Local digital radio update
Banbury FM is a leading member of NOxDAB – the locally owned and controlled, not-for-profit company that has applied to operate the “multiplex” here.
Ofcom advertised a licence in July and we submitted our application ahead of the deadline on August 14.
On November 1 Ofcom confirmed they had received 2 applications for the licence.
This page contains more information on Small Scale Digital Radio. The latest details are followed by a full explanation of how digital radio works.
Ofcom are currently asking for comments from the public. Should you wish to make your views known you have until 5pm on December 1 to email smallscaleDAB@ofcom.org.uk.
Our proposal to Ofcom
Our NOxDAB application uses three transmitters to bring digital radio to Banbury, Bicester and Brackley.
If our application wins you will not only be able to hear Banbury FM on digital radio, but also a new station called Banbury FM Oldies – bringing the Oldies Hour to you 24/7. Our NOxDAB partners at Radio Horton, Puritans Radio and 3Bs Radio will also be available alongside a new station called Bicester Sound. Other new local stations will include a countywide service called Fox Digital and the latest from our friends at Radio Silverstone.
You can see the area our competitor is proposing to cover and the stations they are proposing on their application using the link below.
Both our application and the application by our competitors are available on Ofcom’s website. To read them select the “Round 4 applications” link here.
Ofcom want to hear the public’s views on the applications that have been submitted. Anything you tell them will help in their decision making process. Ofcom say: “We are currently inviting comments on the applications we have received for round four, which should be sent to smallscaleDAB@ofcom.org.uk no later than 5pm on Thursday 1st December 2022.”
Banbury FM currently broadcasts using IP, often called “over the internet”. We can be heard on smart speakers, computers and tablets, smart phones and IP enabled radios. Whilst the number of people listening this way is quickly increasing, particularly on smart speakers, some people still want to be able to hear us on traditional radios.
The broadcast regulator Ofcom has started the process of bringing local digital radio to communities across the country. Thanks to the campaign we ran our area’s licence was advertised on July 14th 2022 as part of Ofcom’s “Round 4”.
We have joined forces with other local broadcasters from our area to apply for the licence. For too many years our choice of radio stations has been dictated by people – and big companies – based in towns and cities, sometimes hundreds of miles away from Banbury.
If we win the multiplex licence this valuable resource will be owned and controlled locally, on a not-for-profit basis, so access to local digital broadcasting remains affordable.
The deadline for applications is October 14th. Ofcom will decide the winner during the three month period after the application date.
It is highly likely other applicants backed by groups from outside the area will try to win the multiplex so they can profit from ownership.
Local digital radio is part of a system called small-scale DAB (SS-DAB). It is a new way of transmitting digital radio which is meant to be affordable to smaller stations, including community stations.
To broadcast on the existing countywide digital radio system can cost tens of thousands of pounds every year, which is out of the reach of most local radio stations.
How does DAB radio work – what is a multiplex?
Digital radio broadcasts in a different way to traditional analogue FM radio. With FM only one station can use a frequency. With digital broadcasts a number of stations can be transmitted together on the same frequency. This is called a multiplex. A multiplex can carry between 20 and 30 stations. A digital radio receives this multiplex and allows you to select the station you want from a list.
The licence advertisement
The broadcast regulator Ofcom has advertised an SS-DAB licence for the area that covers Banbury, Bicester and Brackley. Our group will be applying to run the multiplex.
If we are successful you will be able to hear Banbury FM and other local stations on any digital radio in this area.
Our application will be submitted by the not-for-profit company NOxDAB Ltd. NOxDAB’s founding members were Banbury FM, hospital station Radio Horton and Puritans Radio from the football club.
Since then other local broadcasters have joined and committed to our bid.
We need to make sure we have as much support as possible to include with our submission to Ofcom. If you, your business, charity or group would like to get behind us please use the form below to send us a message. Thank you!
If you are a broadcaster
We are keen to hear from other radio stations who might be interested in broadcasting on local digital radio and would like to find out more about being included in our application.
Please contact our team using the contact form below or the one on the NOxDAB website.
If you would like to find out more about our local SS-DAB group please visit the dedicated website.