6 October 2000


The Radio Authority announced today (6 October) that it has decided, after considering the proposals submitted for the local digital multiplex service licence for the Central Scotland region, to award the licence to the sole applicant:

SWITCHDIGITAL (SCOTLAND) LTD. – The Wireless Group plc, 18 Hatfields, London SE1 8DJ (contact: Kelvin MacKenzie, 020 7959 7800).

The licence is designed potentially to deliver digital radio programming and data services to an area with an adult (aged 15+) population of up to around 2.75 million.

The proposed shareholding structure of Switchdigital (Scotland) Ltd. is:

The Wireless Group plc 55%

Clear Channel International Ltd. 20%

Capital Radio plc 20%

The Carphone Warehouse plc 5%

Switchdigital (Scotland) is proposing to broadcast a total of nine programme services in the Central Scotland region, each provided initially on a round-the-clock basis:

Classic soul

The Rhythm

(provider: Digital Programme Services Ltd.)

Chart hits and club dance

Ministry of Sound (provider: Ministry of Sound, with Clear Channel International Ltd.)

Classic hits

WSCO (provider: Clear Channel International Ltd.)

Classic rock and sport

Big-Scotland (provider: The Wireless Group plc)

Easy listening

The Lounge (provider: The Wireless Group plc)

Jazz, soul and blues

Jazz FM (provider: Jazz FM plc)

Adult contemporary and speech

Scot FM (provider: Central Scotland Radio Ltd.)

New rock and dance

Beat 106 (provider: Beat 106 Ltd.)

In addition to these commercial services, the BBC Gaelic radio service for Scotland, Radio Nan Gaidheal, will be broadcast using the digital capacity reserved for it.

Switchdigital (Scotland) Ltd. proposes to commence its service in May 2001, using three transmission sites, at Kirk o’Shotts, Craigkelly and Gleniffer Braes, which it estimates will provide 'outdoor coverage' of around 83% of the adult population of the Central Scotland 'primary protected area' (PPA). It proposes to extend coverage in March 2003 by the addition of transmissions from Darvel and Earls Hill, increasing ‘outdoor coverage’ to an estimated 88% of the PPA population.

The licence will run initially for a period of twelve years from the commencement of broadcasting.

The Authority will shortly be publishing its assessment of Switchdigital (Scotland)'s application for the Central Scotland licence.






  1. The services will be transmitted on the VHF band III frequency block 11D (centre-frequency 222.064 MHz).

2. The application for the licence was considered according to factors specified in section 51 of the Broadcasting Act 1996, which are: the extent of coverage proposed, within the permitted maximum; the timetable by which this will be achieved; the ability of the applicant to establish the proposed service and maintain it throughout the licence period; the extent to which the proposed programme services will cater for the tastes and interests of listeners in the area; the broadening of local digital radio choice; local support for the applicant's proposals; and whether the applicant has been fair in contracting with the prospective providers of programme and data services on the multiplex.

3. Digital radio is a new transmission system which provides the listener with bundles (called multiplexes) of audio services to new portable and vehicle receivers, and personal computers, with unprecedentedly clear reception. Being digital, it can also broadcast data services which may or may not be related to the radio programmes; e.g. traffic information, electronic publishing, and internet-type information.

4. The Authority has already awarded a national (i.e. covering Great Britain) digital radio multiplex licence, to Digital One Ltd., and local multiplex licences for Glasgow and Edinburgh, both to SCORE Digital Ltd., whose services will also be available in this region.

5. The Radio Authority is responsible for licensing and regulating Independent Radio in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. It plans frequencies, awards licences, regulates programming and advertising, and plays an active role in the discussion and formulation of policies which affect the Independent Radio industry and its listeners.