Digital Radio Boost for West Yorkshire
Today at Emley Moor, a new DAB digital radio transmitter was switched on by Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, bringing local DAB digital radio stations to 500,000 people in West Yorkshire for the first time, and improving the signal for many more.
Arqiva's iconic Emley Moor transmitter tower is 330 metres tall, making it the tallest freestanding structure in the UK - higher than The Shard in London - and it is also a Grade II listed building. The new DAB digital radio transmitter at Emley Moor means that listeners can now enjoy local stations BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Aire, Absolute Classic Rock, Absolute Radio 60s, The Hits, Magic, Kerrang! and Heat on DAB digital radio for the first time. The addition of Emley Moor brings household local DAB coverage from 53% up to 96%.
To receive the new services, listeners with digital radios may have to re-tune their sets - find out more by clicking here.
The switch-on was marked by a unique collaboration between public and commercial broadcasters, as BBC Radio Leeds and Radio Aire helped to celebrate the improved coverage.
Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, said: "Boosting local coverage for West Yorkshire means the excellent range of local DAB digital radio stations can be received by even more listeners, at home and in their car."
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, who hosted the event, said: "This is great news for people across the West Yorkshire area as until now they have not been able to receive all their favourite local stations on DAB."
As well as household coverage almost doubling, local road coverage is also improved, adding hundreds of miles of roads into local DAB coverage for the first time. Digital radios are increasingly becoming available in cars and according to new industry data 36% of all new cars now have digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT March 2013)
Digital radio in West Yorkshire is popular, with 39% of homes having a DAB digital radio, but until now most listeners have not been unable to listen to their favourite local radio stations on DAB (RAJAR Q1 2013). The importance of local radio stations to listeners has been shown in research carried out by the radio industry regulator, Ofcom.
Earlier this year there was a further boost to the South Yorkshire DAB multiplex, bringing DAB coverage to a further 350,000 people for the first time in South Yorkshire. This now means that 83% of South Yorkshire and Sheffield homes can now receive local digital radio stations such as Hallam FM, Absolute Radio 60s, Heat and Gold.
This switch-on comes as Government announces they will make a decision on digital radio switchover later in 2013. Digital listening in the UK represented 34.3% of all listening in Q1 2013 and in 2012 UK digital radio sales reached the second highest level ever with over 2 million sets sold. A cumulative total of 17 million digital radio sets has been sold to date in the UK.
The radio industry communications campaign featuring digital radio evangelist D Love, who encourages everyone to spread the love for digital radio, is currently on air on BBC TV, BBC radio and commercial radio.
Regional Managing Director of Bauer Radio in Yorkshire, Tracy Eastwood said "We're delighted to be able to bring these services to digital radio in Yorkshire. Research has shown how much people value their local radio stations, so we hope this will make a big difference to the digital radio listening experience in the area."
Rozina Breen from BBC Radio Leeds said: "We are delighted that BBC Radio Leeds will be available to even more listeners on DAB, bringing local news and stories to our listeners with the digital benefits of easy tuning and scrolling information."
Magic breakfast show presenter Glenn Pinder said: "The South Yorkshire boost means that more people can now listen to Magic than ever before in digital sound quality."
Paul Eaton, Director of Digital Radio at Arqiva, said: "We're delighted to be able to bring these services to digital radio in West Yorkshire. Research has shown how much people value their local radio stations, so we hope this will make a big difference to the digital radio listening experience in West Yorkshire".