DAB+ station Fun Kids have announced they are reducing their coverage area from 1st September (2023). The station is set to move from the SDL National DAB multiplex to a number of local and small scale multiplexes.
The exact coverage area is unknown, however the station has indicated coverage around London, Birmingham, York, Lincoln, and North West England. Fun Kids has appeared on some local multiplexes in these areas ahead of the move, using DAB+ at 32 kbps stereo.
Fun Kids joined the SDL National DAB multiplex back in 2016, at the same time that multiplex launched, and was one of the first three stations to offer widespread coverage using the newer DAB+ format. The original bit rate was 32 kbps stereo, though this had dropped to the current 24 kbps mono.
It would appear ongoing cost pressures have resulted in the station leaving national DAB, likely exacerbated by large broadcasters Bauer and Global competing for space with smaller broadcasters. The move to local multiplexes sees the bit rate reduction reversed, so those remaining in the coverage area may see slightly improved sound quality.
Like many other children’s broadcasters, traditional transmission is being phased out in favour of online content, with both the BBC and ITV migrating content to their online platforms iPlayer and ITV X respectively. Fun Kids does still appear committed to DAB+, but with a greater emphasis on targeted coverage.