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No Talk Sport 2 On DAB Digital One Network

By Dave Wiggy Wiggins
Posted 23 March 2016, 10.20pm edt
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No Talk Sport 2 On DAB Digital One Network No Good At All
It Is A One Big Mess This DAB Is Now

Comments

1 year, 8 months ago

That's because it's on D2. And that is true now.

1 year, 8 months ago

I live in an area of the country in northern England where the www.getdigitalradio.com website told me that I would have a net loss of 4 DAB stations once the full changeover of stations from both D1 and local multiplexes to D2 was complete.

However I did not fully believe that website as back in the days of the Yorkshire MXR multiplex we were able to receive the stations even though the website did not list them for our town's postcodes. In fact in the past when we have planned to move house I have always carried a portable radio to check that our possible future home was in a good radio reception area.

I have undertaken a 'auto-tune' on our home DAB Pure and Roberts radios and we can clearly receive a total of 50 DAB stations, including talkSPORT 2, from the four multiplexes that cover our part of the Yorkshire coast. Our radios have 100% signal strength for the BBC, D1 & Humberside multiplexes and between 85-95% for the D2/SDL multiplex.

In the end it all comes down to where we live in the UK and if we are positioning our portable DAB/FM radios where they can pick up a good signal. The only room in our home were we cannot receive either a clear DAB or FM signal is in the room where the central heating boiler is situated and its metal chimney flue.

Finally we need to remember that non-BBC radio stations, whether commercial or listener-supported, have to run as a business and therefore need to be able to afford their transmission costs.

PRO1 year, 8 months ago

If you can't receive the new SDN mux Dave, then it's tough luck.

1 year, 8 months ago

But it shouldn't be tough luck though. This is supposed to be a national multiplex, yet 25% of the country can't receive it. That doesn't strike me as being "national".

1 year, 8 months ago

Ian: In the end it all comes down to where we live in the UK.

We need to remember that non-BBC radio stations, whether commercial or listener-supported, have to run as a business and therefore need to be able to afford their transmission costs.

It was on this basis that D2 covers 75% of the UK population with 45 transmitters rather than D1's 91% with around 200 transmitters.

1 year, 8 months ago

J Peter Wilson...

We need to remember that non-BBC radio stations, whether commercial or listener-supported, have to run as a business and therefore need to be able to afford their transmission costs.
It was on this basis that D2 covers 75% of the UK population with 45 transmitters rather than D1's 91% with around 200 transmitters.

Peter, you don't need to talk to me about running a radio station as a business. I see that first hand right now. But you got a remember, the multiplex isn't a radio station, it's a platform, just like Digital 1, or Freesat or Sky Digital, or Virgin Media or Freeview. And for national radio stations, the more listeners they can reach, the better the chance of getting decent listening figures. Covering 75% is a start, but expansion is a must, especially with the fact that the south coast of the UK right now is mostly missing out on this new multiplex, and that includes cities like Plymouth and Exeter, and I believe as well Bristol and Southampton, which are not able to join in. It's a big swathe of the country that currently can't get these stations, and some of them are really good, from what I've heard online so far.

Paul Ross on the morning of the Brussels Attack was doing an excellent job on Talk Radio. Mellow Magic is musically excellent, though I have my doubts about Patsy Kensit as a presenter, and Talk Sport 2 is certainly proving to be excellent with the live coverage, though their sports talk programmes continue to suffer from the same problem as many other sports talk programmes worldwide, being basically boring to listen to, despite or maybe because of, their overuse of musical packages of clips.

It's just a shame I can't listen to them on the move.

1 year, 8 months ago

Ian: I also know about running a radio business and the first station I was involved with had to find a FM transmission site that maximised our audience within our budget: it was not one that the then Radio Authority had originally cleared.

I am not defending the fact that SDL National only covers 75% of the UK population but what I am saying is that this second national DAB multiplex was set-up in order that some services that could not afford the Digital 1 transmission costs could at least have coverage of the main population centres of the country and some of the surrounding areas.

We have already seen that The Wireless Group are putting their three stations - talkRADIO, talkSPORT 2 & Virgin Radio - on a local multiplex as Aberdeen is out of the SDL National coverage. Similarly Fun Kids are on the Hereford & Worcester mux and Jazz FM are on the Norwich trial mux.

