More BBC Mediumwave Closures

(Source BBC Blog via Mike Terry)

By Kieran Clifton
Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development

In my blog posted in the summer of 2017, I explained the BBC’s plans for local radio and the reasons for the closure of some of our medium wave transmitters – which happened in January last year. This was the first stage of putting into action a plan that the BBC originally announced in 2011. Starting in February 2020, and completing in mid-2020, we will be moving on to the next stage of the plan, closing a further 18 medium wave transmitters across England, Scotland and Wales. There is a list of services affected at the end of this blog post.

My earlier blog post explained why we are closing some local medium wave transmitters, but I wanted to recap again here. The majority of radio listening in the UK – including to the BBC – is now digital, and digital listening is continuing to grow. We want to make our services available to you when and how you want them, but it’s also right that the BBC continues to ensure that the ways we distribute our services represent good value for money for you, the licence fee payer.

The BBC is committed to a digital future for radio, and in the past few years we have funded local DAB expansion, made all local radio stations available on digital terrestrial TV (such as Freeview), and we have transformed our online and mobile offering with BBC Sounds.  Together with FM (which has recently been expanded for Radio Wales), these ways of receiving our stations now make up the great majority of listening, and as a result continuing to transmit these services on medium wave would no longer represent good value for money.

This change was planned as long ago as 2011, but we have taken a measured approach to implementing it to ensure that as many of you as possible have already moved on to other ways of receiving the services before we make this change.  We know that the changes will impact some of you, and that’s why we’re speaking about the plans again now. We want to make sure that people listening to these transmissions will be able to use other methods to hear the same programmes.

All stations which will be affected will continue to be on FM and digital outputs (such as DAB, digital television, or online). For most people, re-tuning their radios or cars to FM or DAB is likely to be the simplest solution.

You can use our Problem Assistant tool to get more information on how to access all BBC services in your area.

The stations which will no longer be transmitted on MW are:

    • Three Counties Radio (3CR)
    • Radio Merseyside
    • Radio Newcastle
    • Radio Solent (for Dorset)
    • Radio Solent
    • Radio Cornwall
    • Radio York

In addition, the following stations will have reduced MW coverage:

Radio Scotland

    • Areas in and around both Aberdeen and Kirkcudbright

Radio Wales

    • Tywyn, Forden and Llandrindod Wells transmitter areas

Radio Cumbria

    • Areas in and around Whitehaven

Radio Norfolk

    • Areas in and around Norwich
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10 thoughts on “More BBC Mediumwave Closures

  1. David Peter poulton

    Im sad DAB disappears when you use other electrical equipment is lights microwave cooker and kettle. When these switch on DAB fades and disappears when you switch these off DAB returns. It’s not as good as FM. Please sort it out before you switch off any other wave band.

  2. JeffConn

    They are touting “digital terrestrial TV ” as a way to listen to BBC? Is there a human being ANYWHERE who actually listens to radio on TV?

    1. Dafydd Jones

      I must admit I do use my tv to listen to Nick Abbott on LBC at the weekend! But all this stuff about,”Well you can listen to it via Freeview,or Freesat,is a bit ludicrous,really. It’s a tv,surely! That’s why you bought it?!! To watch,….erm, programs on!! Not listen,with the picture off!! (LOL,as they say!!)

      Funnily enough (as some will know here) amongst all the hi-tech gadgets,Tesco are selling a FM radio with SW,LW & MW for £9.00. (The Rad-108) I bought one out of curiosity. Actually,it’s surprisingly good………………….for the price!!! I’ve been able to listen to RTE 1 on LW and Radio Cornwall (630khz) Radio Scotland (810khz) and Radio Ulster (1341khz). I haven’t really tried shortwave,yet!

      I note that FM has been around for quite some years (!) as an alternative to DAB,offering better sound quality AND stereo. Yet,they didn’t keep switching off AM transmitters. Unlike DAB,it isn’t unlistenable if the signal is very poor. Also,you can switch to mono,on allot of receivers,to eliminate annoying background hiss!

      NB: I’m going to have a listen to Radio Cornwall now,via the internet,so as to be ready for the great switch-off! My connection is poor,at the moment,so I’ve just got to hope?!!

