Test transmissions

A quick update from us. Last Thursday we commenced our first test transmissions of our new DAB digital radio services to the Portsmouth area. We powered down our transmitter at the end of Thursday evening and hope to resume tests later in the week. We’ll let you know when this happens and hope to reveal our official launch date soon.

Our first test transmission is received!
Our first test transmission is received!

We’re on the way

Today we have been busy installation our transmission equipment. This morning, whilst the weather was good, we started off by assembling our transmission antenna. After this we then installed the transmitter and multiplexer. In simple terms, the transmitter generates our signal and the multiplexer takes the studio feeds from our services and presents them to the transmitter.

Whilst we have had a successful day, you won’t be able to listen to our transmissions just yet. We still have some behind the scenes work to do with the IT network we will use and Ofcom have to inspect our transmission equipment to ensure they are satisfied it is set up correctly.

Once we are happy everything works correctly and we have the go ahead from Ofcom we will announce a launch date, please bear with us, we hope not to take too long.

Wallace & Adrian at work

Ofcom gives green light

Angel Radio leads the way in Portsmouth receiving new digital radio stations

Ofcom, the Broadcast and Telecoms regulator, has today announced that Portsmouth has been selected as a location for a ground breaking trial to broadcast small scale DAB digital radio stations.

This means more choice on the digital airwaves for radio listeners in the city.

The trial, led by Havant based Angel Radio, will see six new digital radio stations broadcast to the City of Portsmouth from the end of Summer for up to nine months. If successful it is hoped that Ofcom will form a policy to enable long term broadcasts to be licenced.

The new services available will be:

ANGELxtra – a spin off service from Angel Radio broadcasting dance band music from the 1920s to 1950s by day and easy listening music from by night. The station will provide greater choice to the city’s senior & discerning population.

Express FM – the popular local community radio service Portsmouth featuring music, talk and live Portsmouth FC commentary will be simulcast on digital radio.

JAMM Radio – a service from Highbury college playing chart hits with programmes made by students for students.

Mango Vibe – a dance music service for young adults playing upfront music with specialist dance programming.

The Flash – a classic rock service based in Havant, featuring blues and music from local bands.

Triple 100% Hits – a service aimed at 20 to 44 year olds playing current and classic hits.

A website at www.solentwireless.com provides information about the new digital services.

Nicola Phipps, Editor of Creative Learning Programmes at Highbury College, said:

“Highbury College prides itself on being a cutting edge educational establishment, and we are excited to showcase our student led radio service JAMM Radio to digital radio listeners in Portsmouth. We look forward to working with local broadcasters to broaden choice available to radio listeners.”

David Harber, Commercial Manager of Express FM, said:

“With nearly half of adults nationally having access to a DAB digital radio, being on DAB digital radio in addition to FM, will enable our unique local programming to be heard in Portsmouth on as many radios as possible.”

Tony Smith, Station Manager of Angel Radio, said:

“Angel Radio has worked hard with its partners to provide a range of stations that complement those already available in Portsmouth. We are pleased that Ofcom has acknowledged we have a sensible proposal by granting us just one of ten available trial licences for small scale DAB digital radio services in the country.”

Hampshire based company Commtronix will provide transmission support for the stations.

Notes to editors:

49% of UK adults (aged 15+) have access to at least one DAB digital radio set according to audience measurement body RAJAR (Q1 2015).

Ofcom has issued a press release with information about this and the other licence awards on it’s website at http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015

About our services

We propose to broadcast six DAB digital radio services to the Portsmouth area, if we are successful in our application to Ofcom. This page explains a little bit more about our proposed services.

Angel XtraA new spin off service from Angel Radio, ANGELxtra will broadcast dance band music from the 1920s to 1950s by day and easy listening music from the 1940s to 1950s by night. Angel Radio has been broadcasting to Havant since 2002 on 101.1FM and on DAB Digital Radio to South Hampshire since 2010. Angel Xtra allows Angel Radio to offer even more programming from bygone times.

Express FMBroadcasting useful information, supporting local music and sounding different to other services, Express FM is a popular local community radio service for Portsmouth. Featuring music, talk and live Portsmouth FC commentary, Express FM has been broadcasting to Portsmouth, from Portsmouth, on 93.7FM since 2006. 

JAMM RadioAn exciting service from Highbury college playing chart hits of the moment, and guilty pleasures of the past. JAMM Radio is the only local service with programmes made by students for students. Currently an internet broadcaster, being on DAB digital radio will allow the service to be heard on terrestrial radio for the first time.

The FlashThe Flash is an alternative to pop music services with a diet of classic rock singles and albums from 1960 to 1990, featuring blues and music from local bands. Based in Havant and broadcasting on the internet, The Flash has also had occasional licensed temporary FM transmissions to the Havant area.

Triple HitsA service aimed at 20 to 44 year olds playing current and classic hits. Triple Hits currently broadcasts on DAB digital radio in Somerset and Bristol. The service aims to cater for the generation that are too old for Radio 1, but too young for Radio 2 playing a mixture of familiar current and classic hits.

Dance ServiceUnfortunately we can’t reveal the provider of our dance music service right now. However, what we can say is that our dance music service will play upfront dance music, and specialist dance music, aimed at 15-30 year olds.

