More DAB digital radio stations will be available in North and West Cumbria and Morecambe Bay by the end of the year. Media regulator Ofcom has awarded licences to two operators to launch the new transmitters.
In North and West Cumbria 13 digital stations will be available, including local services CFM and BBC Radio Cumbria. Five transmitters will be used to provide coverage in Carlisle, Penrith, Workington, Whitehaven and Keswick. The service will launch by December 2020. Local services BBC Radio Cumbria and CFM are not currently available on DAB digital radio.
In addition to local radio stations a number of national radio stations will also be available on the new transmitters. This will improve coverage for stations like Planet Rock, Scala Radio, Absolute Radio 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Mellow Magic, Magic Chilled and Jazz FM in North and West Cumbria.
Other stations which are available in parts of the country will also be added, such as Greatest Hits Radio, Country Hits Radio, Absolute Classic Rock and Magic Soul.
In awarding the multiplex licence to operator Bauer, Ofcom said it considered that the proposals “would offer a significant breadth of choice for listeners”.
More digital radio services in Morecambe Bay
In Morecambe Bay the new operator plans to cover Morecambe, Lancaster, Ulverston, Kendal and Windermere with four transmitters. The service will also launch by the end of December 2020.
Existing radio stations, such as Heart, Capital, Smooth and BBC Radio Cumbria will be available digitally. Children’s station Fun Kids Junior, country music service Chris Country and local station Bay Radio will also be added. Community stations Bay Trust Radio and CandoFM will be available on DAB.
Ofcom said that it considered that the inclusion of existing analogue stations, as well as five other services, “would enable the multiplex service to cater for local tastes and interests.”
There are currently no local DAB services in the Morecambe Bay area.
Last year Ofcom also asked for applications to operate a local digital radio multiplex for Southwest Scotland. The regulator says no applications were received for this area.