Listeners in Cumbria and Morecambe Bay will soon be able to tune in to a broad range of new local digital radio stations following the award by Ofcom of two 12-year licences for new local radio multiplexes for areas in Cumbria and Morecambe Bay.
The successful applicants are Bauer Digital Radio Limited (BDR), covering North and West Cumbria including Carlisle, Penrith, Workington, Whitehaven and Keswick, and MuxCo Cumbria Limited, a partnership between MuxCo and Nation Broadcasting, covering Morecambe, Lancaster, Ulverston, Kendal and Windermere.
The new multiplexes will bring local digital radio services to these areas for the first time, with 20 new digital stations launching next year.
MuxCo Cumbria will launch using four transmitters initially, which will cover 78% of the population, carrying nine stereo radio stations, including Heart (DAB), Smooth (DAB), Capital (DAB), BBC Radio Cumbria (DAB), Bay Radio (DAB), Cando FM (DAB+), Bay Trust Radio (DAB+), Fun Kids Junior (DAB+) and Chris Country (DAB+).
Bay Radio is a proposed new service from Nation Broadcasting, Cando FM is a community radio station in Barrow, whilst Bay Trust Radio is the hospital radio station for Lancaster, Morecambe and Kendal hospitals.
Meanwhile, Bauer Digital Radio Cumbria will allow BBC Radio Cumbria and CFM to broadcast to the same area they do now but on DAB.
Using five transmitters, BDR's new multiplex will carry 13 services in total, including a number of national services currently on national Sound Digital which are not available in the area. The stations lined up are Greatest Hits Radio, Country Hits Radio, Planet Rock, Scala Radio, Absolute Radio 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Absolute Classic Rock, Magic Chilled, Magic Soul, Mellow Magic and Jazz FM. No new local stations are proposed but capacity will be available for any future additions.
Both MuxCo and BDR say they will launch within 12 months of licence award, meaning the services will start broadcasting around the end of 2020.