25 January 2022

Ofcom invites applications for third round of small-scale DAB multiplex licences

Applications have opened for the third round of small-scale DAB radio multiplex licences for 25 areas across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Small-scale DAB is an innovative technology which provides a low-cost way for local commercial, community and specialist music services to take to the digital airwaves.

The small-scale DAB programme will enable the launch of around 200 multiplexes, covering all four UK nations. We expect these to 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.

Last month, listeners in areas in North-East England were the first to benefit from this revolution in local radio as a host of new services took to the airwaves.

Thanks to small-scale DAB technology, even more listeners will soon be able to tune in to new local stations, as we today open licence applications for the following areas:

  • Bedford
  • Belfast & Lisburn
  • Coventry
  • Darlington & Bishop Auckland
  • Dundee
  • East Hull
  • Leicester
  • Lincoln
  • Llandudno & Betws-y-Coed
  • Middlesbrough & Redcar
  • Milton Keynes
  • North Aberdeen
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Rutland & Stamford
  • Shaftesbury & Blandford Forum
  • South Aberdeen
  • Swansea
  • Swindon & Marlborough
  • Taunton
  • Warminster, Devizes & Trowbridge
  • West Hull
  • Wetherby & Harrogate
  • York
  • Yorkshire Coast

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 25 April 2022. We have updated our guidance for applicants (PDF, 1.5 MB).

We are also announcing today the 27 licence areas that we plan to advertise in the fourth round of small-scale DAB multiplex licences, in the second half of 2022.

This map of the UK highlights where we have awarded the first round of small-scale multiplex licences, the applications under assessment (round two), licence applications open (round three) and the licences to be advertised later in 2022 (round four).

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