More DAB Radio Stations Close

Perhaps a sign of a worsening economy, or a realisation that there is excessive duplication, several more DAB (and/or DAB+) stations have now closed.

On the Surrey local DAB multiplex, the service Full FM Radio has been removed. The Polish language service does continue online.

Full closure has occurred for All Oldies Radio, which was broadcast on the Herts Beds Bucks local multiplex. This station was on oldies music led service, that initially broadcast online before restructuring as a local service aimed at the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire it broadcast to on DAB.

In Scotland, the three Scottish Sun branded services Sun 80s, Sun Chilled, and Sun Hits have now closed. These three services were largely fillers utilising a large amount of vacant capacity on the Central Scotland regional DAB multiplex, with Sun Chilled initially launching as Sun Greatest Hits (prior to the Bauer Media owned station of a similar name).

The three Scottish Sun services were largely automated, but did feature comprehensive travel bulletins, and some news bulletins, though latterly the news bulletins appeared to be more of a promotion of articles on the Scottish Sun website. Despite this, all three stations broadcast in high quality 128 kbps joint stereo DAB, something of a rarity for commercial radio.

With the three Union Jack stations having already closed, it seems that more DAB stations are likely to follow, despite the new small-scale, hyperlocal DAB multiplexes starting to launch.

DAB Highlights

A number of DAB changes took place towards the beginning of December (2020), and here’s a run down of the main stories.

Around the 1st, Great Yorkshire Radio migrated from the North Yorkshire local multiplex, to the Lincolnshire multiplex. The latter has some over spill into parts of North and East Yorkshire, and the station appears to be refocusing to become a larger regional service for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. DAB+ at 32 kbps is still used.

York Mix (initially as festive service Xmas Mix), has now joined the North Yorkshire DAB multiplex. The station is targeting the area previously served by Minster FM, which closed earlier this year. Similar (but unconnected) service This Is The Coast is also on the North Yorkshire multiplex, targeting Scarborough, Bridlington, and Whitby, all left un-served when Yorkshire Coast Radio closed. Both are using stereo DAB+ at 32 kbps.

On the Central Scotland multiplex, Scottish Sun Chill has replaced Scottish Sun Greatest Hits. The new service has an easy listening/pop format, and retains 128 kbps of joint stereo normal DAB. No other changes have occurred on this multiplex since Sunoh Radio left, but Central FM has been run in varying configurations.

Lastly, and perhaps the biggest change, is the launch of Union Jack Dance and Union Jack Rock, which took place on Friday 11th December. Both follow the same format of British music and comedy, with listener controlled playlist as Union Jack, but with dance music and rock music respectively. The same 32 kbps stereo DAB+ parameters are used, with Union Jack Dance replacing Jack Radio, and Union Jack Rock filling the vacant space on the SDL National multiplex.