Guide to Digital Radio in the UK

Digital radio is to FM radio what the CD is to the vinyl record: it offers higher sound quality without distortion or crackling. It’s also more efficient to transmit than FM, and offers listeners a larger choice of stations to listen to. These are just some of the reasons why digital radio has been growing in the UK in the last two decades.

This guide to digital radio in the UK surveys the history and growth of digital radio and gives an overview of the influential individuals, organisations and companies who have helped it grow. The guide also gives advice on how you can listen to digital radio, and looks at some of the stations available.

History of Digital Radio in the UK

A Brief History of Digital Radio in the UK - Infographic
A Brief History of Digital Radio in the UK – Infographic

The story of digital radio in the UK begins in 1990 when the BBC carried out engineering test DAB transmissions from Crystal Palace transmitting station.[1] The UK’s first digital audio broadcasting service was switched on in September 1995 by the BBC. The service transmitted BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Live to the London area. At the time there were only about 30 listeners, and digital radios were still not available in shops.[2]

By using its single-frequency network the BBC managed to expand coverage of digital radio to 85% of the UK population by 2004.[3]

The first company to manufacture a digital radio tuner for the home was Arcam, but it cost over £700 and could only pick up around 10 stations.

Uptake of digital radio was very slow at first. The first receivers were expensive car radios rather than cheap portable DAB radios. The first company to manufacture a digital radio tuner for the home was Arcam, but it cost over £700 and could only pick up around 10 stations.[4] These radios were only available in specialist shops and only appealed to enthusiasts and early adopters.

In 2001, a new processing chip allowed digital radios to be produced more cheaply, helping digital radios reach a mass market. Pure released the first DAB radio for less than £100 in July 2002, the Pure Evoke-1.[5] The radio’s low price point and eye-catching design helped the Evoke become a breakthrough product contributing to fast growth in the sales of digital radios. DAB radios were still significantly more expensive than their analogue counterparts, but they were affordable enough to become popular products on the high street.

By late 2016, 32.9% of radio listening in the UK was via DAB radio, and roughly 31 million adults in the UK owned a DAB radio.

Since the early 2000s, the number of digital stations available has grown steadily, as has the number of listeners, and today the UK has the biggest digital radio network in the world. The cost of DAB radios has gradually fallen, and these days the cheapest models can cost less than £20. While digital radios are still more expensive on average, the price difference is negligible.

The Digital Britain report published by the UK government in 2009 recommended switching from FM to DAB radio in 2015. This plan was delayed in 2013 due to the relatively low number of people who own a DAB radio.

By late 2016, 32.9% of radio listening in the UK was via DAB radio, and roughly 31 million adults in the UK owned a DAB radio.[6]

 

Influential People, Organisations and Companies

The story of digital radio in the UK is a story of collaboration between a large number of stakeholders including the government, private companies and public organisations. Several individuals have also been instrumental in driving the technology forward.

Influential companies

Pure

The product that helped take DAB mainstream in the UK was arguably the Pure Evoke-1, which was the first digital radio available for less than £100. In the early days of digital radio Pure were instrumental in promoting the uptake of DAB radio listening in the UK. The story could have been quite different if a product like the Evoke-1 hadn’t managed to reach a mass market.

Arqiva/Digital One

Arqiva is the UK’s only national provider of terrestrial television and radio broadcasting, and helped launch the UK’s national DAB radio network in the early 2000s.

Arqiva subsidiary Digital One hold the only digital radio licence for national commercial radio in the UK. Stations on the Digital One network include Classic FM, Kiss, talkSPORT, LBC and Heart. The company also run ukdigitalradio.com, an informational site about digital radio.

Influential organisations

BBC

It’s hard to imagine radio in the UK without the BBC. As recounted earlier, the BBC was the first organisation to test digital radio in the UK, and the first organisation to launch a DAB radio service in 1995. In the final quarter of 2016, 53.5% of listening hours were on BBC stations[7]. Given the BBC’s dominance in the UK’s radio landscape, the BBC’s support for digital radio has been and will continue to be essential for digital radio to flourish.

WorldDAB

WorldDAB is the global industry forum for digital radio. The organisation promotes the adoption and development of digital radio using DAB/DAB+ standards, primarily in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. WorldDAB brings together people from different industries and countries to collaborate on promoting the growth and development of digital radio.

Influential people

Ed Vaizey

Ed Vaizey
Ed Vaizey

Ed Vaizey was Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries from 2010 to 2016. While in office, Vaizey was a major backer of a digital switchover, arguing in a speech given to the WorldDAB assembly in 2015 that digital is the future of radio.[8] Vaizey made a switchover a target for the government, but stopped short of naming a definite date for it to happen.

James Cridland

James Cridland is a radio futurologist and one of the world’s foremost commentators on digital radio. He is frequently a guest speaker at radio and media conferences, and publishes a weekly radio newsletter.

 

Future of Digital Radio in the UK

Criteria for a digital radio switchover in the UK

At some point in the next 10 years, the UK is expected to follow Norway’s suit and switch off the FM radio signal, meaning that digital will be the only way to listen to most stations. However, the UK government have been considering a digital switchover since the mid 2010s, so it seems unlikely this will happen soon.

In their Digital Radio Action Plan, the government set out two essential criteria that must be met before a switchover can happen:

  • 50 per cent of all listening is digital
  • National DAB coverage is comparable to FM, and local DAB reaches 90 per cent of the population and all major roads.