  3. Mark

    DAB is in stereo, We have it here in Ireland, though there are plans for RTE to shut down all DAB services to save money.

    In reality, DAB is very limited here and it’s crap, MP2 at around 96 Kbps and they advertise that as superior to FM ? and they advertise that you don’t need to “tune” a DAB radio, but you don’t need to tune a modern FM receiver also, they stations appear as it detects them at least that’s how it is in my BMW i3 Electric car which I hacked to enable the 49 M Shortwave band, use a dongle and download the bimmercode app.

    It’s unfortunate all these MW closures but I can’t help feel that the powers that be in the U.K had something to do with making the manufacturers of radios remove AM and have DAB and FM only ? see Currys alone here in Ireland , very hard to find a radio with AM so I’m sure the same applies in the U.K.

    I have noticed a big decline in U.K MW stations here and it is quite sad. Don’t like using apps on phones to listen to radio and using apps to scan through stations isn’t as gratifying as tuning a dial and scanning stations on a radio.

    Thank God for SDR Radios, I love my Kiwi receivers. But sadly MW is declining to the point there is not really a lot to listen to in English any more and there will soon be less. But it could open some DX opportunities from the US and Canada, at least there would be some English programming to listen to. With the decline in strong U.K MW stations most of the powerful stations now are Spanish that I can hear here.

    Kiwi receivers can now decode DRM and it works great, it’s a shame DRM didn’t make it in time here in this part of the world. If there were a lot more cheap receivers it might make a difference, RTE’s LW 252 transmitter was upgraded to DRM some years ago it would be a shame to waste it.

    It’s a sad time.

  4. Dafydd Jones

    Oh dear! It was only yesterday that I was listening to the Radio Cornwall phone-in. I have done so,for the last decade,or so;since “discovering” the program,while exploring the wave band,for stimulating programing,as an alternative to,the usual,local programing,interspersed with pop singles of the worst kind!. Lawrence Reed is very good with the callers,bringing out the best in them,with some nice humour thrown in,and no pop singles,blasting my ear ‘oles,every few minutes! I get a decent signal from across the Bristol channel,upstairs,and boosted,very nicely indeed,with the help of my Tecsun AN-200 loop. I also listen to Radio Ulster and Radio Scotland,in the early to mid morning,late afternoon & early evening,on 1341khz and 810khz respectively! Although,Radio Scotland is un-listenable during the summer months! But,to my point!! I have been aware that time is running out for MW listening. From later this year I will have to listen to Radio Cornwall via the internet,if I want to listen to it at all! I live in Wales,so FM and DAB are not an option. Although,I could maybe pick up the transmitter,if I was further south;and very probably,if I lived on the coast. But this is one of the problems with FM,and particularly DAB. Coverage of local radio is limited to the areas served by the Radio station. Yes,I can use the internet,or a mobile;but this involves a subscription,and being dependent on a wireless connection. And to many prospective listeners,like me;Radio Cornwall just becomes one of many thousands I can choose from,on the world wide web!

    1. Dafydd Jones

      Laurence Reed,actually!! But no time to spell check;or take the usual care I prefer over posts,as I’ve got to go out!! Apologies for this. But I just felt I had to post a comment on this!

  5. Russell berridge

    Getting fed up with this dab is crap constantly cuts out in certain areas all of our lorries are new and don’t have dab in em why can’t you just leave med wave alone and allow people to use it if needed ,I suppose you’ve got to get Gary linekers pay rise ready

  6. Paul

    Money Money Money…. What do the BBC “Corporation” keep doing with the millions they collect via TV License Taxation.
    Like with council tax, we just seem to be getting less and less for the money we are forced to pay.
    Get shot, of the overpaid pen pushing gang, who do next to nothing for their pay and the greedy BBC fat cats need booting out.
    Stop taking away from the people, just get rid of the above…. It’s that simple.

  7. mangosman

    So when is the UK going to convert from DAB to DAB+ like Norway and other European countries. Elsewhere DAB+ is already used.

    The advantages of DAB+ is improved error correction and due to the improved HE AAC audio compression means that all programs can be in stereo which is not possible in DAB.


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