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VHF Broadcast Re-planning

*

H - Case study: Leeds and Bradford

The Leeds and Bradford conurbation provides a useful contrast to London.  Geographically, the mountainous terrain to the north, the west and to a certain extent the south not only defines the shape of the cities but also the coverage areas of any radio stations.  While it is impossible to serve the whole of the Leeds and Bradford area from one transmitter site, as can be done in London, transmitters can be placed closer together before they interfere with each other due to the additional shielding provided by the terrain.

Leeds, Bradford and the surrounding towns (Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Wakefield and Barnsley) have developed as separate urban areas with definite boundaries and clear gaps between them.  This is perhaps more typical of urban development in the United Kingdom than is the London case.

When planning a radio network for this area, it is more desirable to serve each town separately, using many smaller transmitters, than to use a single, large transmitter.  Firstly, this increases the spectral efficiency of the broadcast service (the same frequency can be re-used in more places due to the lower power of each transmitter) and, secondly, it introduces flexibility to the network planning (planners can offer either individual stations for each town or the same station to multiple towns).

H.1- Introduction

The BBC National Network service in this area is provided by Holme Moss, one of the original high-power (250 kW) sites built in the 1950s.  This national network coverage is supplemented by filler stations at Beecroft Hill (Leeds) and Idle (Bradford), and further away at Luddenden, Hebden Bridge, Keighley and Wharfedale.  These transmitters all operate in the usual sub-bands, and all have standard (2.2/5.2 MHz) spacing.

Figure H.1   Transmitter locations in the Leeds/Bradford area

BBC Radio Leeds was one of the original experimental local stations set up by the Corporation in 1967, initially using a single transmitter at Meanwood Park, later moving to Holme Moss.  The upper limit of Band II frequencies allocated to broadcasting in the UK was extended (from 94.6 to 97.6 MHz) at this time, by the Home Office, to accommodate such local stations.  Relay stations were later added at Beecroft Hill (to improve coverage in Leeds) and Luddenden.

Independent Radio in this area arrived with the opening of Pennine Radio (now ‘The Pulse’), using transmitters at Idle and Vicars Lot to cover the Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield area, followed by Radio Aire in 1981 using the Morley transmitter site.  Further stations opened from 1989 onwards include Sunrise (Bradford/Idle), Ridings (Wakefield/Birkwood Farm) and ‘Home107.9’ (Huddersfield/Ainley Top).

In addition to these local stations, a regional service is operated by Galaxy, using a 2.6 kW transmitter at Emley Moor with a relay at Bradford/Idle (and one at Sheffield).

The final independent radio service is Classic FM, transmitted from Holme Moss using the same parameters as the BBC national services.  In the case of Classic FM, however, the relay allocation at Beecroft Hill (101.6 MHz) has never been used.

H.1.1 Frequencies potentially available

The plot below shows the protected field strengths predicted to exist in the centre of Leeds (NGR: SE300330), calculated in the same way as for London (see Annex G).

Figure H.2   pfs in Leeds

Comparing the two plots, it is immediately obvious that not only are there fewer channels in Leeds on which the field strength is high, but that the field strengths on the remaining channels are less uniform than in London, as will be seen later.  This probably reflects the greater number of transmitters surrounding London, and the less rugged nature of the terrain.

The highest fields are due to the five Holme Moss national services, exhibiting the standard 2.2/5.2 MHz spacings.  Radio Aire can be seen at 96.3 MHz at a slightly lower strength.  At the location chosen, the BBC Radio Leeds service from Holme Moss (92.4) is marginal at 55 dBmuV/m, with the filler at Beecroft Hill (103.9 MHz) providing a service at 63 dBmuV/m.  The services from Idle on 97.5, 103.2 and 105.6 can be seen at around 55 dBmuV/m with the independent regional services (operational and proposed) from Emley Moor giving a good service on 105.1 and 106.2 MHz.

Figure H.3   Coverage from Morley 96.3 MHz

Allocations exist in the Geneva Plan for a site at Wakefield: two of these follow the BBC National Network pattern at 88.2 and 90.4 MHz at 250 W, but now have 10.7 MHz relationships with the Holme Moss Radio 1 and Classic FM frequencies.  The third allocation is at 106.8 MHz at 1 kW and this is now used by Ridings FM at Birkwood Farm.

H.2 - Scenario 0: Allocations possible with minimal disruption

The first scenario minimises impact on these stations by locating slots in the existing network plan and inserting new, wide-area coverage, stations.  The result of this scenario is the ‘least pain’ solution, providing added coverage with negligible loss to existing stations.

The frequencies detailed in the following sub-sections were identified as having potential for new services.

H.2.1 88.2 and 90.4 MHz (National Bands)

In the Geneva Plan these frequencies are allocated to a transmitter in Wakefield, which is currently unused.  They are, however, 10.7 MHz below the BBC Radio1 and Classic FM signals from Holme Moss (98.9 and 101.1 MHz) making them unusable in the Leeds and Bradford areas (see Annex D for background to the 10.7 MHz criterion).  Furthermore, a relay transmitter operates in Bradford at 88.5 MHz and 90.7 MHz, which would have to be switched off to allow new services at 88.2 and 90.4 MHz in either Leeds or Bradford.

