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Two bidders for second national DAB multiplex

By James Cridland for media.info
Posted 29 January 2015, 10.38am est

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Applications for the second national DAB Digital Radio multiplex, advertised by Ofcom, closed today, and there are two applications:

Listen2Digital, run by Orion Media and Babcock International, promises national coverage for FunKids, Gem, Wireless, Nation, Gaydio, ChrisCountry, Sabras Sound, and Panjab Radio. A new access channel, Upload Radio, is also being announced, giving access for the first time to independent producers.

Listen2Digital's bid also includes RTÉ Radio 1, which is the Irish public service broadcaster's speech and music station, Share Radio, the financial broadcaster that launched in London last year, two Christian stations from Premier Christian Radio, and a number of confidential partners including a new sports talk station, a top40 station, a modern rock channel, a specialist jazz/blues/soul station, and a channel devoted to food.

In total, eighteen services are planned by Listen2Digital, in a service they highlight as complementary to the existing Digital One offering. Four of the channels are in DAB+, an upgraded digital radio signal.

Listen2Digital's full plans are here

Sound Digital is a joint venture formed by Arqiva, Bauer and UTV, and promises fifteen new channels.

New stations include talkSPORT 2, talkRADIO, talkBUSINESS, Magic Mellow and British Muslim Radio.

Virgin Radio also returns to UK airwaves, operated by UTV. A "non-mainstream music station", operated by Jazz FM, will also appear.

Bauer will add Absolute 80s, Planet Rock, KISSTORY and heat radio to this new multiplex (thus freeing up space on Digital One). The multiplex will also add national coverage to Sunrise Radio, UCB Inspirational and to Premier Christian Radio, the only station to publicly appear in both bids.

Sound Digital plan one DAB+ channel, details of which are not given in their press release.

Sound Digital's full press release is here.

Both applicants promise the multiplex will be on-air by summer 2016.

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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