The word ‘digital’ here includes listening via digital television and online, so in theory a switchover could happen before 50% of listening is via DAB/DAB+ radio sets.

One key difference between the UK and other European countries including Norway, who are in the process of switching off FM, is that other countries use DAB+, the newer standard of digital radio, whereas the UK predominantly uses DAB, the older standard. DAB+ uses the more efficient aacPlus encoding format whereas DAB uses the somewhat outdated MP2 format. DAB+ also has better error correction, so it can reduce the gargling sound many digital radio listeners in the UK are familiar with.

This choice of two digital radio standards complicates matters, as it raises the question of whether or not the UK should not only switch from FM to digital radio, but also switch from the more established DAB standard to DAB+. However, James Cridland explains in this piece that while DAB+ would make sense if the UK was launching its digital radio network from scratch, it doesn’t make sense for the UK to focus on switching to DAB+ now.

One major issue that would make a digital switchover unpopular is that listeners’ experiences of digital radio in the UK have always failed to meet the promise of crystal-clear audio free from interruptions. The fact is that in many parts of the UK, the digital signal is still patchy, especially on smaller stations. This has played a big part in holding the uptake of digital radio back, and is something that will need to be improved if a digital switchover is to go smoothly.

 

How to Listen to Digital Radio

There are several ways to listen to digital radio stations:

  1. Using a DAB or DAB+ radio
  2. Listening in the car
  3. Listening via digital television
  4. Listening online

Listening with a DAB or DAB+ radio

This is the most common way to listen to digital radio. These days there is a huge range of digital radios on offer. See the articles below for some of our top picks in different categories:

One thing to be wary of is that DAB+ radios can pick up DAB stations fine, but DAB radios can’t necessarily pick up DAB+ stations. This means that if you want to be able to receive DAB+ stations, you should check carefully to see if the radio you’re buying can do this.

Listening in the car

Unless your car comes with digital radio, you will need to either buy a new car radio or get a DAB car radio adapter. An adapter is generally cheaper and easier than replacing your car stereo altogether.

Listening via digital television

Almost all digital TVs let you listen to digital radio. On Freeview you can find radio stations by scrolling right through and past the end of the TV channels available.

Listening online

There are lots of ways to listen to digital radio online. You can usually listen on the radio station’s website itself, such as here for BBC radio. You can also listen via third-party services like TuneIn, which is also available as an app to download on your phone.

National Stations

Here is a list of national radio stations broadcasting on DAB in the UK. Please note, we cannot guarantee this information is 100% complete or up to date.

Absolute Radio

Absolute Radio is a commercial station owned by Bauer Radio that plays popular rock music from the 1960s to the present. Along with Classic FM and TalkSPORT, it is one of the three Independent National Radio stations that have been broadcasting since the 1990s.[9]
Website: absoluteradio.co.uk

Absolute Radio 80s

Absolute Radio 80s is an offshoot of Absolute Radio that exclusively plays popular rock and pop hits from the 1980s.
Website: absoluteradio.co.uk/80s

BBC Radio 1

BBC Radio 1 is one of the UK’s most popular radio stations. It is aimed at young people and mainly plays chart hits during the day with alternative genres broadcast after 7pm. Radio 1 has been very influential on the pop, rock, electronic and hip hop scenes in the UK since its launch in 1967.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radio1

BBC Radio 1Xtra

An offshoot of BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra was launched in 2002. It focuses on urban music including hip hop, grime and R&B. Like Radio 1, the station is aimed at young people.
Website: bbc.co.uk/1xtra

BBC Radio 2

BBC Radio 2 is currently the most popular radio station in the UK. It mainly plays ‘adult contemporary’ music including popular music from the 1950s to today. The station has an older listenership than Radio 1, and has a broad appeal.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radio2

BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 focuses on classical music and opera, but also plays world music, jazz and cultural programmes. Radio 3 is the world’s largest commissioner of new music, and focuses more on new works than the commercial classical station Classic FM.[10]
Website: bbc.co.uk/radio3

BBC Radio 4 FM

Radio 4 is the BBC’s flagship news and spoken word station. The station broadcasts a range of comedy, drama and documentary programmes punctuated by regular news updates. The station has several iconic features including playing the chimes of Big Ben at the start of news programmes. Some of the station’s longest-running and best known programmes include as the Archers, the Shipping Forecast and Desert Island Discs.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radio4

BBC Radio 4 LW

BBC Radio 4’s longwave service has a slightly different schedule to the main station. It is also available on DAB radio.