Its quid pro quo. The radio services are getting the DAB coverage that they feel that enables them to reach an audience that is cost effective for them. It is as simple as that.

1 year, 8 months ago

J Peter Wilson,

Its quid pro quo. The radio services are getting the DAB coverage that they feel that enables them to reach an audience that is cost effective for them. It is as simple as that.

You see, this is a concept that I fundamentally disagree with. Broadcasting, whether radio or TV, on public airwaves, shouldn't be about what is cost effective. If you are a national station, you should be available across the nation, parts of Scotland and the South West included. It shouldn't be about covering the main population centres. It should be about covering the whole country.

National stations or network stations shouldn't be on local multiplexes. In Cornwall and Plymouth we have Capital, Kiss (yes, still!) and Gold, which are really national or network stations. Now, whilst personally, I like Gold a lot, it is a national channel and should be on a national multiplex, not a local one.

It's all about keeping it simple. National stations and national multiplexes should cover the nation, simples.

PRO1 year, 8 months ago

Ian, your blissful naivety is lovely, but perhaps you'd like to consider that a commercial radio channel is a commercial business, and that it makes little sense to double your broadcasting costs for an extra 20% of potential listeners. Secondly, if you take this to the logical extreme, there are no truly national radio stations - even the BBC's FM signals don't cover 100% of the population.

1 year, 8 months ago

James (Cridland): There are a few exceptions to the general rule about commercial radio only covering areas, considered commercially viable.
The Digital One multiplex owner has just opened up a relay at Brown Carrick Hill (Ayrshire) to boost & extend signals in South Ayrshire, serving around 100,000 of a population.
Also, later this year as a 'step 1' plan extension, Now-Digital-Ayr will open a transmitter relay in the nearby Girvan valley to bring local radio to around 35,000 of a population. (The local multiplex pickup at Girvan currently requires a triax 5 element aerial on the roof for reception.)

It is pleasing to observe local DAB & Digital One signal coverage is expanding into some rural towns and villages!

PRO1 year, 8 months ago

It is pleasing, you're right. It doesn't escape the fact that Digital One is somewhere like four times the price to broadcast on instead of the new SDL multiplex: and reaches just 15% more people. The BBC have their own reasons why it's important to reach as many people as possible; for the commercials, it's more of a pragmatic decision.

The original Virgin Radio, as one example, had no AM transmitter in Carlisle - deeming it uneconomic to cover. I could therefore tell with certainty that any listener contact from Carlisle was listening digitally.

1 year, 8 months ago

Slightly off topic, I am surprised Absolute 1215 has not yet handed the keys back to OFCOM to drop co-channel interference prone 1214/15 kHz!

PRO1 year, 8 months ago

The difficulty there is a transmission contract (unlikely to be easily broken), and the benefits of holding an INR licence.

1 year, 8 months ago

James Cridland...

Ian, your blissful naivety is lovely, but perhaps you'd like to consider that a commercial radio channel is a commercial business, and that it makes little sense to double your broadcasting costs for an extra 20% of potential listeners.

I would expect better from you, James. Thinking my views are blissful naivety is rather beneath contempt.

Perhaps you should consider this: I have already taken that thought into account, but actually believe that broadcasters on the public airwaves should be using them for more than just making profits.

Just because I come from a completely different starting point about broadcasting than you do, doesn't make me either naive, nor a 'hobby' broadcaster. Trust me on this. If this was only a "hobby" to me, I wouldn't be dedicating the amount of time that I do dedicate to it. I happen to believe in it, with much more of a passion, than it seems most people around here do. In fact, from my perspective, few people in broadcasting today treat the industry as anything more than a money making industry. Thankfully, I'm at a station where we understand that it is something more, much more than just an excuse to make money.

1 year, 8 months ago

Ian Beaumont said

"This is supposed to be a national multiplex, yet 25% of the country can't receive it. That doesn't strike me as being "national"."