Want to sample our proposed services?

ANGELxtra (information for main Angel Radio service)
FM: 101.1 in the Havant area
DAB: South Hampshire
Web: www.angelradio.co.uk
Facebook: Official page

Express FM
FM: 93.7 in Portsmouth area
Web: www.expressfm.com
Facebook: Official page
Twitter: @ExpressFM

JAMM Radio
Web: www.jammradio.com
Facebook: Official page
Twitter: @JAMM_Radio

The Flash
Web: www.theflashonair.co.uk
Facebook: Official page
Twitter: @TheFlashOnAir

Triple Hits
DAB Digital Radio: Somerset and Bristol area
Web: www.tripleradio.co.uk
Facebook: Official page
Twitter: @TripleHitsRadio

Dance music service
We’ve told Ofcom the identity of our dance music service, but will reveal the details publicly upon award of our licence.

A brief guide to the small-scale DAB digital radio pilot

A week has now passed since the application deadline to Ofcom and the dust is beginning to settle. So now things are calm, we’re taking this opportunity to explain what it is we are hoping to do.

Firstly, a basic explanation of how DAB digital radio works. With analogue (FM/AM) radio each service requires its own individual frequency from its own individual transmitter. With DAB digital radio, many services can be accommodated on the same frequency, and this is known as a multiplex. You don’t need to know what services are on each multiplex is, because most DAB digital radio sets simply display each service in an alphabetical list.

Generally speaking, in the UK there is a national multiplex broadcasting BBC national radio services. There is a national multiplex broadcasting commercial national radio services, and in 2016 a second national commercial multiplex will launch. Finally, each area usually has one local multiplex. In the case of the Portsmouth area, coverage is provided by the South Hampshire multiplex.

There is a finite amount of capacity on a multiplex, which means it isn’t possible to accommodate every small scale service on each local multiplex. The larger the area, the more transmitters are required and the cost to each service also becomes more substantial.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, are to pilot small-scale DAB multiplexes. These multiplexes will have small coverage areas, typically broadcasting to just a town or city. We’re proposing to broadcast our six services from a transmitter at Highbury College to cover the Portsmouth area. Ofcom have said they will award a total of 10 pilot licences for a nine month period. A total of 51 organisations (including ourselves) have applied.

If we are successful, we are proposing to broadcast Angel Xtra, Express FM, JAAM Radio, The Flash, Triple Hits and a dance music service to the Portsmouth area on DAB digital radio for the duration of the pilot.

We now patiently await Ofcom’s decision. Fingers crossed.

Radio stations collaborate to propose more choice for Portsmouth

Local radio operators are hoping that the City of Portsmouth is one of ten pilot areas licensed by radio regulator Ofcom to trial small scale DAB digital radio services. If successful in their application, transmissions could start as soon as July.

The application is a collaboration led by Angel Radio involving local community broadcasters Express FM, JAMM Radio and The Flash that plan to bring more choice to DAB digital radio in Portsmouth.

The broadcasters involved and their proposed services are:

Angel Xtra – a spin off service from Angel Radio broadcasting dance band music from the 1920s to 1950s by day and easy listening music from the 1940s to 1950s by night.

Express FM – a simulcast of the popular local community radio service for Portsmouth featuring music, talk and live Portsmouth FC commentary.

JAMM Radio – a service from Highbury college playing chart hits with programmes made by students for students.

The Flash – a classic rock service featuring blues and music from local bands.

Triple Hits – a service aimed at 20 to 44 year olds playing current and classic hits.

A dance music service will also feature.

The Ofcom pilot will allow many very small broadcasters the opportunity to be heard on DAB digital radio for the first time. One of the stations taking part is The Flash, a community radio station based in Havant. The station founder Martin Kirby said:

“We have been operating as an internet station for almost three years now with the occasional seven day FM broadcast to the local area. To have the chance to take part in this Ofcom trial is by far the most exciting opportunity we have had so far. It will give us the chance to offer our unique service to a wider audience and for a more substantial period of time.”

Tony Smith, Station Manager of Angel Radio, said:

“We will be able to offer extra choice to listeners in Portsmouth through our proposed spin-off service, Angel Xtra. This is a very exciting opportunity available to us and we have worked hard collaborating with our broadcast partners to come up with a proposition that showcases the best in Portsmouth broadcasting.”

David Harber, Commercial Manager of Express FM said:

“Many people are aware that much of the offering from commercial radio stations is homogenised and lacks real variety. We are proud to be working in partnership to not only geographically extend own range of ‘Passionately Portsmouth’ programmes but also to support this opportunity to fully extend listener choice in and around Portsmouth”.

The Ofcom trial will last for up to nine months. Once the trial concludes Ofcom will form a policy on how to formally licence small scale digital radio services for longer periods.

Notes to editors:

  • Celador Radio’s The Breeze was offered the opportunity to join the application but declined.
  • The identity of the dance music service has been disclosed to Ofcom, but is confidential for the time being.
  • The trial licence, if granted by Ofcom, would commence in July and last for up to nine months.
  • A website at www.solentwireless.com will provide updates about the application.