Harrogate's new digital radio revolution as Your Harrogate makes bid to Ofcom

Two of Harrogate’s leading radio stations are joining forces to lead a new DAB revolution in the town - and they’re inviting everyone to get involved.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 10:02 am
Harrogate's bid for a new DAB service ‘multiplex’ licence from Ofcom is being led by Your Harrogate and broadcaster Nick Hancock.

But Harrogate Hospital Radio has already said it is happy to be part of the syndicate required to pay for the ‘multiplex’ licence to operate DAB radio services locally.

After months of lobbying, Nick Hancock was thrilled communications regulator Ofcom had confirmed that Harrogate and Wetherby are to be allocated their own local DAB service multiplex.

Backing the DAB bid: Award-winning broadcaster Mark Oldfield, chair of Harrogate Hospital Radio, the town’s longest running radio station.

The former Stray FM presenter said: “I’m delighted to hear this terrific news and it’s great that all our efforts, as well as those of many others, for this to come to Harrogate and Wetherby, have been rewarded.

“I’m very grateful for all the support from local businesses, organisations and councillors, who, along with local MP Andrew Jones, have been strong advocates of having our own specifically local DAB services available.”

All local digital radio (DAB) multiplex services, which usually carry both commercial radio services and BBC local or national services, have a specified licensed area under terms set by Ofcom as part of the Government’s Digital Radio Action Plan announced in 2010.

Mr Hancock confirmed he would welcome the involvement of anyone, or group, that wished to be involved in providing additional services on the multiplex .

Award-winning broadcaster Mark Oldfield, chair of Harrogate Hospital Radio, the town’s longest running radio station, said: “I have agreed with Nick that Harrogate Hospital Radio will be part of the syndicate if it is awarded. Your Harrogate will own the licence and, therefore, the cost to Harrogate Hospital Radio and other parties interested in joining will be relatively inexpensive to be part of the syndicate.

“We look forward to working with Nick in being successful in gaining the DAB licence.”

There is a one-off application fee of £250 and an annual licence fee of £100.

There are also capacity charges which vary from multiplex to multiplex but, in general, the cost of carriage for a mono (64 kbit/s regular DAB) service on a non-London multiplex is around £3,500 to £6,000 per month, usually shared by more than the one radio station to keep costs low.

A result of Harrogate’s bid may come as early as September.

How Harrogate's radio landscape looks in 2021

Online Harrogate radio service HG1 Radio may have closed recently after nine months of operating but Harrogate listeners are still enjoying something of a local radio boom - despite the demise last year of Stray FM.

As well as recent newcomer Your Harrogate and Harrogate Hospital Radio, which has been going strong since 1977, other local broadcasters include Harrogate Community Radio which was launched in August 2019.

Greatest Hits Radio took over from Stray FM in 2019.

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