DAB Digital Radio Boost for Herefordshire and Worcestershire
Harriett Baldwin MP for West Worcestershire, and Worcester Warrior rugby player Craig Gillies officially switched on 3 new DAB digital radio transmitters today, bringing local DAB digital radio to over 530,000 people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Three stations - BBC Hereford & Worcester, Free Radio and Sunshine Radio, are now available in the area on DAB digital radio for the first time.
To receive the new services, you may need to re-tune your sets. Click here to find out how.
The big switch-on took place at the Sixways Stadium, the home ground of the Worcester Warriors Rugby Club. The three new transmitters at Ridge Hill, Malvern and Bromsgrove will take digital radio coverage for these stations from zero to over 530,000 listeners in the area, and add over 750 km of roads into DAB coverage for the first time.
The last 10 months' build-out of DAB digital radio (including Herefordshire & Worcestershire and Gloucester) 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 we will have brought local DAB to around 6.5 million people.
This switch-on comes as the Government is expected to make a decision on radio switchover at the Go Digital conference at the BBC Radio Theatre in December. In Hereford and Worcester, 51.4% of homes have a DAB digital radio and in Q3 2013, 32.2% of radio listening was digital. A cumulative total of 18 million digital radio sets have been sold to date in the UK, including DAB radios and internet radios. 40.6% of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT, October 2013).
Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, commented: "This marks an important new era for local radio, offering listeners better quality both at home and in the car. Local radio plays an important role in our community and often it is the best way to keep in touch with breaking news in the region."
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 more than 500,000 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 half a million people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire 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.
Jeremy Pollock, managing editor of BBC Hereford & Worcester, said: "We are delighted that BBC Hereford & Worcester is now available on DAB and our listeners can receive our programmes, news and sport in digital quality. It's an important step for this area and an exciting day for local radio."
Phil Riley, Chief Executive of Free Radio, said: "We're excited to be able to bring Free Radio to digital radio in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. 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."
Ginny Murfin from Sunshine Radio said: "It's great that Sunshine Radio will be available to listeners on DAB in Herefordshire and Worcestershire for the first time, bringing local news and music to our listeners with the digital benefits of easy tuning and scrolling information."