DAB Digital Radio Boost for Gloucestershire
Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood and Gloucester rugby star Nick Wood officially switch on two new DAB digital radio transmitters today, giving over 400,000 listeners new local stations on DAB in the Gloucestershire area. The switch-on means listeners will be able to receive 4 local radio stations - BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Gold, Heart and Sunshine Radio for the first time on DAB digital radio.
To receive the new services, listeners with digital radios may have to re-tune their sets. Click here to find out how.
The big switch-on took place at the iconic Grade 1-listed Pittville Pump Rooms in Cheltenham. The two new transmitters at Churchdown Hill and Stockend Wood take local digital radio coverage for these stations from zero to over 400,000 listeners in the area, and add over 450km of roads into DAB coverage for the first time. A further two transmitters will be launched in Cirencester and Icombe Hill towards the end of the year, improving coverage even further.
In the last 10 months build-out of DAB digital radio has brought local DAB coverage to over 5 million people for the first time, taking local DAB population coverage from 66% to 72%. By the end of this year, local DAB will have been made available to an additional 6.5 million listeners across the UK.
This switch-on comes the same week that the BBC announced plans to add 162 new digital radio transmitters to improve national DAB coverage for its national network stations. This expansion to more than 97% of the population will include two new transmitters in Gloucestershire.
Government has said they will make a decision on radio switchover at the end of 2013. In Gloucestershire, 51% of homes have a DAB digital radio - ahead of the UK as a whole, and in Q2 2013, 37.9% 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. 41.5% of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT Sept 2013).
Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham, said: "Gloucestershire is way ahead on digital radio, with over half of us having a digital radio at home. I'm really pleased that the new DAB transmitters mean that our excellent local radio stations can now be received on digital radio at home and in their car."
Nick Wood, Gloucester Rugby star, ahead of the team's game against Munster on Saturday, said: "It is brilliant that all the Gloucester Rugby matches will now be broadcast in crystal clear quality on DAB digital radio. As a sports fan, I love the fact that digital offers such a great choice of sports content on the radio."
Nathan Sykes, from the band The Wanted, [pictured] said: "Growing up in Gloucestershire, music and radio was so important to me. I am really pleased that from today people can listen to their favourite shows on DAB digital radio."
Jane Ostler, Director of Digital Radio UK, said: "This is great news for over 400,000 people in Gloucestershire as until now they have not been able to receive their favourite local stations on DAB. Boosting coverage for this area means listeners can tune into their favourite local stations as well as national BBC and commercial ones."
Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo said: "We are committed to extending digital coverage through local transmitters across the UK and this switch-on, which gives 400,000 listeners access to our stations on DAB, is another important step for our industry."
Mark Jones, Editor of BBC Radio Gloucestershire, said: "We are delighted that BBC Radio Gloucestershire will be available on DAB for the first time. It brings improved reception to many parts of the county and gives us the opportunity to offer our full range of programmes in digital quality. As well as our radio programmes, the latest news, sport weather and travel information will also scroll across listeners DAB radio sets. We are delighted to say that commentary from every Gloucester Rugby game - domestic and European, home & away -will be available on DAB."
Marcus Langreiter of Global Radio said: "We're excited to be able to bring both Heart and Gold to digital radio in Gloucestershire. We know our listeners love the great music we play, and now they can listen in digital quality."
Ginny Murfin from Sunshine Radio said: "It's great that Sunshine Radio will be available to listeners on DAB for the first time, bringing local news and music to our listeners, with the digital benefits of easy tuning and scrolling information."