Five new stations to launch on digital radio

A new radio station from Heart will be the first of five new stations to launch in the next week.

Heart 90s will launch across the UK on DAB digital radio tomorrow. The new station will play music from artists including Take That, Spice Girls, George Michael, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. A new breakfast show will be hosted by radio and TV presenter Kevin Hughes.

The new radio stations from media company Global will be available nationally on DAB digital radio. They will also be added to the Global Player app for iOS and Android devices.

Only the first of the five new stations has been unveiled, with further announcements due in the coming days. The new stations will launch on:

  • Thursday 29th August – Heart 90s
  • Friday 30th August
  • Monday 2nd September
  • Tuesday 3rd September – two stations to be launched

According to the company, all of the new stations will be “focussed on a particular era or genre of music”. Each of the digital stations will sit within Global’s main brands, which includes Heart, Smooth, Capital, Gold, LBC, Radio X and Classic FM. Global also operates rock station The Arrow on DAB in London and chillout station Chill.

The launch of the new stations comes just months after Heart dance launched nationally on DAB digital radio. Oldies station Gold also expanded on national DAB, having been only available in parts of the UK for some time.

Digital radio enables ‘brand extensions’

Many digital radio stations are extensions of brands like Magic, Heart and Kiss. Although several spin-off stations have launched this year the trend can be traced back to the start of digital radio in the UK.

Capital Life launched nationally on DAB digital radio in 1999, long before the Capital name was available around the UK. Children’s radio station Capital Disney followed in 2002.

Virgin Radio (now Absolute Radio) launched several spin-off stations in the early 2000s. These focussed on classic rock, modern rock (Virgin Radio Xtreme) and motown and soul music.

One of the most popular brand extension radio stations has been Absolute 80s, which launched in 2009. Absolute Radio now offers a radio station for each decade from the 60s to the 00s, in addition to Absolute Radio Classic Rock.

More stations arrived with the launch of the second digital radio multiplex, which created capacity for new stations to broadcast across the UK. Mellow Magic and Magic Chilled launched alongside talkSPORT 2 and talkRADIO. Magic Soul is also available in parts of the UK on DAB digital radio.

KISSTORY is the most popular commercial digital radio station. KISS also offers KISS FRESH while Hits Radio sits alongside Greatest Hits Radio and Country Hits Radio.

The BBC launched BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2002 and would later rename BBC7 to BBC Radio 4Extra.

Most recently Virgin Radio launched two spin-off stations, Virgin Radio Anthems and Virgin Radio Chilled.

The adoption of DAB+ has meant that more radio stations can be broadcast. DAB+ is more efficient than the original DAB technology, but many listeners with older radios – and some budget radios still being sold today – cannot receive DAB+ stations. Radios with the digital radio tick mark can receive DAB, DAB+ and FM stations.