Questions

Are DAB stations in Oxford broadcast in mono?

Is Oxford DAB+ transmitting in mono?
– Paul

Some radio stations in the UK are now using DAB+, rather than the original DAB. This is the case for some national stations, such as Union JACK and Jazz FM Stereo.

However, it appears that all of the local DAB radio stations in Oxford are still using the original DAB format.

In Oxfordshire you should receive eight services from the local digital radio transmitters, which are located in Oxford, Banbury, Chipping Norton and Wallingford.

The stations Heart Oxford, Smooth, Capital and BBC Radio Oxford are all broadcast in stereo at 128kbps.

Since May 2017 the local stations Jack FM, Jack2 and Jack3 have been broadcast in mono at 80kbps. Jack FM and Jack 2 were previously broadcast in stereo, but the change to mono coincided with the launch of Jack3.

BFBS Brize Norton is also broadcast in mono.

Across the UK it’s not unusual to find DAB digital radio stations broadcasting in mono. Broadcasting in mono can be more cost effective than broadcasting in stereo. There could also be a lack of capacity for radio stations, with more mono stations allowing for more choice for listeners. See our answer to ‘Why are some digital radio stations mono?‘ for more details.

Other DAB+ stations available in Oxfordshire

In Oxfordshire you may be receiving the four national services which use DAB+. These are all currently broadcast in stereo.

The national stations Absolute Radio, Capital UK, Heart Extra, Heart 80s, KISS, LBC, Magic, Radio X, talkSPORT, UCB and Smooth Extra are broadcast in mono on the ‘Digital One’ network of transmitters.

On the newer second national network the stations Absolute 80s, HEAT RADIO, KISSTORY, Mellow Magic, Planet Rock, Panjab Radio, Premier, Sunrise, talkRADIO, talkSPORT 2, UCB2 and Virgin Radio are broadcast in mono.

This isn’t such an issue for predominantly speech stations like LBC and talkSPORT, where mono is sufficient for news, sport and phone-ins.

All of the radio stations listed above should have stereo online streams.

There are currently ‘small scale’ digital radio trials being conducted in ten areas of the UK. Of the approximately 90 services using the new DAB+ format, only a handful are using DAB+ in mono. This may bode well for fans of stereo and future adoption of DAB+.

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