BBC Radio 4 Extra

Launched in 2002 as BBC 7 and rebranded in 2011, Radio 4 Extra broadcasts repeats of drama, comedy and documentary programmes, mainly from Radio 4. The station has also broadcast a few original programmes including Newsjack and Mitch Benn Music Show.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radio4extra

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 was first launched as a news service, but has become more famous for its coverage of live sport. The station also features news and current affairs programming as well as live phone-ins, and has a more relaxed, informal feel than other BBC stations such as Radio 4. The station is broadcast on AM, but is also available on DAB radio. Since 2011 Radio 5 Live has broadcast from MediaCityUK in Salford.
Website:bbc.co.uk/5live

BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra

BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra is a digital-only station that broadcasts sports coverage to supplement the main Radio 5 Live station.
Website: bbc.co.uk/5livesportsextra

BBC Radio 6 Music

BBC Radio 6 Music was launched in 2002. It was the first national music station the BBC had launched in 32 years. The station plays alternative rock, indie and electronic music, and has a focus on discovering and promoting new artists.
Website: bbc.co.uk/6music

BBC Asian Network

BBC Asian Network is aimed at people of South Asian descent including Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis. It plays bhangra, Bollywood and desi music as well as news and documentaries with a focus on issues relating to South Asia or affecting the UK’s Asian community.
Website: bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork

BBC World Service

As well as being broadcast worldwide via shortwave, the World Service is also available nationally on AM and DAB radio. The station is the world’s largest international broadcaster and has been influential globally since it being launched in 1932 as the BBC Empire Service.[11]
Website: bbc.com/worldserviceradio

Capital

Capital is a network of twelve radio stations that broadcast separately on FM and also broadcast 95.8 Capital London nationally via DAB. The stations play contemporary popular music targeting the 14-34 age group, a similar demographic to Radio 1. Owned by Global, the Capital network has a combined listenership of around 7.8 million people a week.[12]
Website: capitalfm.com/

Capital XTRA

Capital XTRA is an urban music station controlled by Capital Radio Group. It has a similar relationship to Capital as Radio 1Xtra has to Radio 1.
Website: capitalxtra.com

Classic FM

Classic FM is a commercial classical music station that mainly plays popular classics as well as film music. The station was launched in 1992 and is operated by Global Group.
Website: classicfm.com

heat Radio

heat Radio was launched in 2003. The station plays pop music and broadcasts celebrity and showbiz news.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/heat

Heart Extra

Heart Extra was launched in 2016 by Global as a sister station of Heart. The station is broadcast from Leicester Square in London and plays pop and classic rock.
Website: heart.co.uk/extra

Kiss

Kiss started out as a pirate station broadcasting to London in 1985. In 1990 the station was given a legal license, and has since become one of the UK’s most popular commercial radio stations. Kiss plays a range of popular music including pop, hip hop, urban music and dance.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/kiss

Kisstory

Kisstory is a sister station of Kiss. It plays a range of electronic and dance music including acid house, trip hop and electronica.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/kisstory

LBC

LBC was the UK’s first commercial radio station to receive a license, and was first broadcast in 1973. The name originally stood for “London Broadcasting Corporation”, but the station now uses the slogan “Leading Britain’s Conversation”. The station focuses on news and current affairs, featuring phone-in shows as well as interviews with politicians.
Website: lbc.co.uk

Magic 105.4 FM

Magic 105.4 FM is broadcast on FM in London and nationally via DAB. The station plays ‘adult contemporary’ music and is geared towards a similar audience to BBC Radio 2.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/magic

Planet Rock

Planet Rock is a digital-only station that plays classic rock. The station has featured some famous presenters including Alice Cooper, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.
Website: planetrock.co.uk

Premier Radio

Premier is a Christian radio station owned by the charity Premier Christian Media Trust. The station was founded in 1994 and was originally broadcast only to London, but is now available nationally on DAB radio. As well as Christian music, the station also broadcasts news and commentary from a Christian perspective.
Website: premierchristianradio.com

Premier Praise!

Premier Praise! is a sister station of Premier Radio. It was launched in 2016 and plays contemporary Christian pop and rock.
Website: premierpraise.com

Share Radio

Share Radio is the UK’s first radio station focused on business and finance. It became a national broadcaster in 2016, and covers topics such as investments, property, small business and banking.
Website: shareradio.co.uk

Smooth Extra

Smooth Radio is a network of local stations that broadcast ‘adult contemporary’ music. The network was launched in 2014, replacing Smooth Radio. As well as broadcasting locally on AM and FM, the network is also available on DAB radio.
Website: smoothradio.com

Sunrise Radio

Sunrise is an Asian music and news station that was first launched in 1989, making it the oldest station aimed specifically at Britain’s Asian community. Based in London, the station broadcasts nationally on DAB.
Website: sunriseradio.com

talkSPORT

talkSPORT is a commercial sports station that first aired in 1995 as Talk Radio UK. Since dropping non-sports content in 2012, the station has been the UK’s only national station to broadcast sports programming 24 hours a day.
Website: talksport.com

talkSPORT 2

talkSPORT 2 is a sister station of talkSPORT that was launched in March 2016 and formed part of Sound Digital’s bid for a second national commercial DAB multiplex. It is a 24-hour sports station with broadcasting rights to several major sporting events including the Aviva Premiership, the Indian Premier League, La Liga and the Champions League.

talkRADIO

talkRADIO is a sister station of talkSPORT. It broadcasts news, analysis and phone-in shows, with overnight programming taken from talkSPORT.
Website: talkradio.co.uk

UCB 1

UCB 1 is a national Christian radio station broadcast by United Christian Broadcasters (UCB), an international broadcasting and media group. UCB 1 combines news, contemporary Christian music, current affairs and interviews
Website: ucb.co.uk/listen.html

UCB 2

Like UCB 1, UCB 2 is broadcast by United Christian Broadcasters . UCB 2 broadcasts Christian teaching and easy-listening music.
Website: ucb.co.uk/listen/inspirational.html

Virgin Radio UK

Virgin Radio is a national commercial radio station that plays a mix of rock, pop and dance music. The station was originally launched in 1993 and was rebranded as Absolute radio in 2008 before being re-launched as Virgin Radio UK in 2016. It broadcasts via the Sound Digital DAB multiplex, reaching roughly 75% of the UK population.
Website: virginradio.co.uk

Radio X

Radio X is a commercial alternative music station that was originally known as Xfm before being rebranded as Radio X in 2015. Xfm was originally a London station before expanding to several other UK cities. Radio X now broadcasts nationally on DAB radio.
Website: radiox.co.uk

Semi-National Stations

These stations can either be received nationally via Freeview or they broadcast on more than one local DAB multiplex. Please note, we cannot guarantee this information is 100% complete or up to date.

