Smaller stations could find it easier to broadcast on the UK’s digital radio platform thanks to trials announced today by Ofcom.
At present, many small stations cannot afford the costs of broadcasting on DAB but the media regulator suggests its trials could eventually open the airwaves to “more local and community radio stations.”
The trials involve using free software from opendigitalradio.org rather than relying on often expensive hardware equipment and, according to Ofcom, is ideally suited for broadcasting to small geographic areas making it useful to community and local radio stations.
Use of the software has already been pioneered by Ofcom engineer Rashid Mustapha who used and a low power digital radio transmitter to broadcast an audio track of squawking seagulls from a Brighton roof-top.
Rashid said: “The first test of the small scale DAB concept was from the roof of the tallest building in East Sussex.
“Despite an unexpected delay to the start of the experiment while waiting for young Peregrine falcons to fly from their nest, the technology provided very encouraging results.”
Ofcom is now inviting applications to take part in ten trials to further assess the viability of small scale DAB across the UK.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom Consumer and Content Group Director, added: “We’re looking for local and community radio stations to take part in trials to test this innovative new technology.”
“If successful, this could significantly benefit digital radio listeners up and down the country.”
The deadline for applications is 3pm on 7 April 2015.