H.2.1.1 94.8 MHz

The existing Leeds transmitter site in Morley provides poor coverage at this frequency due to interference from stations on adjacent frequencies; it should be noted that this site is intended only as a ‘filler’ for the main station at Holme Moss, and not as a ‘stand-alone’ service.  A better-sited station may provide improved coverage, but it will still be severely limited by interference.

The frequency is co-channel with Llandonna (Anglesey) and 100 kHz below the allocation used by BBC Radio Lincolnshire at Belmont.  The field strength from Llandonna is around 10 dBmuV/m in the centre of Leeds, giving a required pfs of some 55 dBmuV/m.  The adjacent channel interference from Belmont, however, is more significant, at around 34 dBmuV/m giving a pfs of some 67 dBmuV/m.  It is possible, however, that this allocation might be usable for interference-limited, small-scale, services.

Population coverage: up to 100,000 per station.

H.2.1.2 96.7–97.1 MHz

This group of frequencies lies between Aire (96.3 MHz, from Morley) and ‘The Pulse’ (97.5 MHz, from Idle), assuming a minimum 400 kHz separation.  Coverage predictions indicate that all of these frequencies are unusable in Leeds due to interference from the Viking transmission (96.9 MHz, from High Hunsley serving Humberside).  A low-power station in Leeds would be swamped by the High Hunsley signal, and a high-power station would severely reduce the western coverage of the Humberside service.

High Hunsley’s location, on top of a ridge overlooking Hull, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and York, gives it a commanding view across the Vale of York to Leeds.  Whilst Leeds is too far away to be part of the coverage, any signal from High Hunsley is a powerful source of interference sterilising the surrounding spectrum up to 300 kHz away.

High-powered signals from High Hunsley cause interference in East Anglia and beyond and so cannot be moved without long distance co-ordination both within the UK and outside.  However, it is possible to modify the transmitter to reduce radiation in the direction of Leeds.  Unfortunately, the interference from High Hunsley is too high for such a modification to make a noticeable difference and the resulting loss of service to the west is unacceptable.

Note: 96.7 MHz has been earmarked by the Radio Authority to carry an existing service currently operating at 103.2 MHz from Idle that is 10.8 MHz above the BBC Leeds transmission from Holme Moss.  This will prevent use in either Leeds or Bradford at 96.8, 96.9 and 97.0 MHz.

H.2.1.3 100.7 MHz

This frequency is –400 kHz from Holme Moss.  Co-channel interference from Bilsdale at ~31 dBmuV/m.  This implies a required pfs of ~76 dBmuV/m.

H.2.1.4 101.6 MHz

This frequency is the unused Classic FM allocation at the Beecroft Hill site.  As there is no intention of expanding the analogue coverage of this service, this allocation might be used to provide a further local service within Leeds.  It is noted, however, that the coverage available from this site is rather limited, as can be seen in the plot below (BBC Leeds, 103.9 MHz).

Population coverage: 458,855

Figure H.4   Coverage from Beecroft Hill

H.2.1.5 102.0 MHz

This frequency is co-channel with Manchester (Galaxy), which has a field strength of ~20 dBmuV/m in Leeds, giving a required pfs of ~65 dBmuV/m.

H.2.1.6 102.1 MHz

The highest interference at this frequency would come from the GE84 assignment at ‘North West Wales’, which is currently unused.  The interference level would only be  ~14 dBmuV/m in Leeds.  However, the frequency has a 10.6 MHz relationship withHolme Moss Radio 3.

H.2.1.7 106.2 MHz

This frequency has been identified in the Radio Authority database for a 5 kW service from Emley Moor.  For the purposes of this study, all such proposed stations have been omitted.

H.2.1.8 106.8 MHz

This frequency has a Geneva Plan allocation at Wakefield (1 kW) and is now used to provide a local service from Birkwood Farm.

H.2.2 Analysis

Under existing planning assumptions, there is limited room for the addition of new services.  One new Leeds station, with a potential coverage of 458,855 listeners may be gained at 101.6 MHz, with other opportunities arising for the introduction of a number of small community stations, offering coverage of upto 100,000 listeners per station.

Both the Leeds-wide and community stations can be introduced without technical impact upon any of the existing stations: consequently, no equipment costs, or advertising costs, should be incurred.  The commercial impact of the new city-wide station is likely to be limited to those stations targeting the Leeds market.  However, this clearly depends upon the extent to which the programme content offered by any new licensee overlaps with that of the existing station(s).

H.2.3 - Conclusions

In summary therefore, whilst this scenario offers somewhat limited opportunities for additional services, they can be introduced with minimal disturbance to the existing stations.

