Digital radio plans for Exeter submitted
Monday, 23 November 2020
Around 25 new stations possible
Exeter could get around 25 new digital radio stations if a plan by a consortium of Devon
broadcasters gets its way.
ExeDAB, a company formed by Radio Exe’s owner Exe Broadcasting and community stations Phonic FM and Riviera FM, has applied to broadcast regulator Ofcom to run the network from transmitters at St Thomas and Sandygate.
If successful, Phonic and Riviera will be available on DAB digital radio for the first time, and Radio Exe will launch a number of other new channels. As part of the application process, ExeDAB invited other organisations who want to launch radio stations in the area to join its bid – and received a huge number of responses.
ExeDAB chairperson David Treharne, who holds the same role at Phonic, says: “We’ll have space for about 25 stations, and we received expressions of interest from more than 30. Clearly not all of them can launch, but it shows demand is going to be high for the bandwidth we have. Anyone who is interested in launching a station should get in touch with us quickly to get a place on our waiting list”.
“We already have people who intend to launch stations for young people, old people, people with disabilities, people who live in specific areas, people who enjoy particular types of music, and others interested in news or sport.”
ExeDAB will reserve four channels for digital community stations who will pay much-reduced transmission fees. Ofcom has already opened its application process for groups who want to launch such stations in the Exeter area, which as well as all the city’s suburbs, embraces Crediton, Topsham and Cranbrook. Projections show ExeDAB will reach about 137,000 adults mainly in an area around five miles from the city centre.
Ofcom is expected to choose who will run the network in spring next year.