Up to 18 new digital radio stations could be launched after two consortia applied to run a new national slice of radio spectrum, known as a multiplex.
The two groups are:
Listen2Digital: A joint application from Babcock’s Media Services business and Orion Media, a commercial radio group.
Sound Digital: A consortium of Arqiva, a transmission company, and commercial radio broadcasters Bauer and UTV Media GB.
Listen2Digital is proposing to offer 18 national DAB channels while Sound Digital is proposing to provide 15.
Fuller details of each application will be published next week after which media regulator Ofcom will assess each against specified criteria, in what is known as a ‘beauty contest’.
Ofcom says it hopes to award the licence by summer 2015 and that the first new digital stations are expected to be on air in 2016.