H.3 - Scenario A:  Allocations for large-area services

The national networks use a combination of high-power regional transmitters and small local relays.  The high-power transmitters can be of the order of 250 kW and as such have to be carefully co-ordinated internationally.  Moving these stations would involve further awkward international co-ordination, putting them beyond the scope of this study.

The filler relay stations are neatly interleaved between the high-power transmitters so that they operate within the nominated bands for each of the national stations.  These filler stations are typically the source of duplicity of service, a listener can hear the same service on more than one frequency, but are vital in providing universal coverage.  These small transmitters typically serve small areas or communities shielded from the main transmitter by terrain features, prevalent around Leeds and Bradford due to the Pennines.  The frequencies used by these filler stations are not suitable for use by city-wide stations as they are interference limited by the main national network transmitters and suitable only for use in well shielded areas; the characteristic that makes them suitable for filler stations in the first place.  For these reasons Scenario A concentrates on the local sub bands where there is more potential for new services.

The following table summarises the changes that have been addressed under this scenario.

New Allocation Consequent Action Possible Interference

Add Idle 106.1 MHz and 106.5 MHz

Move Thirsk 102.3 to 103.3 MHz

-

Move Halifax 102.5 to 104.3 MHz

-

Move Keighley 102.7 to 103.1 MHz

10.7 MHz above BBC Leeds 92.4

Move Idle 103.2 to 103.5 MHz

-

Move Doncaster 103.4 to 104.7 MHz

-

Move York 103.7 to 102.7 MHz

-

Move Beecroft Hill 103.9 to 107.1 MHz

-

Move Woolmoor 104.3 to 103.9 MHz

-

Move York 104.7 to 102.3 MHz

Lincoln 102.2 MHz

Move Wakefield 106.8 to 106.3 MHz

-

Move Doncaster 107.1 to 106.7 MHz

Add Morley, 107.9 MHz

Move Huddersfield 107.9 to 107.5 MHz

-

Table H.1

H.3.1 Lower local radio sub-band (96.1–97.6 MHz)

Currently, this band contains two stations serving the Leeds and Bradford Area (96.3 MHz and 97.5 MHz) and two stations in the surrounding area (High Hunsley 96.9 MHz and Harrogate 97.2 MHz).  In order to improve efficiency in Leeds and Bradford it is necessary to include the latter two stations in the scenario.

The minimum separation between any two stations serving the same area is 400 kHz.  Therefore, it is reasonable to base a new scenario on 400 kHz spacings.  When the above four stations are removed, there are gaps in the spectrum at every 400 kHz on the following frequencies: 96.1 MHz, 96.5 MHz, 96.9 MHz, 97.3 MHz and 97.7 MHz.  Conveniently, there is also a gap at 95.7 MHz (amongst the BBC local stations) that falls 400 kHz below 96.1 MHz, the first frequency identified above.  This gives a total of six new stations at a cost of four old ones.

H.3.1.1 Idle 95.7 MHz

A Leeds service on this frequency is severely restricted by interference from High Hunsley, 200 kHz above.  In order to operate a service in Leeds it would have to move down 100 kHz to 95.6 MHz.  Alternatively, a service could be offered in Bradford suffering less interference from High Hunsley.

Population coverage (Idle): 770,113

Co-channel: The frequency is assumed to be used to provide a new service from Idle.

Lower adjacent (95.6 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (95.8 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (95.5 MHz): Currently allocated to North Nottingham giving a pfs of 31 dBmuV/m.

Upper second adjacent (95.9 MHz): Allocated to High Hunsley giving a pfs of 43 dBmuV/m.

Figure H.5   Coverage from Idle 95.7 MHz

H.3.1.2 Idle 96.1 MHz

High Hunsley, transmitting at 95.9 MHz, dominates interference at this frequency too.  Moving the frequency is not an option as this would interfere with and suffer interference from existing and planned stations immediately above (in particular Scarborough at 96.2 MHz).  It is therefore necessary to use this frequency in Bradford.

Population coverage: 764,762

Co-channel: This channel is used for a new service in Bradford.  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (96.0 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (96.2 MHz): Allocated to Scarborough giving a pfs of 23 dBmuV/m.

Lower second adjacent (95.9 MHz): Allocated to High Hunsley giving a pfs of 43 dBmuV/m.

Upper second adjacent (96.3 MHz): Currently allocated to Morley, which will be moved as part of this scenario to 97.7 MHz, leaving no significant interferers.

H.3.1.3 Morley 96.5 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Morley 96.3 to 97.7 MHz
Pendle Forest 97.8 MHz
Less than 1% loss in population coverage
Move Harrogate 97.2 to 97.3 MHz
Sheffield 97.4 MHz
Results in a 20% loss in population coverage

Table H.2

96.5 MHz is used in Mansfield as an ILR filler, and there is a high degree of terrain shielding between this site and Leeds.  It is therefore possible to operate co-frequency in Leeds at a low power (up to 1 kW).  This will be suitable for a Leeds service up to 6 km in radius.

