More station news

We’ve added Soleil Radio to the Portsmouth DAB multiplex. Based in the Channel Islands. Soleil Radio is a relaxing, more music, chilled out, easy listening radio station.

In other news, today we say goodbye to a long term friend, Countryline Radio (formerly known as Chris Country). Unfortunately Countryline Radio have decided to leave DAB in the Portsmouth area. We wish them all the best for the future.

Recent station changes

We’ve recently had a station shuffle on our Portsmouth DAB+ multiplex.

Now available on DAB+ digital radio in the Portsmouth area for the first time is Nation 00s playing nothing but non stop music from the first decade of thus millennium.

Unofficial all-speech Portsmouth FC fan channel Pompey Sound has gone digital. Totally independent, no music, just chatter all day everyday about the Pride Of The South, Pompey!

The world-renowned iconic Belgian festival Tomorrowland have launched their Tomorrowland One World Radio station playing exclusive mixes, unique tracks, new releases and the most iconic live sets from 18 years of Tomorrowland.

We’ve said goodbye to Cosoro Radio, Like Pop and Nation Radio UK. Cosoro Radio and Like Pop continue online, while Nation Radio UK has gained wider coverage in the Solent area on DAB. To continue listening to Nation Radio UK, simply retune your radio.

Major transmitter work

On the evening of Monday 4th April 2022 we will be relocating our transmitter at Fort Widley. For the last six years we have been broadcasting from the rooftop of Fort Widley. From Monday we will move to the main transmission mast at Fort Widley. Although we do not anticipate a major change to our coverage area, we would be interested in any feedback from listeners as to whether coverage is better, worse or the same.

We also have a new telecoms link installed at the transmission site at Fort Widley. This will help improve the reliability of our transmissions too.

To facilitate all of the above, we will turn off the Fort Widley transmitter at 19:00 on Monday 4th April 2022 up until Midnight – although we hope to keep the outage to a minimum. Transmissions from our Leigh Park transmitter will continue to broadcast unaffected.

Fort Widley Main Mast

Engineering work

Please be advised that there will be a shut down of our Fort Widley transmitter some point after 19:00 this evening (21/10/21). The outage is expected to take no more than one hour.

Services from our Leigh Park transmitter will be unaffected.

Engineering work

There will be engineering work taking place today (07/10/21) resulting in all services being taken off air from our Fort Widley transmitter. We will do the work between 10:00 and 16:00. While we aim to keep the outage to a minimum, we are afraid it will last several hours. This is for transmitter repairs to take place. Our Leigh Park transmitter will remain on air.

6 years on and still going strong!

Today is the sixth anniversary of our Portsmouth DAB multiplex. We aren’t throwing a big party of anything to celebrate, but instead post this short reflection of our progress to date.

We broke new ground earlier this year with a record 31 services broadcast on the multiplex!

A few services have upgraded their bitrate which means we’re currently broadcasting 27 services.

There is currently a pop-up service from 10-fi broadcasting until 31st September. Low fidelity, low tech, 8-bit and more, it’s just the kind of unconventional service we like to broadcast!

Logo for 10-fi Radio

We’ve recently signed up another pop-up service as well as two long term services, and hope to announce more news on these services soon.

Finally, thank you to all the services that have supported us over the last six years, and a big thank you to you, for listening to, and supporting, our services!

Station rebrands

Two stations have re-branded on DAB and FM in the Portsmouth area. Sam FM has rebranded as Greatest Hits Radio and The Breeze has rebranded as Hits Radio.

Greatest Hits Radio UK

The biggest songs of the 70s, 80s and 90s played by presenters you know and love, like Mark Goodier, Paul Gambaccini, Janice Long, Pat Sharp and Simon Mayo on Greatest Hits Radio, the new name for Sam FM.

Hits Radio | The Biggest Hits. The Biggest Throwbacks

The biggest hits and the biggest throwbacks can be found on Hits Radio, the new name for The Breeze, featuring Fleur East at Breakfast.

5 years of the Portsmouth DAB multiplex – in our own words

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Portsmouth DAB multiplex. We’ve put a series of posts on this website today where we and our supporters reflect on the last five years. Here we reflect on our own progress.

