Ofcom awards third round of small-scale DAB stations

Listeners in North West England and North East Wales will be able to tune into more digital radio stations after Ofcom awarded more small-scale DAB licences.

Small-scale DAB multiplexes allow smaller commercial and community radio stations to launch on digital radio. These include local radio stations as well as those catering for communities and a variety of music tastes.

Each of the small-scale DAB multiplexes which have launched so far carry at least fifteen radio stations each. These include local community stations as well as national stations like Radio Caroline.

The latest set of awards brings the the total number of multiplex licences awarded to 42.

The areas for which multiplexes have been awarded in the latest round are:

  • Blackburn, Burnley and Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton and Bury
  • Cheshire (East)
  • Cheshire (Mid)
  • Congleton and Leek
  • Crewe, Nantwich and Whitchurch
  • Glossop and Buxton
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Oldham & Rochdale
  • Preston
  • Stockport
  • Stoke & Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Warrington, Widnes & Runcorn
  • Wigan
  • Wrexham

The media regulator has been awarding licences to operate the multiplexes in regional batches. Eventually around 200 multiplex licences will be awarded.

In a review of the licensing process so far, Ofcom notes that the first small-scale DAB multiplexes have launched in Tynemouth & South Shields, Salisbury, North Birmingham and Cambridge.

Ofcom has also published the applications for the third round of licence advertisements, covering areas in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.