Absolute Classic Rock

Absolute Classic Rock is part of the Absolute Radio network. It plays classic rock music and broadcasts to London and parts of the North of England.
Website: absoluteclassicrock.co.uk

Absolute Radio 60s

Absolute Radio 60s was launched in 2011 and is dedicated to playing popular music from the 1960s. The station is part of the Absolute Radio network and broadcasts to London, Scotland and the north and west of England.
Website: absoluteradio60s.co.uk

Absolute Radio 90s

Like Absolute Radio 60s, Absolute Radio 90s is an offshoot of Absolute Radio. It plays popular tracks from the 1990s and was launched in 2010. It is available in the greater London area as well as several other places in the UK.
Website: absoluteradio90s.co.uk

Absolute Radio 00s

Absolute Radio 00s plays music from the year 2000 to the present with a focus on alternative rock, pop and urban music.
Website: absoluteradio00s.co.uk

Chill

Chill is a station focusing on ambient, chill out and trip hop music with the aim of being relaxing. It broadcasts on DAB in London, Nottingham and Leicester. The station was launched in 2005 and is owned by Global Radio.
Website: helpmechill.com

Chris Country

Chris Country is a digital and online station that plays popular US country music. It broadcasts on DAB in London, Manchester, Portsmouth and Cambridge.
Website: chriscountry.co.uk

Encore Radio

Encore Radio plays songs from musicals and films. The station is available on DAB in London and the South East, and can also be listened to online.
Website: encoreradio.co.uk

Fun Kids

Fun Kids is a digital radio station for children. It was launched in 2005 as Fun Radio and broadcasts nationally via Sound Digital’s multiplex.
Website: funkidslive.com

Gold

Gold is a national network of radio station playing ‘golden oldies’. It first aired in 1988 as Capital Gold and was rebranded as Gold in 2007. In 2015 it expanded its DAB coverage to cover not only London, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire but also areas including Manchester, Birmingham, Reading, Cornwall and parts of Devon.
Website: mygoldmusic.co.uk

Heart

Heart is a network of 21 radio stations playing adult contemporary and romantic pop music. As well as broadcasting local FM stations, Heart broadcasts nationally on DAB.
Website: heart.co.uk

KissFresh

KissFresh is a sister station of Kiss that was first broadcast in 2013. It plays contemporary urban and electronic music including EDM, hip hop, garage and house.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/kiss-fresh

My Music Radio

My Music Radio plays hits from the 1960s, 70s and 80s that broadcasts online and on DAB to the south east, south west, North Yorkshire and Cambridge.
Website: mymusicradio.co.uk

Premier Gospel

Premier Gospel is a spin-off of Premier Christian Radio. It plays classic US gospel music as well as contemporary UK gospel.
Website: premiergospel.org.uk

Local Stations

These stations are only available locally or within limited regions of the UK. Please note, we cannot guarantee this information is 100% complete or up to date.

Local Radio Networks

Heart

Heart is a network of 21 local radio stations that play adult contemporary music. The first Heart station was launched in 1994 as 100.7 Heart FM, broadcasting to the West Midlands.
Website: heart.co.uk

Smooth Radio

Smooth Radio is a network of local radio stations that play adult contemporary music. The network broadcasts on AM and FM, and was launched on DAB in 2010.
Website: smoothradio.com


South-West England & Channel Islands

South West England

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

BBC Radio Bristol

BBC Radio Bristol serves the cities of Bath and Bristol, as well as the surrounding area. The station was first launched in 1970, and broadcasts from the BBC’s Broadcasting House building in Bristol.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiobristol

BBC Radio Devon

BBC Radio Devon is the BBC’s local station for the county of Devon. It was first broadcast on 17 January 1983, the same day as BBC Radio Cornwall. The station is broadcast from Broadcasting House in Plymouth and Pynes Hill in Exeter. It can be heard on FM, AM, DAB and online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiodevon

BBC Radio Cornwall

BBC Radio Cornwall is the BBC’s local radio station for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It was launched on 17 January 1983, the same day as BBC Radio Devon. The station is unique among local BBC stations in England in that it broadcasts some programmes in a language other than English—there is a short news bulletin in Cornish broadcast once a week.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiocornwall

BBC Radio Gloucestershire

BBC Radio Gloucestershire was launched in 1988 to provide a local station for the county of Gloucestershire. It broadcasts from Portland Court in Gloucester and can be heard on AM, FM and DAB radio, as well as online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiogloucestershire

