18 radio stations will be included on the new platform when it is officially turned on, on February 29th 2016. Three of them will be broadcasting in DAB+ – Fun Kids, Jazz FM and a new service called Magic Chilled from Bauer.
Premier Christian Radio, which was recently at risk of losing its only national slot on D1, is launching a second service called Praise! whilst Asian Sound Radio’s new station will be called Awesome Radio.
In total, there will be eight specialist music stations, three talk stations, three Asian stations, three Christian stations and one for kids.
The full line-up is:
- Virgin Radio
- Share Radio
- Mellow Magic
- Magic Chilled (new)
- Absolute 80s
- heat radio
- Planet Rock
- Sunrise Radio
- Awesome Radio
- Premier Christian Radio
- Premier Praise!
- Panjab Radio
- Fun Kids
- Jazz FM
The new multiplex covers less of the population than D1, so Absolute 80s, Premier Christian Radio and Planet Rock will lose parts of the UK from its broadcast area, including parts of the South West, South East, East Anglia, Wales and Scotland.
Sound Digital will be using a network of 45 transmitters which it estimates will provide coverage for 73% – 75% of UK households and 63% – 65% of major UK roads.
The Secretary of State, Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, will perform the official switch-on of the new multiplex network built by transmission provider Arqiva at a central London event on Tuesday 1st March. This event will also see the launch of the national Big Retune campaign to encourage listeners to retune their digital radios to access the full range of available stations.
Scott Taunton, Chief Operating Officer, UTV Media plc, said: “Today marks a landmark moment for British broadcasting, with confirmation that the biggest expansion in radio choice for a generation is just weeks away. UTV is proud to be broadening the range of speech radio programming through the launch of talkRADIO and talkSPORT 2, as well as reuniting the British public with the iconic Virgin Radio brand.”
Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: “The launch of the UK’s second national DAB multiplex is a significant moment in radio’s digital development. Bauer is the UK’s leading commercial digital radio broadcaster, and the national launches of Mellow Magic and Magic Chilled, heat Radio, KISSTORY, Absolute 80 and Planet Rock on the new multiplex offer exciting programming to drive consumer take-up.”
Steve Holebrook, Managing Director of Arqiva Terrestrial Broadcast, said: “Since the licence was awarded in March 2015, Arqiva has been working hard building the new national transmission network and we are delighted to have delivered this in record time. We are also pleased to be able to be bringing next generation DAB+ to the market for the first time as well as additional diversity of channels such as Jazz FM, Fun Kids, Asian and Christian channels.”