10 December 2021

Digital technology switch-on launches local radio revolution

Today sees the switch-on of a new small-scale DAB multiplex, a digital radio transmission service that will allow new stations to get on the airwaves and offer a range of choice for listeners.

The multiplex, managed and operated by Teesside firm MUX ONE, has been launched in Tynemouth and South Shields in the north east of England, and will see 13 stations launched with more to follow in the coming months.

Pioneered by an Ofcom spectrum engineer, small-scale DAB provides a low-cost way for local commercial, community and specialist music services to take to the digital airwaves.

The launch of the multiplex follows a six-year programme of work by Ofcom, during which we planned and trialled the technology and licensing needed to get the service off the ground. It is the first of these services to be launched, and as more are rolled out there is the potential for up to 4,000 new local radio stations to start broadcasting.

The small-scale DAB programme will enable the launch of around 200 multiplexes covering all four UK nations. These will broadcast a range of radio services, ranging from grass-roots community services to specialist music stations, and services aimed at minority groups and other under-served audiences.

Small-scale DAB really is a revolution for local radio. The technology makes it cheaper and easier for local community stations to take to the digital airwaves, meaning listeners can access a wider choice of ultra-local content than ever before.

We’re delighted that communities in the North East will be the first to benefit from the new stations available on MUX ONE.

Philip Marnick, Ofcom's Spectrum Group Director

Here are the 13 radio stations launching today and how they describe themselves:

Angel Radio: celebrating the past in a warm and inclusive way with a mix of vintage music from the 1920s to the 1960s, nostalgia and practical support for listeners.

Dance Revolution: your one stop shop for dance music in the north east. Playing the biggest dance anthems of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Durham OnAir: the truly local radio station for County Durham and Durham City with great music, chat and great local entertainment all day, every day.

Frisk Radio: the Rhythm of the North East - a fresh and innovative music-led station.

GlitterBeam Radio: aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, however it can be enjoyed by everyone. It offers 'Music With Sparkle' as it plays big anthems that makes you sing and dance.

Nation 70s: Nation 70s is the home of More 70s – The Best Mix! If you love the 70s then Nation 70s is the perfect station for you!

Nation 80s: Nation 80s is the home of More 80s – The Best Mix! If you love the 80s then Nation 80s is the perfect station for you!

Nation 90s: Nation 90s is the home of More 90s – The Best Mix! If you love the 90s then Nation 90s is the perfect station for you!

Nation Radio UK: Nation Radio UK is the home of the world's greatest songs.

Pride Radio: your inclusive radio station broadcasting from the heart of the North East.

Radio Shields: community radio station for South Shields, broadcasting interviews, news, sports, talk and comedy-based shows.

Sun FM: the home of great music and up-to-date news for Sunderland, Durham and Darlington.

The Angel: relaxing radio, great for the mind, good for the soul.

These new services will broadcast in DAB+, an upgraded version of DAB that enables a greater number of stations to be broadcast. Listeners can find out if they are in coverage of the new network by checking their postcode at www.getdigitalradio.com, and they might need to retune their digital radio to receive the stations for the first time.

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