BBC Radio Guernsey

BBC Radio Guernsey serves the Channel Island of Guernsey as well as the nearby islands of Alderney, Herm and Sark. The station was launched in 1982 as a limited hours service, but now produces 74 hours of local programming a week as well as providing online and TV services. Local programmes are mainly broadcast from St Sampson’s in Guernsey.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioguernsey

BBC Radio Jersey

BBC Radio Jersey broadcasts from Saint Helier on the Channel Island of Jersey. It was first broadcast on 1982, and can now be heard on FM, AM, DAB and the internet. The station broadcasts regional programming from BBC local radio stations in South West England during off-peak hours.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiojersey

BBC Somerset

BBC Somerset was launched in 1988 as BBC Somerset Sound and was originally broadcast as an ‘opt-out’ service from BBC Radio Bristol until it became an independent station in 2012. The station can be heard on FM, MW and DAB radio.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbcsomerset

BBC Wiltshire

BBC Wiltshire is the BBC’s local radio service for the county of Wiltshire. It was launched in 1989 and broadcasts from Swindon on FM, DAB, Freeview and the internet. The station was originally named BBC Wiltshire Sound for copyright reasons, but was rebranded as BBC Wiltshire for the its 20th anniversary in 2009.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbcwiltshire

Fire Radio

Fire Radio is a local radio station that broadcasts to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. The station was launched in 1999 as NRG FM 107.6 but changed its name in 2000 to Fire Radio. The station plays chart hits from the 1990s to today and can be heard on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: fireradio.co.uk


South-East England

South East England

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

BBC Radio Berkshire

BBC Radio Berkshire serves the county of Berkshire as well as North Hampshire and South Oxfordshire. It broadcasts from Reading and is available on FM, DAB, Freeview and online. The station launched in 1992 as a sister station of BBC Radio Oxford. In 1996 it merged with BBC Radio Oxford to become BBC Thames Valley FM, but the two stations became separate again in 2000.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioberkshire

BBC Radio Kent

BBC Radio Kent is the BBC’s local service for the county of Kent. It first aired in 1970 and now broadcasts on FM, AM and DAB to Kent and parts of London.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiokent

BBC Radio Oxford

BBC Radio Oxford is the BBC’s local radio service for Oxfordshire. It was first launched in 1970 and now broadcasts from Oxford on FM, DAB and the internet. As well as live local programming, the station also carries regional programming from local BBC station in the South and South East of England.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiooxford

BBC Radio Solent

BBC Radio Solent is the BBC’s local radio station for Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It was launched in 1970 and broadcasts from Havelock Road in Southampton. The station can be heard on FM, DAB and Freeview.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiosolent

BBC Surrey

BBC Surrey is the BBC’s local radio station for the county of Surry, though it can also be heard in parts of Hampshire and West Sussex. The station first aired in 1991 as BBC Radio Surrey, briefly becoming known as BBC Southern Counties Radio before taking its current name in 2009. The station can be heard on AM, FM, DAB, Freeview and online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbcsurrey

BBC Sussex

BBC Sussex is the BBC’s local radio service for the county of Sussex. The station started life in 1968 as BBC Radio Brighton, and merged with BBC Southern Counties Radio before taking its current name in 2009. The station can be heard on AM, FM, DAB, Freeview and online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbcsussex

BBC Three Counties Radio

BBC Three Counties Radio is the BBC’s local radio station for the counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. The station has been broadcasting since 1985. It broadcasts from Dunstable and can be heard on FM, MW and DAB as well as online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/threecountiesradio

BFBS Brize Norton

BFBS Brize Norton is an RAF radio station that broadcasts in Oxfordshire on DAB. It first broadcast in 2014 and is operated by the British Forces Broadcasting Services (BFBS). The station serves Oxfordshire’s military community with music, information and local news.
Website: bfbs.com/radio/online/brize-norton.html

BOB fm

Bob fm started life as Radio Hertford in 1998 before being rebranded as Jack FM in 2010 and Bob fm in 2014. It broadcasts to Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire on DAB radio, with studios in Knebworth Park.
Bob fm: bobfm.co.uk

Eagle Radio

Eagle Radio is a local radio station for Surrey and parts of Hampshire. The station has been on the air since 1996 and is owned by UKRD Group. Eagle Radio was originally known as 96.4 The Eagle before changing its name to 96.4 Eagle Radio and then simply Eagle Radio. The station is available on FM, DAB radio and online.
Website: 964eagle.co.uk

Eagle 3

Eagle 3 is a local station serving Surrey and Hampshire. The station plays chart hits as well as new music and emerging local artists. Eagle 3 can be heard on DAB radio and online.
Website: eagle3.co.uk

Juice 107.2

Juice 107.2 is a local radio station broadcasting from Brighton to Sussex on DAB radio. The station plays a mix of contemporary chart music with hits from the 90s and 00s. The station was first broadcast in 1997 as Surf 107.
Website: juicebrighton.com

KMFM

KMFM is a network of seven local FM radio stations and one digital station (KMFM Extra) in Kent. Each station broadcasts to a region of Kent. The stations play top 40 hits as well as local news. KMFM’s DAB station, KMFM Extra, has been on the air since 2004.
Website: kmfm.co.uk

Panjab Radio

Panjab Radio serves the Punjab community in the UK. It broadcasts from Hayes in Middlesex on AM, DAB and the internet.
Website: panjabradio.co.uk