Population coverage: 926,180

Co-channel: Co-channel with Mansfield.  The new Leeds allocation will not be the primary source of interference to Mansfield, therefore not affecting its coverage.  Mansfield is a very low-power station so will not be the primary interferer to the new Leeds allocation.

Lower adjacent (96.4 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (96.6 MHz): Currently allocated to Teesside giving a field strength of less than 31 dBmuV/m and as such the primary source of interference limiting the coverage area.

Lower second adjacent (96.3 MHz): Currently allocated to Morley, which will be moved as part of this scenario to 97.7 MHz, leaving no significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (96.7 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.1.4 High Hunsley 96.9 MHz

This new scenario has a slot at 96.9 MHz to accommodate the existing High Hunsley station, ensuring that it need not be moved and thereby avoiding complicated adjustments of stations further afield.

H.3.1.5 Harrogate 97.3 MHz

Population coverage: 150,811

Co-channel: This channel is used for the service in Harrogate, shifted from 97.2 MHz.  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (97.2 MHz): Currently allocated to Harrogate, which has been moved to 97.3 MHz, leaving no significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (97.4 MHz): Sheffield is the primary source of interference.

Lower second adjacent (97.1 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (97.5 MHz): Currently allocated to Idle, which will be moved to 95.7 as part of this scenario.

H.3.1.6 Morley 97.7 MHz

Enabling Action
Interference
Consequent Impact
Move Idle 97.5 to 95.7 MHz
-
No change

Table H.3

The final slot at 97.7 MHz could be used by either Leeds or Bradford as the most significant interference is from the Pendle Forest transmitter at 97.8 MHz on the other side of the Pennines.  The Pennines provide excellent shielding between Pendle Forest on one side and Leeds and Bradford on the other so that any interference is negligible.

Population coverage (Morley): 1,156,446

Co-channel: There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (97.6 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (97.8 MHz): Currently allocated to Pendle Forest giving a pfs of less than 28 dBmuV/m and as such the primary source of interference limiting the coverage area.

Lower second adjacent (97.5 MHz): Currently allocated to Idle, which will be moved to 95.7 as part of this scenario.

Upper second adjacent (97.9 MHz): Currently allocated to Sutton Coldfield giving a pfs of 32 dBmuV/m.

H.3.2 - Upper local radio sub-band (102.0–107.9 MHz)

The same technique has been applied to the upper band, firstly removing all existing stations in the area and then inserting new ones at every 400 kHz.  This has proven less successful, as this part of the band is already planned efficiently with stations spaced at roughly 400 kHz intervals in adjacent areas and every 200 kHz for stations further apart.  This is a legacy of the planning method: filling the band upwards from 102 MHz with higher powered stations and filling the band downwards from 107.9 MHz with lower powered stations.  Any increase in coverage in the Leeds and Bradford areas will be at the cost of coverage in the surrounding areas.

Best efforts have been made to ensure comparable coverage for services outside Leeds and Bradford that have had to be moved in order to accommodate the changes.  However, it is inevitable that there will be differences between the current coverage and coverage under Scenario A for these stations.  By careful planning, such changes have been kept to a minimum and would inevitably be affected by a nation-wide re-plan, which is beyond the scope of this study.

Within this scenario, there are frequencies that are unusable for local stations in Leeds or Bradford that may be used in the surrounding area.  As these are not relevant to this study, they have not been investigated.

H.3.2.1 York 102.3 MHz

Enabling Action Interference Consequent Impact
Move Thirsk 102.3 to 103.3 MHz Darlington 103.2 MHz A 7% loss in population coverage
Move Halifax 102.5 to 104.3 MHz Sheffield 104.1 MHz A 16% loss in population coverage

Table H.4

Population coverage: 17,398

Co-channel: Currently allocated to Thirsk, which will be moved to 103.3 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower adjacent (102.2 MHz): Currently allocated to Lincoln, which will be a severely limiting source of interference to the new allocation and will, by reciprocity, suffer unacceptable interference from York reducing its coverage by 51%.

Upper adjacent (102.4 MHz): Currently allocated to Bridlington, which is a minor source of interference due to shielding from local terrain.

Lower second adjacent (102.1 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (102.5 MHz): Currently allocated to Halifax, which will be moved to 104.3 MHz as part of this scenario.

H.3.2.2 York 102.7 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Keighley 102.7 to 103.1 MHz 10.7 MHz above BBC Leeds Holme Moss (see below) A 14% increase in population coverage

Table H.5

Population coverage: 194,700

Co-channel: York is moved to this channel from 103.7 MHz (below).  Currently allocated to Keighley, which will be moved to 103.1 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower adjacent (102.6 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (102.8 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (102.5 MHz): Currently allocated to Halifax, which will be moved to 104.3 MHz as part of this scenario.

Upper second adjacent (102.9 MHz): Currently allocated to Barnsley.

