Next small-scale DAB licences awarded

Media regulator Ofcom has awarded a further five small-scale DAB licences for areas in England, Wales and Scotland.

The awards announced today follow two previous batches in March for areas like Cambridge, Glasgow and Salisbury. In Round One a total of 14 licences have been awarded so far with the remaining 11 awards to be announced in the coming weeks.

Small-scale DAB makes it possible for smaller radio stations to launch on digital radio. The areas covered by small-scale DAB multiplexes are typically smaller than the existing local multiplexes. Radio stations which are aimed at listeners in a specific area can launch without the cost of broadcasting to a county or region. This means a community radio station can broadcast in Norwich rather than a wider area in Norfolk.

The areas covered by the licences announced today are Cardiff, Edinburgh, King’s Lynn, Leeds and Norwich.

Listeners in Norwich have already been able to tune in to around 20 additional digital radio stations as the city has been covered by one of the ten trial multiplexes. The operator of the Norwich trial, Future Digital Norfolk, has been awarded the full-time licence.

The new services are expected to launch within the next 18 months as required by the legislation. In their applications the Cardiff and Edinburgh mentioned an intention to launch within 6 months.

Licences for the Round Two areas in the North West and North East Wales will be advertised on 1st June 2021.