’t have to be difficult. From being awarded our licence by Ofcom to fully launching we took just 69 days, and that included 2 weeks of testing!
Our Portsmouth local DAB multiplex has been broadcasting DAB+ for longer than anyone else in the UK. All of our services are in stereo, and most have DAB slideshow.
As we reflect on operating a multiplex of 21 services of differing genres from a mixture of community and commercial broadcasters, we concentrate on our next steps. Though the details are yet to be finalised, 2018 looks likely to be the year that more ultra local DAB multiplexes, such as ours in Portsmouth, are licensed.
Solent Wireless is a partnership between Angel Radio and Commtronix. We are able to provide consultancy for those interested in learning from our success in Portsmouth. Be it from existing DAB multiplex operators, or from potential DAB multiplex operators. We can help with the technical, licensing, day to day operations and commercial aspects of DAB broadcasting. We have already worked with existing DAB multiplex operators to provide technical help and capacity brokerage.
We encourage broadcasters that want to join the ultra local DAB revolution to think about their place in a digital future. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!
info @ solentwireless . com
Please be aware that from 09:00 to 13:00 this Friday, we’ll be undertaking engineering work on our transmitter. During this time there will be several outages to our services, of around 60 seconds. We’ll try our very best to keep any downtime to a minimum.
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.
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.
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+.
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.
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+.
recently added another two radio services to our line-up.
Timeless Radio broadcasts adult standards, classy tunes and music for grown ups from the 1940s to the current day.
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.
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!
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+.
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.
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.’