Big digital boost for Sussex listeners
Digital radio listeners in Sussex received a big digital boost when four new digital transmitters were switched on at a special retune event at the Jubilee Library, Brighton, to expand and improve DAB digital radio coverage for over three hundred thousand listeners in the area today.
The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Lynda Hyde, pressed the big green retune switch at 8.45am to mark the moment for listeners to retune their DAB digital radios and start the process of turning on the new digital transmitters. The Mayor urged all digital listeners in Sussex to retune to ensure that they could continue to listen to their favourite local BBC and commercial stations - BBC Sussex, Heart Sussex, Smooth Radio Sussex, Capital, Gold, KISSTORY, heat, Gaydio and Smile Sussex.
Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Lynda Hyde, said: “The Sussex community is served by a great variety of local stations. I am delighted that now even more listeners in Sussex will be able to hear these important and well-loved stations on digital radio and encourage everyone to retune their radios this morning.”
The retune is part of a programme of work which will immediately switch-on four new digital transmitters and expand and improve local DAB digital radio coverage in Sussex for over 330,000 listeners around Crawley, Newhaven, Heathfield and in the Sussex Weald, north of Shoreham. Early in 2016 a further two digital transmitters will be added bringing over 40,000 listeners in Midhurst and Rye into DAB coverage and in August 2016 a sixth digital transmitter will add a further 50,000 listeners in Horsham.
Today’s switch-on means that hundreds of thousands more listeners will be able to receive BBC Sussex’s comprehensive coverage of local football teams Brighton and Hove Albion, Crawley Town and Whitehawk FC on DAB for the first time.
As a result of the digital boost, all listeners to DAB digital radio in Sussex need to retune their DAB radios today to be able to continue to receive their favourite local DAB stations. Retuning will enable those listeners in the new expansion areas to receive local radio stations on DAB for the first time. Retuning a DAB digital radio is a simple process. Listeners simply press the auto tune or auto scan button on their DAB digital radio or go into the radio’s menu and press auto tune. For more information go to http://www.getdigitalradio.com/retune
Additionally, many listeners who retune in Brighton will be able to receive six additional stations currently broadcasting on the Brighton and Hove Radio digital multiplex as part of a nine month trial being conducted by media regulator, Ofcom. The trial DAB station line-up features a diverse range of community and music services including Juice 107.2, RadioReverb, totallyradio, Smile Sussex, Resonance Extra and student station, URF Sussex.
Digital radio is extremely popular in Sussex with the second highest digital radio ownership (61.8%) and listening in the UK (48.8%). [Source: Q3 2015RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB, Ofcom’s Sixth Digital Radio Annual Report]. Until now many listeners in Sussex have not been able to receive any of their great local stations on DAB digital radio.
The seven new Sussex transmitters will expand DAB coverage on the county roads by over 250 miles increasing DAB coverage from 58% to 96% of the Sussex road network. The transmitters, which have been built by communications infrastructure company Arqiva, are highly energy efficient and are part of an industry and Government programme of work that aims to expand the coverage and listening to DAB digital radio. Government, BBC and commercial radio have agreed plans to build a further 182 local DAB transmitters to extend local DAB coverage to more than 90% of the population which will bring eight million listeners across the UK into coverage and will add over 4,160 miles of roads.
Sara David, Editor, BBC Sussex, said: “BBC Sussex has been at the heart of life in the county for over 30 years and we’re proud to be one of BBC’s biggest local radio stations. We’re encouraging our listeners on DAB digital radio in Sussex to retune their digital radios this morning to ensure we can continue bringing them all the local news, sport, and entertainment they love.”
Iain McKenna, Regional Managing Director, Global Radio (South), said: “Global is home to the country’s biggest commercial radio brands, so we’re excited to bring Heart, Capital, Smooth and Gold to more people in Sussex on DAB digital radio. We know that our listeners love the great music we play and we want to make sure they retune to keep listening.”
Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: “We love digital radio here at Bauer with nine out of the top ten digital commercial stations in the UK being in our family and more station launches planned for next year. KISSTORY has rapidly become ONE of the UK’s most popular digital only brands with its Old Skool & Anthems, and heat radio delivers an all-star cast in the way of presenters, classic pop and celeb gossip – retune to join us.”
Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said: “Sussex leads most of the UK in terms of digital radio ownership and listening so it’s great news that over 300,000 more listeners will now be able to enjoy all their favourite local stations on DAB digital radio for the first time.”
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: "The big digital radio retune is fantastic news for both listeners and local radio stations. With more than 30 million of us tuning in every week, and three quarters of all cars now coming with DAB as standard, there's no doubt the future of radio in the UK is digital. Government is working closely with our partners on the expansion of DAB digital radio, bringing listeners around the UK greater access, better coverage and an even wider variety of content."
Paul Eaton, Director of Digital Radio, Arqiva, said: “I am delighted that the local DAB coverage expansion programme is continuing with Sussex being the latest area to receive a digital boost. We look forward to playing our part in expanding local DAB coverage to the level of commercial radio FM coverage.”