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UK announces 1st winners for “small scale” digital radio trials

Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s broadcast regulator, has handed out temporary licenses to ten applicants for the agency’s experiment with “small scale DAB.” These winners will receive licenses to a “digital multiplex” area—”discrete chunks of the airwaves,” to use Ofcom’s language, allowing them to stream a more affordable version of “digital audio broadcast” (DAB) technology. The UK’s big DAB licensees stream to much larger geographic areas using conventional gear. This version of DAB accesses open source software and targets smaller areas, “ideal for community and local radio stations,” Ofcom says.

Here are the first ten licensees (courtesy of Ofcom’s press release):

  • 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 to Glasgow.
  • 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.

All told, 60 applicants will win access to these trials. These ten winners above will receive license windows lasting nine months. They’ve got 12 weeks from the date of the award to hook up to the small scale DAB system and show their stuff.

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