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DAB Spreads in Northern Ireland

Transmitter launch increases coverage in the country

Northern Ireland got a big digital radio boost when Arqiva launched 14 national digital radio stations on DAB on July 26.

Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín, together with musician Dana, switched on the signal at Belfast’s Ulster Hall, bringing 14 digital radio stations on digital national commercial radio on for the first time to 1.4 million people, 80% of the region’s households. This is also the first time 10 of the stations will be heard on DAB.

The switch-on was marked by collaboration between commercial broadcasters and featured performances by Neil Hannon’s Duckworth Lewis Method and Imagination star Leee John.

The six new transmitters by Arqiva at Divis, Carnmoney Hill, Londonderry, Brougher Mountain, Strabane and Limavady feature rock, pop, dance, jazz, classical and decade stations, in addition to religious and sports stations.

The station line-up is: Absolute Radio, Absolute Radio 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Smooth Radio, Smooth 70s, Jazz FM, Planet Rock, Team Rock, BFBS and Premier Christian Radio, and Classic FM, talkSPORT, Kiss and UCB. Listeners in Northern Ireland will be able to listen to 31 DAB digital radio stations, including 11 BBC and 20 commercial stations.

The digital transmitter network will also cover 62% of the main road network in Northern Ireland.