Today over 400,000 people in Lincolnshire received a big boost with the switch on of 3 new digital transmitters, enabling them to get BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Lincs FM and Compass FM on DAB digital radio for the first time.
BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s digital service was switched-on at 8am this morning when the Mayor of Lincoln, Andy Kerry pressed a big green switch signaling for the digital transmission to start.
Almost half of homes (48%) in Lincolnshire have a DAB digital radio but until now they have only been able to receive national radio stations on DAB and not the local BBC and commercial radio stations.
The new transmitters are in Lincoln, Belmont and Grantham Barracks and will bring over 80% of the county into local DAB coverage. These transmitters will provide coverage for local DAB stations for over 750 miles of roads in the Lincolnshire area. Over 22% of radio listening takes place in the car and until recently not many cars had DAB radios but that has changed with 70% of new cars now having DAB radios fitted as standard.
Lincolnshire listeners were encouraged to retune their DAB radios to ensure that they were able to pick up the local BBC and commercial radio stations.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: “I welcome the big switch-on in Lincolnshire and wish BBC Radio Lincolnshire and the excellent local commercial radio stations great success on DAB. We believe that the future of radio is digital and are pleased to play our part in supporting the major expansion of DAB digital radio coverage across the UK.”
Charlie Partridge, BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Editor says: “It is good to be able to add DAB digital radio to our FM and AM frequencies, we celebrate our 35th birthday in November and this is proof that BBC Radio Lincolnshire continues to move with the times. The most frequently asked question we are asked is “When will you be on DAB?” and finally we have the answer: Now!”
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK said: “This is great news for radio and great news for listeners in Lincoln who can now listen to their favourite local stations on DAB for the first time. Many homes in the area already have a DAB radio and we would encourage these to retune their radios to make sure they pick up the local BBC and commercial digital radio stations.”
Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo says: “As well as the existing local stations, MuxCo Lincolnshire offers the ability for community and new radio stations to easily launch on DAB across the whole county. Taken together, this is great news for Lincolnshire’s radio listeners”.
The digital switch-on is part of an expansion of local DAB radio across the UK with the goal of expanding DAB coverage towards the level of FM coverage. DAB digital radios are now very affordable starting at around £15 with the new models being more energy efficient than their analogue radio counterparts. More advanced digital radios also combine Bluetooth and access to stations on the internet.
The BBC offers 6 digital national stations on DAB digital radio – BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 4 Extra, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC World Service and BBC Asian Network as well as all the AM/FM national BBC stations. There are 14 national commercial radio stations on DAB including new station Radio X. Next Spring there will be the launch of a new national network of 15 commercial stations on DAB.