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Ofcom publishes consultation on small-scale DAB licencing
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Ofcom publishes consultation on small-scale DAB licencing

Ofcom has today published a consultation setting out its plans to license small-scale DAB. The consultation, titled Licensing small-scale DAB – How Ofcom would exercise its new powers and duties being proposed by Government, sets out Ofcom’s proposed spectrum planning and licensing process for small-scale radio multiplex licences which would enable hundreds of new local digital radio stations to start broadcasting in the UK from next year. 

Small-scale DAB is cutting-edge technology, providing local commercial, community and specialist music stations with a low-cost route to hitting the digital airwaves, and with over 40% of the UK’s radio listening now taking place on DAB, the proposals mark a major step towards expanding local DAB coverage, giving listeners an even wider choice of new digital radio stations. 

The consultation also includes proposals for the issuing of Community Digital Sound Programme (C-DSP) licences, a new type of licence designed for community radio services broadcasting on DAB.

Ofcom are seeking views from stakeholders on a range of key issues, including their approach to developing a coverage area plan for small-scale radio multiplex services; how they intend to advertise small-scale radio multiplex licences; and how they will assess applications for small-scale radio multiplex licences.

Graham Plumb, Ofcom’s Director of Spectrum Broadcasting said:

“People increasingly prefer digital radio, and by enabling smaller stations to join this digital revolution, we can broaden the choice for local listeners up and down the country.

Small-scale DAB uses advances in software and low-cost computer technology to provide a flexible and inexpensive approach to the terrestrial broadcast of digital radio services to a relatively small geographic area. In the UK, the concept was first tested by Ofcom engineer Rashid Mustapha in 2012 and subsequently the Government funded a series of trials, licensed and facilitated by Ofcom, to test the feasibility of the technology. The trials demonstrated that small-scale DAB can provide a robust and reliable means for small analogue stations to broadcast on digital, as well as for entrants wishing to launch new radio services on a digital terrestrial platform

Ofcom would like to hear from interested parties by Friday 4 October and intend to start advertising licences early in 2020.

More radio, in your car

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Heart launch new dance station
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Heart launch new dance station

From 21st June at 7am you can listen to non-stop club classics with a new station, Heart Dance. The station will be dedicated to some of the great club classics ever made from artists such as Basement Jaxx, Daft Punk, Ne-Yo, Ultra Naté, Fatboy Slim and Armand Van Helden.

Playing the greatest feel good club classics the station will launch with Toby Anstis and his brand new Heart Dance breakfast show, weekdays from 7am – 10am, whilst Lucy Horobin will host the drive time slot weekdays from 4pm – 7pm. Lucy will also be presenting a weekend show every Saturday from 10am – 1pm.

On Friday and Saturday nights, Heart Dance will get the weekend in full swing as Heart’s Club Classics will be simulcast on both Heart and Heart Dance, with Toby Anstis hosting every Friday from 7pm and Pandora on Saturday from 7pm.

James Rea, Managing Editor of Heart says: "Heart Dance will be a brilliant addition to the Heart brand - just in time for the Summer!  Listeners will be able to re-live the greatest times of their life with the biggest club classic dance tunes of all time.  I'm delighted we'll also have a terrific line-up that includes some of Heart's top presenters including Toby Anstis, Lucy Horobin and Pandora."

Toby Anstis says: "To present the breakfast show on a brand-new national station, playing the music I have always loved with a passion, is a dream!  To top it off, we also have my good mate Lucy Horobin getting listeners home at drive time.  Heart is my natural home and a place I love.  I can't wait to get started, waking up the UK with some bangers from 7am on Friday 21st June live on Heart Dance!"

From Friday 21st June at 7am tune into Heart Dance on DAB digital radio across the UK, on the Heart app, on Global Player, on your smart speaker by saying “play Heart Dance” and at

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