Ideally, yes. However, this is nothing new. Since the invention of radio, if you lived out in the sticks, you've always been at a disadvantage, even from the BBC. Turn the clock back to the 70's and 80's and the only true national stations (with the exception of mountain areas with almost 0 human beings living in them) were Radio 2 and Radio 3, whose FM coverage was provided by every FM transmitter site that was available at the time. Radio 1 did not cover around 20-25% of the UK, despite being our supposed first national service, with either a usable night-time signal or even a signal at all during daytime because large chunks of the UK did not have a nearby medium wave site to serve those areas, which also included Carlisle and most of the highlands and islands of Scotland.

Turn the clock forward to the nineties. Classic FM has never been a national station on FM, although they do use almost every high powered FM site and some low powered relays in urban areas where necessary. Even so, there are huge geographical swathes of the country that absolutely do not get Classic FM (not even a usable mono signal), especially the highlands and islands of Scotland. Their only chance of receiving Classic FM is on a digital platform, which does not include the Digital 1 multiplex because it doesn't transmit to those parts either.

The same situation applies to Talksport, who, despite using most of the same transmitter sites as Radio 1 when it was on those frequencies, actually has worse coverage than Radio 1 did because they (being a commercial service) have sacrificed coverage for cost. So in places like North-east Scotland, you have a 1KW transmitter serving Inverness and the surrounds only, instead of the 50KW transmitter at Burghead that Radio 1 used which tried to reach as much of the Grampain mountains, Moray Firth Coast and the Northern Isles as it possibly could.

Oh - and Virgin/Absolute Radio are even worse.

1 year, 8 months ago

Willie Bone said

"The Digital One multiplex owner has just opened up a relay at Brown Carrick Hill (Ayrshire) to boost & extend signals in South Ayrshire, serving around 100,000 of a population. Also, later this year as a 'step 1' plan extension, Now-Digital-Ayr will open a transmitter relay in the nearby Girvan valley to bring local radio to around 35,000 of a population. (The local multiplex pickup at Girvan currently requires a triax 5 element aerial on the roof for reception.)"

It's not philanthropic. It's forced. Both MUX operators have a requirement to match the FM coverage of the equivalent larger FM service. In the case of D1, they have to match that of Classic FM on FM from Darvel, which serves Ayr with a usable signal in mono or stereo. In the case of the Ayrshire MUX, it has to match the coverage of West FM, who happen to have an FM relay in Girvan.

1 year, 8 months ago

Aye Mr Grainger! Historically, the FM relay at Girvan for Ayrshire ILR was also sort of forced, politically, courtesy of Mr George Foulkes who was the MP covering South Carrick back in the early 80s!
The additional Girvan FM relay site was not part of the original plan by IBA Engineering.

1 year, 8 months ago

It is interesting to note that one of the four new Digital 1 transmitter sites, High Hunsley, is the same site from which SDL National is already broadcasting. The Digital 1 statement says that the new sites are "unlikely to greatly increase the number of people that can receive the network", but that "they will give listeners more reliable reception." So the programme licencees on D1 are paying for stronger reception of their services in order to cover around 90-91% of the population as compared to those programme licencees on SDL National whose services reach 75% of the population at around a quarter of the cost.

I believe that especially for those stations that were only previously broadcast on local multiplexes, such as Share Radio and Jazz FM, or are listener-supported broadcasters, like Premier and UCB 2, that it is far better to cover 75% of the UK than not to be on national DAB transmitters at all.

1 year, 8 months ago

Ian Beaumont says that the Sound Digital mux doesn't cover Bristol or Southampton, but this is not true. It does!

1 year, 8 months ago

Okay, that suggest the map of coverage that I saw wasn't correct, and if that's the case, then fair enough.

PRO1 year, 8 months ago

When I lived in Hastings in the 90s, after the switch off of the Radio 1 1053 tx in Bexhill, Talk Radio UK decided not to use it, so we didn't get the station, along with a huge area of East Sussex until you could either receive the signal from the AM tx in Tonbridge or the one that serves the Brighton & Hove area.

It's the same for SDL today where there's no tx at the Hastings transmitter and again Hastings residents can't listen to talkRADIO on a linear platform, this despite being just over 60 miles from the capital.

Absolute is on 1260 (I think from Lydd?) but the reception is weak, but Digital One with it's more expensive carriage costs is on DAB in the town.

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