Greater London

Greater London

ABN Radio

ABN Radio is a London-based radio station aimed at people of African-Caribbean heritage. IT broadcasts to London on DAB and worldwide via the internet.
Website: abnradiouk.com

Absolute Radio 70s

Owned by Absolute Radio, Absolute Radio 70s was launched in 2011 and broadcasts to Greater London on DAB. The station is focused on music from the 1970s, and was the first station in the UK to be dedicated to music from the decade, though it was soon joined by Smooth 70s.
Website: absoluteradio70s.co.uk

BBC Radio London

BBC Radio London is the BBC’s local radio station for London. It broadcasts on FM, DAB, Virgin Media and Sky television, Freeview and online. The station was launched in 1970 as part of the second wave of local radio stations rolled out by the BBC.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiolondon

Bloomberg Radio

Bloomberg Radio is a business and financial news radio station that launched on DAB in London in 2016. The station re-broadcasts audio from Bloomberg television programmes with a small amount of original programming.
Website: bloomberg.com/audio

Capital London

Part of the Capital network, Capital London is a chart hit station broadcasting to Greater London on FM and DAB radio. Launched in 1973, Capital London was one of the UK’s first commercial radio stations.
Website: capitalfm.com/london

The Arrow

The Arrow is a digital-only radio station that plays contemporary and classic rock. It is owned by Global and can be heard on DAB in London or online around the world.
Website: thearrow.co.uk

Capital XTRA

Capital XTRA is an urban music station broadcasting in London on FM, DAB, digital television and the internet.
Website: capitalxtra.com

Golden Radio

Golden Radio is a local radio station in London that plays classic hits as well as Rock ’n’ Roll and garage.
Website: goldenradio.london

Jazz FM

Jazz FM is a jazz music station based in London. The station’s roots go back to 102.2 Jazz FM, which first aired in 1990. Jazz FM itself was launched in 2008, and can now be heard on DAB in Greater London and on DAB+ across the UK. The station can also be heard on Sky television and the internet.
Website: jazzfm.com

Kerrang! Radio

Kerrang! Radio is a rock music station that broadcasts to London on DAB and is also available across the UK on Freeview and online. Kerrang! Radio launched in 2002 on Freeview, with a DAB service launched a year later. The station is affiliated with Kerrang! magazine and plays a mixture of alternative rock, metal and punk.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/kerrang

LBC London News

LBC London News is the only local rolling news radio station in London. It is a sister station of the national radio station LBC, and is owned by Global. LBC London News first aired in 1994 and can be heard on DAB radio, AM and online.
Website: lbc.co.uk

Lyca Radio 1458

Lyca Radio 1458 is an Asian music station that broadcasts to Greater London on DAB, AM and the internet. As well as playing popular Asian music, the station also broadcasts sports and entertainment news.
Website: lycaradio.com

Lyca Dilse 1035

Lyca Dilse 1035 is a sister station of Lyca Radio 1458. It broadcasts a mix of conversation and Asian music and can be heard in Greater London on DAB radio and online.
Website: lycadilse.com

Magic 105.4 FM

Magic 105.4 FM is an adult contemporary radio station owned by Bauer Radio. It broadcasts to Greater London on FM and DAB, and can also be listened to online. The station launched in 1990 as Melody FM.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/magic

Matryoshka Radio London

Launched in 2015, Matryoshka Radio London is the UK’s first Russian-language radio station. It broadcasts entertainment programmes on DAB radio in London. The name ‘Matryoshka’ is the Russian word for what is commonly known as a Russian doll.
Website: matryoshka.fm/en

Polish Radio London

Polish Radio London is a digital radio station for London’s Polish community. The station was launched in 2006 and can be heard on DAB radio and the internet. Polish Radio Station plays a mix of English and Polish-language popular music. The station partners with Cooltura, a free weekly Polish-language magazine.
Website: prl24.net

Spectrum Radio

Spectrum Radio is a London-based radio station that aims to serve several ethnic minorities with programmes in a number of different languages. The station airs on AM, DAB and Sky television, and can also be heard online.
Website: spectrumradio.net

Voice of Islam Radio

Voice of Islam is a religious radio station available in London on DAB and worldwide on the internet. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day and features news, analysis and discussion from an Islamic perspective.
Website: voiceofislam.co.uk

The Wireless

The Wireless is a radio station aimed at older people that was launched by Age UK in 2012. The station broadcasts on DAB in London and Yorkshire, and can be heard across the world online. The station features music, interviews and real-life stories.
Website: thewirelessradio.com


East of England

East of England

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire is the BBC’s local station for the county of Cambridgeshire. It was launched in 1982 and broadcasts from Cambridge Business Park on Cowley Road, Cambridge. The station is available on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiocambridgeshire

BBC Essex

BBC Essex was launched in 1986 to provide a local radio service for the county of Essex. Most BBC local radio stations follow the naming convention BBC Radio ____, but BBC Essex broke this convention to prevent it being confused with Essex Radio, a local commercial station that has now become Heart Essex. BBC Essex broadcasts from Chelmsford and can be heard on FM, AM, DAB and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbcessex

BBC Radio Norfolk

BBC Radio Norfolk is the BBC’s local radio station for the county of Norfolk. It was first broadcast in 1980 and currently broadcasts from The Forum in Norwich. The station can be heard on FM, DAB and online. BBC Radio Norfolk is one of the BBC’s most listened-to local radio stations.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radionorfolk

