Friday 18th May

Unfortunately this Friday evening we say goodbye to Timeless Radio and NonStop90s Radio from DAB in Portsmouth. We thank both of these stations for broadcasting with us on digital radio and wish them well in the future. Listeners can still listen to these stations online. 

While we are always sad when we lose stations from our Portsmouth DAB multiplex, part of what makes our local DAB transmission attractive to broadcasters is our flexible approach. We allow new, niche, small and innovative broadcasters an opportunity to broadcast on DAB without making substantial commitments, and part of this includes giving stations the opportunity to exit if things aren’t right for them.

We’ll have some news about new stations coming on board in the near future. While we’d like to add replacement stations straight away, we need to make sure things are in place with our new broadcasters and to obtain approval from Ofcom, sometimes this takes a little time.

Station news

The people behind 100% Dragon Hits have launched a new service on our Portsmouth multiplex. 100% Whatever is a station that play Whatever from Whenever. With no boundaries on decade or nation, they play just great music.

Meanwhile, we’ve made a change to dance music service Mango Vibe. Listeners to the station should notice an improvement in sound quality.

Finally, Timeless Radio will cease transmissions shortly. We will announce a replacement service in due course.

100% Whatever and Mango Vibe are both broadcast in DAB+. This means radios that do not support DAB+ will be unable to find these services. 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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More station changes!

The latest addition to our DAB+ transmissions in the Portsmouth area is Delite Radio. Fans of soul, funk, R&B and jazz will feel at home with Delite Radio and their unique mix of “feel good” music radio.

To accommodate Delite Radio we say goodbye to Sleepyhead Radio. Fans of the station can purchase CDs and downloads of the audio from their website to play whenever the like.

Delite Radio is broadcast in DAB+. This means radios that do not support DAB+ will be unable to find these services. 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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Two new stations launch

Today we’ve added NonStop90s Radio and Metal Meyhem Radio to our Portsmouth DAB+ multiplex. It means if you are in the Portsmouth area you can now hear these stations once you have retuned your DAB+ digital radio.

Fans of heavy metal and hard rock will enjoy listening to Metal Meyhem Radio. They are a local station that has been broadcasting online for a number of years, and are now able to bring this unique genre of music to a dedicated radio station for the first time in Portsmouth.

Joining them is NonStop90s Radio, a radio station that celebrates the 1990s and nothing else. The only 1990s themed radio station on digital radio in Portsmouth, tune in and get nostalgic to the decade of fun…. and the Tricorn!

NonStop90s Radio and Metal Meyhem Radio are both broadcast in DAB+. This means radios that do not support DAB+ will be unable to find these services. 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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Government to help commercial and community radio to go digital

More local commercial and community radio stations will be able to broadcast on digital platforms across the UK under new plans announced by Digital Minister Matt Hancock today.

There are currently around 400 commercial and community radio stations that are limited to broadcasting to small geographic areas on analogue (FM/MW) frequencies under outdated regulations. The new approach means these stations will be able to reach a wider audience to the areas they serve on digital radio. 

Over 60 per cent of households now own a digital radio and the changes are designed to encourage a widespread rollout of small radio networks, within county areas, on a Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) platform. 

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said:

“Local radio is much loved and vitally important as a source of objective and in touch local news. As more power is devolved locally, and as local newspapers struggle, local radio’s role in the community is becoming more and more critical. So we are working hard with stations and listeners to make sure the rules are up to date, and give local radio the chance to use new digital technology to reach audiences, new and longstanding, old and young. Today’s publication marks another step forward in that work. I’m very grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to make this progress.”

 Ford Ennals, Chief Executive Officer at Digital Radio UK said:

 “We welcome publication of the DCMS consultation on small-scale DAB which is an important enabling technology that can help hundreds of local commercial and community stations broadcast on DAB for the first time. This consultation is particularly important as there is much work still to be done to fully consider the best use of the limited spectrum available and how small-scale can work most efficiently alongside existing local and national DAB multiplexes to help maximise the benefits to listeners.”

The Government will now consult on the best approach for a licensing process that is appropriate for small scale DAB radio multiplexes, with the aim of having a new licensing arrangements in place by the end of the year. The consultation will run for 8 weeks, and closes on the 28 February 2018.

Ash Elford, Digital Development Manager, Angel Radio, who runs the small-scale multiplex in Portsmouth, said: 

“After over two years of successfully broadcasting local DAB services to Portsmouth, it is good to see a process for the full-time licencing of many more local multiplexes for cities and towns starting to take shape. We hope that the successes we have achieved so far with technical innovations and broadcasting smaller commercial, niche and community services can be replicated across the UK as soon as possible.”

David Duffy, Director, Niocast Digital, who run Manchester’s small-scale DAB multiplex, said:

“Niocast welcomes the small-scale DAB consultation as an important next step in the development of digital radio across the UK.”

Dean Kavanagh of Switch Radio and Multiplex Manager, BrumDAB SSDAB in Birmingham, said: 

“We welcome the news of the upcoming DCMS Small Scale DAB consultation. As we have seen already, this additional layer of DAB has brought with it significant benefits for listeners – unlocking a world of new and exciting programming that otherwise would not have had a home. This consultation represents the first steps towards providing this exciting platform for all.”

Changes to our line-up

In the new year, there will be some changes to our DAB line-up. On 31st December, say goodbye to JACK, JACK 2 and JACK 3. The owners of the JACK stations have decided to concentrate their energy on their national station Union JACK, and are launching a new second national station next month. We wish them well with their ventures. One of the advantages for broadcasters who wish to broadcast on our Portsmouth DAB digital radio multiplex is that we are more flexible than traditional transmission providers.

Later in January 2018, we will launch Metal Meyhem Radio. This will be the first time a (legal) heavy metal format radio station has been broadcast on terrestrial radio in the UK. Based in the South Coast, the station will be perfect for fans of hard rock and metal, and will showcase the best local acts.

Two more stations will also launch in January 2018, but for now details are under wraps. When the stations are ready to go public, we’ll let you know.

Finally, fans of 100% Dragon Hits may have noticed a recent improvement in sound quality as a result of a technical change to the way the station is broadcast.




Engineering work tonight

Please be aware there will be engineering work taking place this evening (15th November). There will be an outage of up to one hour between 22:00 and 01:00. During the outage, services will be silent. We’ll try and keep the outage to a minimum.

Engineering work this week

Please be aware that there is some engineering work to the electricity supply at our transmitter site on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th November. The work will take place between 09:00 and 16:00 both days.
On Thursday, it is unlikely that there will be any outages at all. If there does need to be any interruption to our supply, it will kept to an absolute minimum.
On Friday, we will need breaks in transmissions, possibly on several occasions. We will try and keep these outages to an absolute minimum.
We apologise in advance for spoiling your listening!


Broadcasters: Think DAB, think Solent Wireless!

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