Ash Elford, Digital Development Manager, Angel Radio
“I just wanted to write a short note to say thank you. Thank you to everyone that has supported Angel Radio and our Solent Wireless Portsmouth DAB multiplex over the last five years, and a thank you to everyone that has supported our stations along the way.

Without the hard work of the CRC and the ODR community, I probably wouldn’t be writing to you today to celebrate such a momentous location. So thank you to the CRC and ODR community as well as Rash Mustapha (Ofcom) and Peter Davis (formerly Ofcom) for pushing through the regulatory steps to make our trial licences possible.

I don’t want this to sound like an award acceptance speech, so I will wrap up by saying thank you to Tony Smith and Alan Beech for supporting me with this project, along with our service providers, Ofcom and Factum Radioscape.

If you want to learn more about our journey, please join me on Facebook this evening at 20:00 for our live stream.”

Tony Smith, Station Manager, Angel Radio
“I’m immensely proud of what Ash Elford and Angel Radio have achieved over the past 5 years of our Portsmouth small scale DAB multiplex.

Leading the UK radio industry by introducing DAB+ and slideshow, and proving its commercial value, has been an exhilarating experience. Seeing well established companies like Radio Caroline, Starpoint and The Breeze using our service alongside community stations, Express FM and BFBS Portsmouth, and new broadcasters, Little Radio, Cosoro Radio and Atmosphere Radio is proof that Portsmouth’s small scale DAB service has been able to bring large and small, old and new radio stations to a whole new audience.

We have been able to help radio stations like The Flash to fulfil their potential by providing them with the ability to make the transition from internet only, to DAB, to full-time FM Community Radio.

As with most innovative projects there have been both technical and financial problems, but each of these have been successfully and quickly solved along along the way and they’ve helped our Portsmouth small scale DAB multiplex to become stronger and more resilient.

Bringing 28 radio stations onto digital radios through a multiplex for Portsmouth and the surrounding areas is something that could only have been dreamed of a few years ago. To have been at the forefront of, not only making that dream come true, but also making it affordable to even the newest, smallest radio stations is something we are immensely proud of.” 

Alan Beech, Managing Director, Commtronix (our engineering contractor)
“It hardly seems like over 5 years ago when I took that phone call from Ash, asking if I knew about DAB, and could I install a transmitter for him? It was to be a baptism of fire.

Everything I thought I knew about DAB and the conventional way of producing and transmitting was turned on its head when I saw the open source low cost implementation and I knew right away this was a game changer. Much midnight oil was burned getting to grips with the technology, and it is hard to believe the initial 9 months trial has now been 5 years!

Working until the early hours on many occasions, loading new configurations onto the multiplex or adding (and debugging!) new features in conjunction with the software developers became the norm. But when those features were added there was a sense of satisfaction knowing that we were among the first in the world to do so. 

Behind Brighton we were the second small scale DAB service to launch in the UK, and it has been my pleasure to be part of it, to push the technology (quite literally) beyond breaking point, and see the service flourish.  I look forward to the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years and what may be achieved.

Radio industry figureheads celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Portsmouth DAB multiplex

We asked the services on our multiplex and radio industry figureheads for their thoughts about the Portsmouth DAB multiplex celebrating it’s 5th anniversary. This is what radio industry figureheads had to say…

Graham Dixon, Head of Radio, European Broadcasting Union
“When DAB was introduced, it massively enlivened the European radio scene with the launch of imaginative services in the newly available spectrum. With the extension into small-scale DAB radio, this went a step further, as different interest groups and communities were able to find a voice in broadcast radio, one which would have never been open to them before. 

Celebrating your fifth birthday, you are rightly recognized among the pioneers, but it is really encouraging to report, that our latest EBU research shows 624 small-scale services in six European countries, including the impressive 221 in the UK.  We have Denmark, France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland all active in this area, with creative people – such as yourselves – finding new ways of engaging and delighting audiences in ways which this technology has uniquely facilitated.  Happy birthday!”

Bernie O’Neill, Project Director, WorldDAB
“Congratulations to everyone at Angel Radio for 5 years of DAB! Angel Radio has been an early pioneer of small scale DAB, with an inspirational story that has been a joy to witness. 