H.3.2.3 Keighley 103.1 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Idle 103.2 to 103.5 MHz
-
A 32% increase in population coverage

Table H.6

Population coverage: 195,374

Co-channel: This channel is used for the service in Keighley moved from 102.7 MHz (above).  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

There is a 10.7 MHz relationship with the BBC Radio Leeds service from Holme Moss on 92.4 MHz.  However, this allocation is intended to carry the BBC Leeds service as a filler for Keighley, so there should be no loss of service.

Lower adjacent (103.0 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (103.2 MHz): Currently allocated to Idle, which will be moved to 103.5 MHz as part of this scenario leaving Darlington as primary source of interference on the channel.

Lower second adjacent (102.9 MHz): Barnsley is the most significant interferer at this frequency.

Upper second adjacent (103.3 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.4 Thirsk 103.3 MHz

Population coverage: 10,714

Co-channel: This channel is used to accommodate the service in Thirsk, moved from 102.3 MHz.  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (103.2 MHz): Currently allocated to Idle, which will be moved to 103.5 MHz as part of this scenario leaving Darlington as the primary source of interference.

Upper adjacent (103.4 MHz): Currently allocated to Doncaster, which will be moved to 104.7 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower second adjacent (103.1 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (103.5 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.5 Idle 103.5 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Doncaster 103.4 to 104.7 MHz
-
No Change
Move York 103.7 to 102.7 MHz
-
No change

Table H.7

A new 1 kW station can serve Bradford from Idle, forcing the existing 103.7 MHz station in York, the 103.4 MHz station in Doncaster and the smaller 103.2 MHz station already in Bradford to move.  Whilst the Doncaster and Bradford stations can be moved easily, the York station has a greater transmitter power (4 kW) and is harder to relocate without reducing its coverage area.

Population coverage: 775,332

Co-channel: This channel is used for a new service in Bradford.  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (103.4 MHz): Currently allocated to Doncaster, which will be moved to 104.7 MHz as part of this scenario.

Upper adjacent (103.6 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (103.3 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (103.7 MHz): Currently allocated to York, which will move to 102.7 MHz as part of this scenario.

H.3.2.6 Woolmoor 103.9 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Beecroft Hill 103.9 to 107.1 MHz
-
No change

Table H.8

Population coverage: 22,178

Co-channel: Woolmoor is moved to this frequency from 104.3 MHz.  Currently allocated to Beecroft Hill, which will move to 107.1 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower adjacent (103.8 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (104.0 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (103.7 MHz): Currently allocated to York, which will move to 102.7MHz as part of this scenario.

Upper second adjacent (104.1 MHz): Currently allocated to Sheffield, which does not constitute a major source of interference.

H.3.2.7 Halifax 104.3 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Woolmoor 104.3 to 103.9 MHz
-
No change

Table H.9

Population coverage: 146,895

Co-channel: Halifax is moved to this channel from 102.5 MHz (above).  Currently allocated to Woolmoor, which will move to 103.9 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower adjacent (104.2 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (104.4 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (104.1MHz): Currently allocated to Sheffield, which does not constitute a major source of interference.

Upper second adjacent (104.5MHz): Currently allocated to Derby, which does not constitute a major source of interference.

H.3.2.8 Doncaster 104.7 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move York 104.7 to 102.3 MHz
Lincoln 102.2 MHz
Loss of service in York

Table H.10

Population coverage: 609,344

Co-channel: Doncaster is moved to this channel from 103.4 MHz. Currently allocated to York, which will move to 102.3 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower adjacent (104.6 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (104.8 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (104.5 MHz): Currently allocated to Derby, which constitutes a major source of interference in exposed areas.

Upper second adjacent (104.9 MHz): Currently allocated to Leicester, which does not constitute a major source of interference.

H.3.2.9 Idle 105.6 MHz

This 0.5 kW Idle station remains unchanged.

H.3.2.10 Idle 106.1 MHz

This new allocation is adjacent to a currently unused 106.2 MHz allocation to Emley Moor. As noted in the introduction, the planning in this report has taken the ‘on-air’ status quo as a starting point. If the allocation at Emley Moor were to used, this part of the plan would be invalidated.

Population coverage: 169,082

Co-channel: This channel is used for a new service from Idle.  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (106.0 MHz): Currently allocated to East Midlands, which does not constitute a major source of interference.

Upper adjacent (106.2 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (105.9 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (106.3 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.11 Wakefield 106.3 MHz

Population coverage: 8,053

Co-channel: This channel is used for a new service in Wakefield.  There are no significant co-channel interferers (but see H.3.2.10 above).

Lower adjacent (106.2 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (106.4 MHz): Currently allocated to Teesside, which constitutes a major source of interference.

Lower second adjacent (106.1 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (106.5 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.12 Idle 106.5 MHz

A new station can be introduced in Bradford at the Idle transmitter site at 106.5 MHz with limited coverage.

Population coverage: 436,475

Co-channel: This channel is used for a new service in Bradford.  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (106.4 MHz): Currently allocated to Teesside, which does not constitute a major source of interference due to site shielding.

