Listening to DAB radio in Salisbury can be frustrating, to say the least, but today OFCOM opened a tender process to run a ‘small scale DAB Multiplex’ for Salisbury.
What this means is, Salisbury will have it’s very own DAB Transmitter.
Currently, the only reliable DAB signal you are likely to receive in Salisbury is from BBC stations, non-BBC stations are very hit and miss, especially when listening in the car.
25 areas are included in the first round – including Cambridge, Norwich, Glasgow, Birmingham and Bristol, where trial multiplexes have been operating for the last few years.
Applicants will have 12 weeks to prepare and submit applications from 1st September, while stations wanting a Community Digital Sound Programme (C-DSP) licence to broadcast in one of the areas can also apply from the same date.
The closing date is yet to be confirmed but is likely to be in late November, with the first small scale multiplex licences expected to be awarded early in 2021.
In a statement, Ofcom said: “In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and its impact on stakeholders, we sent a short questionnaire to those people who had previously expressed an interest in applying for a small-scale radio multiplex licence in one or more of the Round One locations before going ahead with publishing the advertisements. The planned date of 1 September is a result of the feedback we received and may be subject to change as the coronavirus situation and its impact on stakeholders and Ofcom develops in the coming months.”
There has been a number of trial sites running for a few years. The trial in Portsmouth has just clocked up its fifth year and has been hailed as a success. Run by local company, Solent Wireless, the small scale DAB multiplex enables local and community stations as well as national brands to broadcast to a wider audience at a reasonable cost.
A similar set up in Salisbury will provide a more consistent DAB signal in Salisbury as well as space for new local and community stations to broadcast.