Brand new digital stations begin to launch

The UK’s second national digital radio network has been launched.

Today’s switch-on means digital radio owners will be able to receive stations which are available across the UK for the first time, as well as brand new radio stations.

The ‘old skool’ and dance anthems station Kisstory, pop and celebrity station Heat and finance service Share Radio were previously available in parts of the country, but can now be heard in around 75% of the UK.

More stations are due to launch in the coming weeks, including Magic Chilled. The sister station to Magic has recruited former Sugababes member Jade Ewen and broadcaster Pips Taylor. Mellow Magic expands from its evening show slot with relaxing and melodic music into a full station on 14th March. New presenters including Bake-Off host Mel Giedroyc and actress Patsy Kensit will host shows.

talkRADIO recently announced their line-up which includes Paul Ross, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Iain Lee and George Galloway. The speech station is expected to tackle a wider range of subjects than LBC when it launches on 21st March. talkSPORT 2 will launch a week earlier on 15th March with live sport and sports talk.

After an absence of several years Virgin Radio is returning to the UK. The station will feature a new line-up including the breakfast show with Edith Bowman from 30th March. It’s been hinted that the station won’t play the same music as the original Virgin Radio, with a promo video including music by Run DMC and Aerosmith, Amy Winehouse, The Killers, Beyonce, Jamie Lawson, The 1975 and Franz Ferdinand.

Asian music and speech station Sunrise Radio recently celebrated 25 years on air and is now available outside of London. Awesome Radio has also launched with Asian music and speech, as well as elements of Islamic content.

Panjab Radio also goes national having been available on medium wave with radio for British Sikhs and Panjabi speakers for some years.

Jazz FM returns to national digital radio using DAB+. The new technology means Jazz FM can broadcast in stereo, but some older radios may not receive the station.

Fun Kids launched several years ago in London with radio for children. Since BBC 7 became Radio 4 Extra there has been very little radio dedicated to children in the UK. Fun Kids is now available across the UK, and joins Jazz FM and Magic Chilled in using the new DAB+ format.

The future of Premier Christian Radio on DAB is secured as it moves to the new network. Premier was at risk of leaving digital radio last year, but is now launching a second station on Easter Sunday. Premier Praise will play “uplifting, popular Christian music with warmth and understanding”. After a fundraising campaign by UCB their second station UCB 2 has also launched.

Some stations have moved over from the original digital radio network. Planet Rock is one of the original national digital stations whilst Absolute 80s is one of the most popular digital stations to launch in recent years. The move means some listeners will no longer be able to receive the stations as the new network covers a slightly smaller proportion of the UK.

The new stations can be found after retuning a digital radio. The autotune, autoscan, scan or similar options will look for all available digital stations and store them in the station list.