Upper adjacent (106.6 MHz): Currently allocated to East Midlands, which does not constitute a major source of interference.

Lower second adjacent (106.3 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (106.7 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.13 Doncaster 106.7 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Wakefield 106.8 to 106.3 MHz Teesside 106.4 MHz A total loss of service

Table H.11

Population coverage: 80,769

Co-channel: This channel is used in Doncaster, for the service shifted from 107.1 MHz (below).  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (106.6 MHz): Currently allocated to East Midlands, which constitutes a major source of interference.

Upper adjacent (106.8 MHz): Currently allocated to Wakefield, which will move to 106.3 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower second adjacent (106.5 MHz): Interference from a new service from the Idle transmitter in Bradford.

Upper second adjacent (106.9 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.14 Beecroft Hill 107.1 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Doncaster 107.1 to 106.7 MHz
East Midlands 106.6 and Idle 106.5 MHz
An 84% loss in population coverage

Table H.12

Population coverage: 297,193

Co-channel: Accommodates the Beecroft service displaced from 103.9 MHz (above) Currently allocated to Doncaster, which will move to 106.7 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower adjacent (107.0 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper adjacent (107.2 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (106.9 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (107.3 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.15 Huddersfield 107.5 MHz

Population coverage: 100,606

Co-channel: This channel is used for the Huddersfield service displaced from 107.9 MHz (see below).  There are no significant co-channel interferers.

Lower adjacent (107.4 MHz): Currently allocated to Chesterfield, which does not constitute a major source of interference.

Upper adjacent (107.6 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (107.3 MHz): No significant interferers.

Upper second adjacent (107.7 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.2.16 Morley 107.9 MHz

Enabling Action

Interference

Consequent Impact

Move Huddersfield 107.9 to 107.5 MHz

Chesterfield 107.4 MHz

An 8% loss in population coverage

Table H.13

By moving the Huddersfield 107.9 MHz transmission to 107.5 MHz, space has been made for an additional station at Morley covering Leeds.  A 200 W transmitter has been used here due to the proximity to the aeronautical bands above and the geographical proximity to Leeds/Bradford Airport.  However, coverage is still good because all other stations at this end of the band are low power for the same reason and contribute little interference.

Population coverage: 867,834

Co-channel: Currently allocated to Huddersfield, which will move to 107.5 MHz as part of this scenario.

Lower adjacent (107.8 MHz): No significant interferers.

Lower second adjacent (107.7 MHz): No significant interferers.

H.3.3 Analysis

H.3.3.1 The lower band

By re-arranging the existing plan there is a net gain of two 1 kW local stations in the lower band.  As the following table illustrates, this is achieved by moving three existing stations.

Frequency (MHz)
Existing Coverage
Scenario 'A' Coverage

95.7

-/-

770,113 (Idle, 1 kW)

96.1

-/-

764,762 (Idle, 1 kW)

96.3

1,166,441 (Morley, 1 kW)

-/-

96.5

-/-

926,180 (Morley, 1 kW)

97.2

192,732 (Harrogate, 1 kW)

-/-

97.3

-/-

150,811 (Harrogate, 1 kW)

97.5

769,784 (Idle, 1 kW)

-/-

97.7

-/-

1,156,446 (Morley, 1 kW)

Total

2,128,957

3,768,312

Table H.14

This corresponds to a net population gain of 1,639,355 (77%) potential listeners.

What then is the potential economic and social cost/benefit of this gain?

Firstly, the likely change in stations must be assessed.  It is assumed that each existing station will migrate to a frequency that covers the same broad geographical area (i.e. Leeds to Leeds).  This resolves the frequency shift for the Harrogate station.

Where a new frequency offers an increase in population covered, it may also be assumed that the existing station will choose this new frequency over any other frequency on offer.  The Bradford coverage station radiating from the Idle transmitter is likely therefore to move to 95.7 MHz.  However, the Leeds coverage station radiating from the Morley transmitter offers an interesting problem.  On the one hand, 97.7 MHz offers the closest comparable coverage (a loss of less than 10,000 listeners), but will place a potentially competing new entrant just 200 kHz away from the original frequency.  On the other hand, the 96.5 MHz frequency requires only a small shift in frequency, but will result in a population loss of over 240,000 (this is, however, only 20% of the original population coverage).  For the purposes of this case study, it is assumed that the additional population will be seen as the more attractive option.

Equipment costs

The Harrogate station moves only 100kHz, which is likely to avoid any requirement to change equipment.  The Leeds coverage and Bradford coverage stations move by over 1 MHz in frequency, yet even this is unlikely to require any significant change in equipment, with minor changes being achieved within a couple of days, perhaps costing a few thousand pounds.

Frequency shift

Three existing stations are required to shift frequency under this scenario, which brings with it the costs of marketing required to minimise the potential loss of listeners, together with possible loss of revenue should more than a trivial number of listeners fail to retune to the stations.