The UK leads the way when it comes to community radio stations powered by small scale DAB and Angel Radio’s story on how small-scale DAB offers smaller local and community radio stations an affordable and achievable route to go on air is of great interest to broadcasters far beyond the UK. For this reason four years ago WorldDAB invited Ash Elford to share the Angel Radio story with the international broadcast radio community at our annual conference in Vienna, Austria. Small scale DAB services are also on air in Switzerland, France, and with several other countries actively planning to follow.  

Angel Radio has won several awards over the years, testimony to the value you bring to your community of listeners. Congratulations, and best wishes to you and your volunteers for a long and successful future at Angel Radio!”

William Rogers, former Chairman, UKRD Group
“As consolidation within the commercial radio sector proceeds apace, and, the consequences for local communities, local news, local engagement and proper local radio become ever more clear, the focus on alternative methods and platforms to bring back proper local radio to local communities suffering its removal, or loss, becomes ever more important. 

Whilst there’s no question that the launch of DAB more generally has been a costly and appallingly badly handled initiative for the best part of two decades, ironically, it’s now small scale DAB that may yet present the opportunity to local communities and operators to deliver those broadcasting component parts of what has been taken from them.

Assuming it’s given the underlying infrastructural strength and resource so readily denied to smaller scale FM stations, when they were launched all those years ago, there’s no reason why it can’t ultimately compete for a share of local “ears” in many parts of the UK. We must all keep our fingers crossed that this opportunity is not as equally as badly served and squandered as all too many other commercial radio initiatives have been by both those in power and those who regulate.

Get it right and get on with it!”  

James Cridland, Radio Futurologist
“The small scale DAB trial in the UK has been something that has been a real success, and has meant a lot of new stations on the air that otherwise would never have been heard.

Great to hear about the Portsmouth DAB multiplex celebrating its fifth birthday; and for your success in being possibly the most innovative DAB multiplex out there. Here’s to many more!”

John Bibby, Managing Director, Bitstream Broadcast
“For many years we were convinced that DAB could be done much more efficiently for smaller groups who were prepared to take some risk and not requiring a 24/7 gold standard high cost service, they could maintain the systems themselves (with a little expert help of course).

Sensing it was time for the little guys to have their day we threw ourselves into development of a DAB compatible RF amplifier and an on channel repeater (OCR). In a very short period of time we had what became the standard offering by OFCOM, still in use today and having proved very reliable it became the basis for a more refined, updated and robust version that we hope will form the RF backbone for future small scale DAB licensees.

With the excellent steerage and support by Rash, David and other OFCOM engineers the future for small scale DAB seems bright, even despite recent events. In particular the recent loss of so much “proper local radio” to us seems a real opportunity to provide a new, genuinely local radio service to the good people of the UK, something which we know there is a real demand for.

To Portsmouth DAB and indeed to all small scale DAB players “Happy 5th Birthday” and we hope to partner and support you all in the future.”

Daniel Nathan, Director, Brighton & Hove Broadcasting (operators of the Brighton small scale DAB multiplex) and Director,
“Since launching the first recognised UK trial multiplex in Brighton in July 2015 we’ve seen clear demand across the country for DAB as an incremental platform for new entry level broadcasters but also as an add on for FM broadcasters at a proportionate price point.

The trial multiplexes have blazed a trail with distinctive programming, new formats, DAB+, slideshow as well as improved stereo sound quality and reception when compared with the legacy multiplexes and the technology is on the whole reliable considering the modest cost.   

Contrary to the expectations of legacy providers, the trial has not caused any issue with adjacent channel interference to their services – it seems perverse that established interests wield so much influence over our development. All roads lead to Arqiva and we have no access to the tools they use to pass judgement. The trial has been liberating and allows us to throw off the monopolist’s yoke.  It would be a shame if the market abused turned market abuser.”

Bill Best,Operations Director, Community Media Association
“Well done to Ash and the Solent Wireless team on five years of small-scale DAB. The Portsmouth multiplex has shown the way with pushing the boundaries of the technology and introducing a fantastic range of new programme formats. All of us at the Community Media Association wish Ash and his colleagues every success for the future as we shortly enter a new phase of radio broadcasting in the UK”.