BBC Radio Suffolk

BBC Radio Suffolk is the BBC’s local radio station for the county of Suffolk. It was launched in 1990 and broadcasts from Broadcasting House in Ipswich. The station can be heard on FM, DAB, the internet and Freeview.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiosuffolk

Radio Essex

Radio Essex is a local radio station that broadcasts from Southend to mid and south Essex. The station was formed in 2015 when Chelmer FM and Southend Radio merged into a single station. Radio Essex plays adult contemporary music and can be heard on FM, the internet and DAB radio.
Website: radioessex.com

Suffolk First

Suffolk First is a digital radio station broadcasting local information for the county of Suffolk on DAB and the internet. The station also plays country and other kinds of music. The station is fully automated, with no live presenters, and is operated by Lincs FM Group.
Website: suffolkfirst.co.uk


West Midlands

West Midlands

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire serves the county of Warwickshire as well as the city of Coventry. The station was first launched in 1990, but closed in 1995 before being re-launched in 2005. It broadcasts online, on FM and on DAB radio.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbccoventryandwarwickshire

BBC Hereford and Worcester

BBC Hereford and Worcester is the BBC’s local radio service station for the counties of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. It has studios in Hereford and Worcester, and broadcasts on FM, AM and DAB. The station broadcasts local programming as well as music in a range of genres.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbcherefordandworcester

BBC Radio Shropshire

BBC Radio Shropshire is the BBC’s local radio station for the county of Shropshire. It was first broadcast in 1985 and now broadcasts from Shrewsbury on FM, online and on DAB radio.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioshropshire

BBC Radio Stoke

BBC Radio Stoke is the BBC’s local radio station for the city of Stoke-on-Trent and surrounding areas in Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire. The station launched in 1968 as BBC Radio Stoke-on-Trent and currently broadcasts from Cheapside in Hanley on FM, MW and DAB as well as online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiostoke

BBC WM

BBC WM is the BBC’s local radio station for the West Midlands as including Birmingham and parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The station was launched in 1970 and broadcasts from Birmingham on FM, DAB, Freeview and online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/wm

Free Radio Birmingham

The station first aired on 19 February, 1974, making it the fourth commercial independent local radio station to broadcast in the UK. Free Radio Birmingham plays a mix of contemporary chart music and classic hits as well as local news. The station is owned by Bauer Radio and broadcasts on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: freeradio.co.uk/birmingham

Free Radio 80s

Free Radio 80s is a local radio station that broadcasts on MW and DAB to Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country. The station plays hits from the 1980s as well as local news and sports information. Free Radio 80s is owned by Bauer Radio and first aired in 2012.
Website: freeradio.co.uk/80s

Like Radio

Like Radio is a local radio station for Worcestershire and Herefordshire that launched in December, 2015. Like Radio is a digital-only music station that broadcasts on DAB from Faraday Road in Hereford.
Website: likeradiouk.com

Radio XL

Radio XL is a local Asian radio station broadcasting from Birmingham to the West Midlands on MW and DAB. Programming is mainly in Hindi and English, though some programmes are broadcast in other languages including Urdu, Gujarati and Bengali. Radio XL
Website: radioxl.net

Signal 1

Signal 1 is a local radio station that broadcasts from Stoke-on-Trent to Staffordshire and parts of Cheshire. The station launched in 1983 and is owned by Wireless Group. Signal 1 mainly plays contemporary pop music with regular news updates.
Website: signal1.co.uk

Signal 2

Signal 2 is a sister station of Signal 1 that broadcasts on AM and DAB from Stoke-on-Trent. The station plays adult contemporary music.
Website: signal2.co.uk

Signal 107

Signal 107 is a local radio station for Wolverhampton and the surrounding area. The station is owned by Wireless Group and first aired in 2012. Signal 107 plays contemporary pop music and also broadcasts news and sport updates.
Website: signal107.co.uk

Sunshine Radio

Sunshine Radio is a local radio station broadcasting from Hereford to Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. The station first aired in 2007 and is owned by Murfin Music International. Sunshine Radio plays a range of popular music from the last four decades and broadcasts on FM, AM and DAB.
Website: sunshineradio.co.uk


East Midlands

East Midlands

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire (except North and North east Lincolnshire), Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

BBC Radio Derby

BBC Radio Derby was first broadcast in 1971. It is the BBC’s local radio station for Derbyshire, and can also be heard in parts of Staffordshire. The station broadcasts from Derby on FM and AM as well as on DAB radio from the NOW Derbyshire DAB Multiplex.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioderby

BBC Radio Leicester

BBC Radio Leicester is the BBC’s local radio station for Leicestershire and Rutland, and broadcasts on FM, DAB and the internet. The station was first launched on 8 November 1967, making it the BBC’s first local radio station. BBC Radio Leicester broadcasts from the BBC’s studios in St Nicholas Place, Leicester.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioleicester

BBC Radio Lincolnshire

BBC Radio Lincolnshire is the BBC’s local radio station for most of Lincolnshire (the north of the county is served by BBC Radio Humberside). The station broadcasts from Lincoln and first aired in 1980.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiolincolnshire

