Radio listeners across the Melton borough have from today (Friday) gained access to many more stations after an upgraded digital transmitter was switched on at Waltham.
Pupils at the town’s Brownlow Primary School took part in a special ‘switch on’ event with presenters from some of the stations which are now accessible.
The transmitter, which gives coverage throughout the borough and in Rutland as far south as Oakham, was the last of four to be activated in Leicestershire.
Although DAB digital radios are in over 61 per cent of county homes and almost 90 per cent of new cars, many listeners were unable to receive all stations before the new transmitters were launched by communications infrastructure company, Arqiva.
Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said: “Today we are celebrating the transformation of the coverage of local stations on DAB digital
radio across the county.
“It’s great news that a further 250,000 listeners across Leicestershire will now be able to hear these much-loved stations, which play such an important role in serving the local community, on digital radio.”
The expanded of coverage means many listeners can now, for the first time, receive 10 further stations - BBC Radio Leicester, Capital East Midlands, Gem 106, Heart East Midlands, Smooth East Midlands, Gold, Chill, LRB Digital, Sabras and Sanskar Radio.
Cat James, presenter of drivetime on Gem 106, Tom Watts and Claire Chambers of Capital East Midlands’ drivetime with Tom and Claire, and Helen McCarthy of BBC Radio Leicester, pressed the big green digital radio switch at 9am in front of Brownlow pupils and staff at 9am.
At the switch on event, head teacher, Damien Turrell, said: “The pupils have loved meeting our local radio presenters and finding out more about digital radio.
“We’re delighted to have hosted such an exciting occasion on behalf of the county at our school and to have welcomed Leicestershire’s local stations.”
Sophie Shardlow, editor at BBC Radio Leicester, said: “We have been a part of life in the county for 50 years and its great news that now even more listeners can tune in to our hugely popular presenters, delivering the local news, sport, music and conversation that they love on DAB digital radio.”
Leicestershire’s four new digital transmitters are part of a programme of work co-funded by government, BBC and commercial multiplex operators to expand coverage of local DAB stations from 75 per cent to 90 per cent of UK households, in line with FM coverage for commercial radio.
Richard Johnston, head of commercial radio at Arqiva, said: “We are proud of our role in delivering the infrastructure needed for a vibrant digital radio market and are delighted to complete the expansion of local DAB coverage in Leicestershire.”
Melton listeners are asked to retune their digital radios to ensure they receive all the new stations.