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U.K.’s Ofcom Brings Community Radio Up to a New Level

Radio in the U.K. is advancing beyond what is done in the U.S. from a programming standpoint

LONDON�Once again I�m able to point to an example of how radio in the U.K. is advancing beyond what is done here in the U.S., not only from a technological standpoint, but from a programming standpoint as well.�

The U.K. Office of Communications (Ofcom) has awarded 10 test licenses for DAB multiplex transmitters meant to carry small-scale digital radio transmissions.�

�This will enable groups of community, online and local commercial radio stations to work together and bring new stations to local areas from Norfolk to Glasgow and Cambridge to Manchester,� said Ofcom, in apress release.�

About 60 stations will begin broadcasting on digital radio for the first time using the ‘small scale DAB’ approach, which could provide a more affordable way for smaller stations to broadcast via digital radio. �If the trials are successful, UK listeners could benefit from hundreds more local and community radio stations on digital radio in the future,� said Ofcom.

The cost of broadcasting on DAB is beyond the reach of many small radio stations; but this new approach, pioneered by Ofcom engineer Rashid Mustapha, means that small-scale radio stations could start broadcasting on DAB radio for a fraction of current costs. The new approach is cheaper than current systems because it uses software freely available fromopendigitalradio.organd equipment that costs around �6,000. While stations also have to budget for operating costs � such as site rental, maintenance and electricity � small scale DAB is a much more affordable way for smaller stations to broadcast on digital radio.

The successful applicants are:

  • Angel Radio, bringing Angel Xtra, Express FM, JAMM Radio, Mango Vibe, The Flash and Triple Hits to Portsmouth.
  • BFBS Aldershot, bringing BFBS Aldershot, BFBS Radio, BFBS Gurkha, Radio Frimley Park, Radio Woking and The Breeze to Aldershot.
  • Brighton & Hove Radio, bringing Juice 107.2, Radio Reverb, Smile Sussex, Totallyradio, Resonance and Brighton City Student Radio to Brighton & Hove.
  • Celador Radio, bringing Hub Radio, BFBS Gurkha, Ujima Radio, BSR 103.4fm, BCfm 93.2, Somer Valley Radio, The Breeze and BFBS Radio to Bristol.
  • Future Digital Norfolk, bringing Future Radio, Norwich 99.9, The Music Machine, Solar Radio, Jazz FM, Totallyradio and Future Plus to Norfolk.
  • Niocast Digital, bringing Panjab Radio, Revolution 96.2, Manchester Business Radio, The Steve Penk Wind-Up Channel, Chris Country and Gaydio to Manchester.
  • Switch Radio, bringing Switch Radio, Scratch Radio, Gaydio, Oak FM and Touch FM to Birmingham.
  • Scrimshaws Information Directories, bringing Your Radio, Celtic Music Radio, Pulse FM and Go Radio toGlasgow.
  • U.DAB, bringing Resonance, London Greek Radio, Rinse FM, NuSound Radio, Reprezent, Solar Radio and Crackers Radio to London.
  • UKRD, bringing Star Radio, Gaydio, Chris Country, Core Radio and Cambridge 105 to Cambridge.

One of the most interesting aspects of this article is Ofcom points out howonlinestations can now get on the radio as well.� Isn�t it amazing that everyone still wants to be heard over the radio? Why is that, do you suppose?��