Alongside this possible cost, the ramifications of the change in population coverage must also be considered.  The Bradford-coverage station, radiating from Idle, gains a very small number of additional listeners.  It also suffers from the introduction of a new, potentially competing, station, which operates at an adjacent frequency that listeners may well encounter when retuning to the new frequency for the existing station.

The Leeds coverage station would face a similar situation, in this instance suffering a slight reduction in its population coverage (10,000 potential listeners).  As with Bradford, the Leeds station would see the introduction of a potentially competing station, this time adjacent to its old frequency and therefore arguably likely to acquire more of the existing station’s listeners as they try to retune to the existing station’s new frequency.

Both the Leeds and Bradford coverage stations might be expected to advertise their frequency shift quite intensively in order to minimise potential listener loss.

The Harrogate coverage station does not face increased competition, but it does lose over 20% of its current population coverage. However, as the loss of coverage is entirely outside the intended service area of the station, this is unlikely to translate into a 20% loss of revenue.  This is before any potential loss of listeners arising from the frequency change has been taken into account - given that the Harrogate frequency shift is so slight, this additional loss may be very modest.

Social and community impact

This scenario sees an increase in the choice available to local radio listeners in the Leeds and Bradford areas, with over 1.5million listeners enjoying this benefit.  In addition to listener choice, the two new stations will bring some employment opportunities to the local area.  Against these benefits must be set the problems encountered by all three of the existing stations, each of which seems likely to experience a reduction in listenership, and hence revenue, and each of which will incur the costs associated with potential damage to the brand, the need to change all frequency-related promotional material, and the need actively to market details of its frequency change.

H.3.3.2 The upper band

By re-arranging the existing plan in the upper band, a net gain of two Bradford coverage stations and one Leeds coverage station is achieved.  It should be noted that there is also additional space for stations outside Leeds and Bradford on frequencies that cannot be used in Leeds or Bradford.

103.2

586,632 (Idle, 0.5 kW)

-/-

103.5

-/-

775,332 (Idle, 1 kW)

103.9

297,193 (Beecroft Hill, 0.2 kW)

-/-

106.1

-/-

169,082 (Idle, 0.5 kW)

106.5

-/-

436,475 (Idle, 0.5 kW)

107.1

-/-

297,193 (Beecroft Hill, 0.2 kW)

107.9

-/-

867,834 (Morley, 0.2 kW)

Total population

883,825

2,545,916

Table H.15

This corresponds to a net population gain of 1,662,091 (188%) potential listeners.

As before, the first step is to assess the transfer of existing stations from one frequency to another.  Again, it is assumed that each existing station will migrate to the closest available frequency, whilst maximising population coverage.  Thus, the existing station, Idle 103.2 MHz, will migrate to become new station, Idle 103.5 MHz, whilst existing Beecroft Hill 103.9 MHz will become new Beecroft Hill 107.1 MHz.  New stations Idle 106.1 MHz, Idle 106.5 MHz and Morley 107.9 MHz, are considered to be new entrants.  Before moving on to assess this scenario in more detail however, it is necessary to consider its wider impact.

Unlike the lower band re-planning proposals, the opportunities detailed for the upper part of this band have a dramatic impact on the stations in the surrounding area, causing stations to be moved as summarised below.

Frequency (MHz)

Existing Coverage

Scenario A Coverage

102.3

11,568 (Thirsk, 0.2 kW)

17,398 (York, 4 kW)

102.5

229,820 (Halifax, 2 kW)

102.7

170,140 (Keighley, 1 kW)

194,700 (York, 4 kW)

102.9

256,100 (Barnsley, 0.5 kW)

221,380 (Barnsley, 0.5 kW)

103.1

195,374 (Keighley. 1 kW)

103.3

10,714 (Thirsk, 0.2 kW)

103.4

610,379 (Doncaster, 2 kW)

103.7

195,971 (York, 4 kW)

103.9

22,178 (Woolmoor, 1 kW)

104.3

22,178 (Woolmoor, 1 kW)

146,895 (Halifax, 2 kW)

104.7

195,971 (York, 4 kW)

609,344 (Doncaster, 2 kW)

106.3

8,053 (Wakefield, 1 kW)

106.7

80,769 (Doncaster, 0.5 kW)

106.8

278,221 (Wakefield, 1 kW)

107.1

531,279 (Doncaster, 0.5 kW)

107.5

100,606 (Huddersfield, 0.2 kW)

107.9

109,126 (Huddersfield, 0.2 kW)

Total population

2,610,753

1,507,866

Table H.16

This corresponds to a net population loss of 1,102,887 (42%) potential listeners.

Already it can be seen that the potential gain of 1.6 million listeners is almost offset by the potential loss of nearly 1.2 million listeners.  It may be of further concern to note that this loss is not evenly spread across the existing stations, but is concentrated upon a group of five stations that would, in effect, become non-viable.  The net impact of the change on all existing stations is summarised in the table that follows.

