What is SSDAB?
DAB Digital Radio has revolutionised radio listening in the UK since arriving in the UK in the nineties. In the UK, 65.8% of all radio listening hours by the third quarter of 2021 were through digital platforms, with DAB making up the majority of digital radio listening (65.3% of digital radio listening). In the first quarter of 2020, 66.7% of UK people aged 15+ claimed to have access to a DAB radio set at home.
While DAB has undoubtedly widened choice on a national and regional level, until now it hasn't been viable for local and community radio stations as transmissions have covered large regions and have not been financially viable for smaller stations.
In 2018, Ofcom announced plans for small-scale digital radio (SSDAB) using open-source software, smaller transmission areas and the latest DAB+ compression tecnology to greatly reduce the cost of broadcasting on DAB and enable smaller radio stations to be part of the move from FM (and AM) to digital broadcasting.
At Bedford DAB, we’re bidding to operate the multiplex (mux) in Bedford which will be able to carry at least 35 radio stations in good quality stereo.
Applications to run the multiplex have been invited by Ofcom and the application deadline is in April 2022. We expect the licence to be awarded some six months later.
We're looking for groups and organisations to express an interest in being carried on the multiplex.
What is Smale Scale DAB (SSDAB)?
- New technology
- Lower cost
- Software driven
- Localised areas
Small-scale DAB is a new way of transmitting digital radio that uses advances in software and low-cost computer technology to provide a flexible and inexpensive approach to the terrestrial broadcast of digital radio services to a relatively small geographic area.
The system uses this new technology to carry a number of services on the same frequency. This single frequency, which broadcasts multiple services is called a multiplex.
Ofcom have divided the UK into "polygons" - areas which may be covered by these new multiplexes.
One of the polygons advertised is for Bedford
Why you should get your radio station on DAB
- Radio is as popular as ever in the digital age with 89% of the adult population tuning in each week - that's 48.9 million people!
- 67% of the population tune-in to digital radio every week.
- The vast majority of digital listening is via DAB.
- Bedford DAB will be focused on the city so you won't be wasting money reaching places outside your immediate catchment area.
- DAB is eco-friendly, sustainable and socially responsible.
- It is more environmentally friendly than analogue AM/FM as it consumes 80% less electricity; requires 75% less capital investment; reduces operating expenditure and maintenance costs by 65%.
How to find out more about SSDAB
If you are interested in operating a service on a SSDAB multiplex, our team are happy to provide advice with no obligation - please get in touch with us via the Contact section.
We're aware that the technical aspects and jargon can seem intimidating for community organisations so we're happy to explain in plain English how it works and help you to decide if it's right for your group.
For more details about SSDAB and applying for the C-DSP or DSP licence you need to operate a radio service on a local multiplex, please visit Ofcom's website here: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence/radio-broadcast-licensing/small-scale-DAB-licensing