DAB Digital Radio Boost for West and Mid Wales
Today 3 new DAB digital radio transmitters will be switched on giving 350,000 listeners 7 radio stations for the first time on DAB in the West and Mid Wales area*. The switch-on means listeners can now get 5 national radio stations - BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Nation Radio, Nation Hits! and Real Radio Wales, as well as local stations Radio Pembrokeshire and Radio Carmarthenshire on DAB digital radio.
To receive the new services, listeners in the area may need to retune. Click here to find out how.
The big switch-on will take place with Cochyn the mascot at Parc y Scarlets, the home ground of Llanelli Scarlets Rugby Club, ahead of their first game of the RaboDirect Pro12 season against defending champions Leinster. The three new transmitters at Preseli, Carmel and Kilvey Hill take digital radio coverage for these stations from zero to 350,000 listeners in the area, and add over 1,000 km of roads into DAB coverage for the first time. A fourth transmitter is being built and will launch at Greenhill next year.
This year Wales has seen DAB switch-ons in Wrexham and the Heads of the South Wales Valleys. Together with this launch, 900,000 listeners in Wales can now get national stations on DAB for the first time.
In 2014, North West Wales will also see digital radio stations launching for the first time, bringing another 350,000 listeners into coverage which brings DAB coverage of the national stations to 78% of the Welsh population.
This switch-on comes as the Government has said they will make a decision on radio switchover at the end of 2013. In 2005, technical tests for the digital TV switchover were carried out in the villages of Ferryside and Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire. In Wales, 41.6% of homes have a DAB digital radio and in Q2 2013, 29.2% of radio listening was digital. A cumulative total of 18 million digital radio sets has been sold to date in the UK, including DAB radios and internet radios. 40.1% of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard.
Martin Mumford, Managing Director of MuxCo Wales, said: "We are committed to extending digital coverage through local transmitters across Wales and this switch-on, which gives 350,000 listeners access to our stations on DAB, is another important step for our industry."
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: "This is great news for 350,000 listeners in West and Mid Wales as until now they have not been able receive their favourite national Welsh stations on DAB. Boosting coverage for West and Mid Wales means the excellent range of national DAB digital radio stations in Wales can be received by even more listeners, at home and in their car, as well as local stations Radio Pembrokeshire and Radio Carmarthenshire."
Steve Austins, Editor BBC Radio Wales said: "We are delighted that BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru will be available to listeners in the West on DAB for the first time. The area is important to both stations and it's great that listeners now have the chance to enjoy them in digital quality".
Broadcaster Jason Mohammad, who hosts a daily show on BBC Radio Wales and presents Final Score on BBC One, said he was excited about the launch of the new digital transmitters: "It's great news that so many more homes will be able to receive the BBC national stations for Wales on DAB, and now be able to listen to BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru's coverage of sport in Wales and the exciting new season of Premier League Football and RaboDirect Pro12 Rugby."
* Commercial stations only. Due to the overlap between the new licence area and the areas already covered by the Cardiff and Swansea mux, the BBC estimates that the number of people getting BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru for the first time on DAB due to the Mid and West Wales switch on is around 110,000 people, moving to 150,000 people when the Greenhill transmitter is switched on next year.