Halifax

102.5 – 104.3

–82,925

–36%

Keighley

102.7 – 103.1

25,234

14%

Barnsley

102.9 – 102.9

–34,720

-13.5%

Doncaster

103.4 – 104.7

–1,035

Negligible

York

103.7 – 102.7

–1,271

Negligible

Woolmoor

104.3 – 103.9

0

0

York

104.7 – 102.3

–178,573

–91%

Wakefield

106.8 – 106.3

–270,168

–97%

Doncaster

107.1 – 106.7

–450,510

–84%

Huddersfield

107.5 – 107.9

8,520

–8%

Table H.17

Clearly, this scenario leads to substantial losses in coverage for the existing stations.  Furthermore, given the large number of frequency shifts experienced by existing stations, it seems inevitable that the existing stations will incur extensive costs associated with marketing their new frequencies, and perhaps most significantly, are also likely to lose listeners who fail to retune successfully.

These factors combined suggest that the problems arising from this scenario will substantially outweigh the benefits that could be gained.  Further value analysis has not therefore been undertaken for this scenario.

H.3.4 Conclusions

The lower band re-plan detailed for this scenario offers a significant increase in the number of potential listeners in the Leeds/Bradford area, though this is achieved at the cost of some inconvenience to two existing stations.

The upper band re-plan offers far less potential, however.  Although apparently successful when examined at the Leeds/Bradford level, when the ramifications further afield are taken into account the scenario becomes unattractive.  While many of the existing stations moved as part of this scenario suffer only marginal loss in coverage, a handful are severely affected, to the extent of becoming non-viable.  This throws into stark relief a fundamental problem in improving upon the existing plan in the upper part of the band: namely, that a gain in one area can only be achieved with an almost equal and opposite effect in another.

H.4 - Scenario B: Allocations for medium-scale services

There is no distinction made, in the Leeds/Bradford area, between large and medium area services as the maximum range for a local service is usually of the order of 10 km.  This is dictated by the terrain and the population distribution: a transmitter in the centre of Leeds or Bradford can only serve up to 10 km before the signal is blocked by hills.  Due to the terrain, the entire population of Leeds or Bradford can be covered by a 10 km service, thus removing the need for anything larger.

H.5 - Scenario C: Allocations for small-scale services

These stations will broadcast from small masts on top of high buildings within their service areas.  They are unlikely to use existing masts that are often in rural locations too far away to reach target communities at low power.  Transmitter power will be of the order of 50 W providing coverage to the immediate area only and causing little interference to nearby local and regional services.

To maximise its audience, the transmitter should be placed in the centre of the coverage area, transmitting in all directions.  Currently, in Leeds and Bradford only Idle and Beecroft Hill are in urban areas.  The other transmitters that serve the two cities are located on rural hilltops making them unsuitable for carrying small stations.  Therefore, to introduce small stations into Leeds and Bradford small rooftop transmitters will have to be built.

Such 50 W stations can be inserted into the Leeds and Bradford area quite painlessly.  The prime frequencies are within the BBC national bands where very high-power stations far away prevent the installation of local city-wide stations.  It is possible to add these small stations, serving the immediate vicinity, without causing interference to the national network.  This is especially so in Leeds and Bradford, where the transmitters are located at the bottom of a valley and are thus shielded, ensuring that their signals do not radiate too far.

This scenario has examined the introduction of two low-power stations, one in each of the two major towns.

A 50 W station in the centre of Leeds on top of a 40 m building operating at 88.1 MHz (ignoring clutter from surrounding buildings) provides coverage to a potential audience of 112,956.

Figure H.6   Leeds Community Radio Station 88.1 MHz

A similar station in the centre of Bradford transmitting at 50 W on 88.1 MHz provides coverage to a potential audience of 155,470.

Figure H.7   Bradford Community Radio Station 88.1 MHz

H.5.1 - Analysis

This scenario has examined the introduction of two 3–5 km radius stations, one in each of the major cities in the area.  Together these stations bring additional programming choice to a combined total audience of over 0.25 million.

As with the London case, it might reasonably be assumed that these smaller stations will be run on a low-key basis, with minimal investment in capital.  The capital cost of such a station may therefore be assumed to be a few thousand pounds, with annual maintenance and emergency call-out costs of around £1,000 to £2,000.

Existing stations would incur neither capital equipment cost, nor marketing costs, nor any loss in listenership associated with change in frequency.

Whilst the commercial viability of these stations is dubious, the potential social benefit is considerable.

H.5.2 - Conclusions

As it stands, this scenario offers the potential to increase the diversity of programme choice available to comparatively small numbers of listeners, but at no real cost to any of the existing stations.

However, it must be noted that, as with the London case, the number of stations considered within the scenario is arbitrary.  In practice, it may well prove possible to accommodate further low-power stations without impact upon the existing stations.  In common with London, the availability of additional, community-focussed stations may be seen as offering a potentially significant social benefit to the area.

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