All digital radio listeners in the Plymouth area were urged to retune their DAB digital radios this morning after new transmitters were switched on.
Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Dr John Mahony, pressed the big green retune switch at 8.30am, marking the moment for listeners to retune their DAB digital radios and starting the process of turning on the new digital transmitters, which will bring local BBC and commercial stations - BBC Radio Devon, Heart, Smooth, Capital, Gold, Pirate Oldies and Kiss - to 100,000 more listeners in the Plymouth area for the first time, and will be completed by the end of the week.
Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Dr John Mahony, said: “Plymouth is served by a great variety of local stations. I am delighted that now even more listeners in Plymouth will be able to hear these important and well-loved stations on digital radio and encourage everyone to retune their radios this morning.”
The retune is part of a programme of work that will this week expand and boost the digital radio signal in Plymouth and the surrounding area for over 100,000 listeners around Tavistock, Torpoint and Ivybridge, and a further 18,000 listeners in Kingsbridge in March 2016, through the launch of four new local DAB transmitters.
As a result of the digital boost, all listeners to DAB digital radio in the Plymouth area need to retune their DAB radios today to be able to continue to receive their favourite local DAB stations.
Retuning will enable those listeners in the new expansion areas to receive local radio stations on DAB for the first time, including BBC Radio Devon’s comprehensive commentary of Football League fixtures featuring local favourites Plymouth Argyle.
Retuning a DAB digital radio is a simple process. Listeners simply press the auto tune or auto scan button on their DAB digital radio or go into the radio’s menu and press auto tune. For more information go to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Over 51% of homes in Devon have a DAB digital radio, and 42.2% of radio listening hours are to digital platforms [Source: Q3 2015RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB]. Until now many listeners in Plymouth have not been able to receive any of their great local stations via DAB digital radio.
The new Plymouth transmitters, which have been built by communications infrastructure company, Arqiva, are part of an industry and Government programme of work that aims to expand the coverage and listening to DAB digital radio. Government, BBC and commercial radio have agreed plans to build a further 182 local DAB transmitters to extend local DAB coverage to more than 90% of the population which will bring eight million listeners across the UK into coverage and will add over 6,700 km of roads.
Mark Grinnell, Editor, BBC Radio Devon, said: “BBC Radio Devon has been central to life in the county for over 30 years and we’re proud to be one of BBC’s biggest local radio stations. We’re encouraging our loyal family of listeners on DAB digital radio in Plymouth to retune their digital radios this morning to ensure we can continue bringing them all the local news, sport, and entertainment they love.”
Sara Bond, Managing Director of Global South West, said: “Global is home to the country’s biggest commercial radio brands, so we’re excited to bring Heart, Capital, Smooth and Gold to more people in Plymouth on DAB digital radio. We know that our listeners love the great music we play, as well as presenters like Heart’s Matt & Caroline and we want to make sure they retune to keep listening.”
Mark Peters, Managing Director, Pirate Oldies, said: “We’ve had a great reaction to Pirate Oldies since we launched on DAB just last month, and we’re delighted that even more listeners will now be able to hear Plymouth’s newest DAB station so soon after launch.”
Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said: “We are delighted that today over 100,000 more listeners will be able to enjoy their favourite local stations on DAB digital radio for the first time and we urge all listeners in Plymouth to retune their DAB radios to ensure they don’t miss out on the great range of services available to them in Plymouth.”
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: "The big digital radio retune is fantastic news for both listeners and local radio stations. With more than 30 million of us tuning in every week, and three quarters of all cars now coming with DAB as standard, there's no doubt the future of radio in the UK is digital. Government is working closely with our partners on the expansion of DAB digital radio, bringing listeners around the UK greater access, better coverage and an even wider variety of content."
Paul Eaton, Director of Digital Radio, Arqiva, said: “I am delighted that the local DAB coverage expansion programme is continuing with Plymouth being the latest area to receive a digital boost. We look forward to playing our part in expanding local DAB coverage to the level of commercial radio FM coverage.”