Where will the 162 new BBC DAB transmitters be?
Alix Pryde, Director of BBC Distribution, has written a blog post today explaining where the Making Waves: extending the BBC digital radio coverage to a further 2 million people
To quote Dr Pryde,
For radio, nearly 90% of listening hours are delivered through FM, AM, and digital (DAB), equating to 900 million hours of radio each week in round numbers; a staggering figure. It's the same for TV; some 98% of viewing is to live or time-shifted programmes which were delivered to the home on satellite, cable, or Freeview.
So I am making the point that we have to balance our critical investment in the future with investment in broadcast platforms, in order that they are worthy as the nation's favourite places to watch and listen to our services.
You might be wondering what this means for BBC Local Radio or our radio services for the Nations. Not a lot, I'm sorry to say. As you might know, our Local Radio services and our radio services for the Nations are carried in capacity which we buy from a commercial multiplex operator in each area. The expansion of the commercial multiplexes is tied up with the Government's digital radio action plan. There is extensive work going on across the industry on that front and we expect some more news at the end of this year. So, for now at least, this phase of network expansion covers only the BBC's UK-wide services.
The locations are listed as
BBC DAB Phase 4 by area, number of transmitters in parentheses, including principal towns/villages
Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Coventry, Glasgow, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, Oxford and Plymouth
Berkshire (2) - Wokingham, Maidenhead
Buckinghamshire (3) - Chesham, Aylesbury, High Wycombe
Cambridgeshire (1) - Wisbech
Cornwall (2) - St Just, St Erth
County Durham (1) - Weardale Valley
Cumbria (1) - Barrow-in-Furness
Derbyshire (6) - Ashbourne, Glossop, Chapel-en-le-Frith
Devon (10) - Ashburton, Bampton, Beer, Brixham, Dartmouth
Dorset (3) - Lyme Regis, Blandford Forum
Essex (2) - Braintree, Harlow
Gloucestershire (2) - Stow-on-the-Wold
Hertfordshire (2) - Letchworth, Stevenage
Isle of Wight (1) - Ventnor
Kent (4) - Folkestone, Faversham, Dover, Deal
Lancashire (5) - Darwen, Blackpool, Whalley, Whitworth
Lincolnshire (7) - Boston, Bourne, Grantham, Scunthorpe, Skegness
Norfolk (11) - Brandon, Fakenham, Downham Market, Kings Lynn, Thetford, Wells-next-the-Sea
North Yorkshire (3) - Harrogate, Pateley Bridge, Skipton
Northumberland (3) - Haydon Bridge, Hexham, Alnmouth, Alnwick
Oxfordshire (1) - Banbury
Redcar and Cleveland (1) - Skinningrove
Shropshire (4) - Bishop's Castle, Church Stretton, Ludlow, Oswestry
Somerset (2) - Chard, Weston-super-Mare
South Yorkshire (1) - Stocksbridge
Suffolk (7) - Southwold, Bungay, Felixstowe, Sudbury, Ipswich
Surrey (4) - Caterham, Haslemere, Dorking, Leatherhead
West Sussex (3) - Crawley, East Grinstead
East Sussex (2) - Rye, Eastbourne
Teeside (1) - Barnard Castle
West Yorkshire (4) - Hebden Bridge, Calder Valley
Argyll and Bute (2), including Islay
Borders (3) - Innerleithen, Jedburgh, Peebles
Dumfries and Galloway (4) - Kirkconnel, Langholm, Moffat, Thornhill
Ross-shire and the isles (1)
Isle of Skye (1)
Perthshire (1) - Montrose
South Ayrshire (2)
South Lanarkshire (1)
Camarthenshire (1) - Kidwelly
Ceredigion (2) - Lampeter, Newcastle Emlyn
North Anglesey (1)
Neath Port Talbot (1)
North Wales (5) - Deiniolen, Dolgellau, Cefn Mawr, Wrexham
Pembrokeshire (2) - Haverfordwest, Tenby
Powys (4) - Brecon, Hay-on-Wye, Llanidloes, Machynlleth
South Wales (1) - Aberdare
Isle of Man
Port St Mary (1)
I will integrate these locations into the UK Free TV DAB system soon.
It is now clear that the proposal for local DAB stations not a viable solution local radio.
Radio Today | OPINION: What Brighton DAB test tells us
This is the second accusation that Parliament is being mislead over DAB radio in as many days. It just shows what supporters of DAB will go to to try and force DAB on listeners.
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There is not much point extending DAB coverage until the quality of sound/bit rates improve. Why we are still in the position, 14 years after its launch, that higher quality sound is available through the TV and online than it is through DAB. People aren't daft. I only use the FM bit of my digital tuner since the BBC started putting most of its Radio 4 output in MONO on DAB in the evenings. I now have my CD recorder linked to the optical output of my new HD TV so that I can record all my radio in (((STEREO))) and play my favourite programmes in high quality in the car. There is DAB capacity out there, it's just that the BBC prefer to waste more licence fee payers money building transmitters before they improve the quality of sound. This is not helping the uptake of DAB in cars, which also shows the weakness of the tecnology. Whereas in weak signal areas you get a bit of hiss on FM, on DAB you lose the signal altogether. Increasing the number transmitters will not illiminate drop out in tunnnels and due to obstacles such as mountains and high buildings. You would need trillions of new transmitters to cover all the areas that FM, MW & LW can reach.
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The government may be claiming to extend DAB, but until commercial stations can be sustained in a market that includes competition from a continuing FM market, they are going to struggle.
I've just discovered that Jazz FM will no longer be broadcasting on DAB from 1 January. What is the point of DAB if you can't get the choice of stations you want?
The Arrow (which was basically my iPod with DJs) was dropped several years ago and now Jazz FM is going. 6 Music is a massive disappointment (a bit like the radio equivalent of Tony Blair - so much promise, but unable to come up with the goods) and all that's left is dull pop or even duller hard rock stations. Where is there a music station to suit my tastes?
Yes, I know that the people at Jazz FM (which actually went into profit last month) say I can listen on my computer or a web radio or the TV, but none of these is an option for listening in the car, so I'll be going back to music on a memory stick, rather than the car DAB radio.
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I loved Smooth Radio Seventies but that's been dropped as well, only to be replaced by yet another yoof / modern dance / R and B / hip hop station. A music genre I simply cannot stand.
Here in Northern Ireland we only had a chance to listen to Jazz FM for a few months. Hopefully the replacement will be something decent, but I doubt it.
Likewise, 6 Music was a huge disappointment for me as well. Classic rock from the BBC archives it certainly isn't.
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