Why have I suddenly lost digital stations?

As of today we are not receiving any commercial DAB radio broadcasts – not even in the car. We are only receiving broadcasts through our digital television.
– David

If you’ve suddenly lost access to digital radio stations there could be a problem with your local transmitter. Around the time of your question an incident disrupted a transmitter in the Moray Firth area. Local station MFR and BBC Radio Scotland posted on Twitter about the disruption.

Earlier this year we answered a similar question during adverse weather (known as ‘The Beast From The East’ in 2018).

If you suddenly lose more than one or two digital radio stations it could be down to several reasons, including:

  • Planned maintenance, coverage improvement work or upgrades to the transmitter
  • A failure at the transmitter, such as a power cut or physical damage to infrastructure
  • Technical problems at the radio station or transmission provider

Outages are normally resolved within a few hours.

If you find that you unexpectedly lose a station on digital radio it’s worth looking at the station’s social media accounts or website for information. You could also contact them via Twitter, Facebook or their website to see if there’s a problem.

The BBC has a section on their website which lists upcoming and current engineering work on transmitters.

Sometimes a single radio station may no longer be available. Occasionally radio stations move on digital radio to different transmitters, end their DAB transmissions or close down altogether. In 2016 some digital stations moved from one network of transmitters to another.

It’s also worth checking another radio in the same place to rule out a problem with your receiver.

Radio channels on digital television

You mentioned that you can only receive radio channels through your digital television. The radio stations available through digital platforms Freeview, Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media are broadcast separately from DAB.

The line-up of radio channels on Freeview is also different to that on a DAB digital radio. While you will be able to receive BBC radio and some commercial stations, like LBC and Classic FM, you won’t find Planet Rock or Absolute 80s. Local commercial stations are also not on Freeview.


Still have questions?