BBC Radio Northampton

BBC Radio Northampton is the BBC’s local radio station serving the county of Northamptonshire. The station was launched in 1982 and currently broadcasts from Broadcasting House in Northampton. The station can be heard on FM and DAB as well as online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radionorthampton

BBC Radio Nottingham

BBC Radio Nottingham is the BBC’s local radio station for Nottinghamshire. It was launched in 1968 and currently broadcasts from London Road in Nottingham. The station can be heard on FM, DAB, AM and online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radionottingham

Compass FM

Compass FM is a local radio station that broadcasts in Grimsby, Cleethorpes and the surrounding area. The station first aired in 2001 and is owned by the Lincs FM Group.
Website: compassfm.co.uk

Connect FM

Connect FM is a local radio station service Northamptonshire. The station is based in Kettering and first aired in 1990. Connect FM is available on FM, DAB and the internet, and plays a variety of popular music from the 1970s to the present day.
Website: connectfm.com

Gem 106

Gem 106 is a regional station that broadcasts to the East Midlands. The station was first launched in 1997 as Radio 106 before changing its name several times and re-launching as Gem 106 in 2011. Gem 106 plays popular chart hits and can be heard on FM, DAB and online.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/gem-106

Hindu Sanskar Radio

Hindu Sanskar Radio is a Hindu DAB radio station that broadcasts from Leicester. The station is run by volunteers and has links with Sabras Radio, another Midlands Asian radio station.
Website: sanskarradio.com

Lincs FM

Lincs FM is a local radio station for Lincolnshire, Newark and the Humber region. Lincs FM plays classic and contemporary hits and broadcasts from Witham Park in Lincoln. The station was launched in 1992 and can be heard on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: lincsfm.co.uk

Sabras Sound

Sabras Radio is an Asian local radio station broadcasting on AM and DAB radio from Leicester. Programming is in a variety of languages including English, Hindi and Bengali. The station was launched in 1994, though the team behind the station first broadcast programmes on a local BBC radio station in 1976.
Website: sabrasradio.com


North West

North West England

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

2BR

2BR, or Two Boroughs Radio, is a local radio station broadcasting from Clayton-le-Moors to the Burnley and Pendle areas of Lancashire. The station was launched in 2000 and mainly plays contemporary hits. The station can be heard on FM and online, and has been on DAB since 2016.
Website: 2br.co.uk

Asian Sound

Asian Sound Radio broadcasts from Manchester and is aimed at the Asian community in North West England. It is the only 24-hour commercial station in the region dedicated to people of Asian heritage. As well as English, the station also features content in Urdu, Bengali, Pashto, Punjabi and Gujarati.
Website: asiansoundradio.co.uk

BBC Radio Lancashire

BBC Radio Lancashire is the BBC’s local radio station for the county of Lancashire. The station first aired in 1971 and broadcasts from Blackburn and can be heard on FM, AM, DAB, Freeview and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiolancashire

BBC Radio Manchester

BBC Radio Manchester is the BBC’s local radio service for Manchester and the surrounding area including parts of Cheshire. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day from MediaCityUK in Salford. The station launched in 1970, making it Manchester’s first local radio station.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiomanchester

BBC Radio Merseyside

BBC Radio Merseyside is the BBC’s local radio station for Merseyside, serving the city of Liverpool and the surrounding area. It was first launched on 22 November 1967, making it the BBC’s third local radio station.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiomerseyside/

Cheesy FM

Cheesy FM describes itself as “the home of great cheesy pop”. The station plays pop and dance music from the 1970s to today. The station was launched in 2016 by Andrew Peacock as an online radio station. The station was originally run for fun, but turned into a viable business. The station is available online and on DAB in Liverpool, North East Wales and West Cheshire.
Website: cheesy-fm.com

Dee 106.3

Dee 106.3 is a local radio station serving Chester and the surrounding area. The station first aired in 2003 and can be heard on FM, DAB and online. Dee 106.3 mainly plays chart hits and other popular music. The DAB version is known as Dee on DAB and has slightly different programming.
Website: dee1063.com

Key 103

Key 103 is a local radio station broadcasting to Manchester. It is owned by Bauer Radio and has been on the air since 1974 when it was known as Piccadilly Radio. The station plays current chart hits as well as pop music from the last few decades. The station can be heard on FM, DAB and online.
Website: radioplayer.key103.co.uk/live

Key 2

Key 2 is a sister station of Key 103 and broadcasts to Manchester on MW and DAB radio. The station is part of Bauer Radio’s City 2 network of local radio stations playing oldies music.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/key-2

Key 3

Key 3 is a local radio station that plays top 40 chart music and broadcasts to Greater Manchester. It is a sister station of Key 103 and Key 2 and is part of the Bauer City 3 network of contemporary pop music stations. The station first aired in 2015 and can be heard on DAB and the internet.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/key-3

Love 80s

Love 80s is a local radio station playing exclusively music from the 1980s and broadcasting to Manchester and Liverpool. The station can be heard online or on DAB radio. The station is owned by Dee Radio and was launched in August, 2016.
Website: love80sradio.co.uk

Radio City Talk

Radio City Talk is a local radio station in Liverpool. It launched in 2008 and shares studios with its sister stations, Radio City and Radio City 2. The station is owned by Bauer Radio can be heard on AM, DAB radio and online.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/city-talk

Radio City

Radio City is a local radio station in Liverpool that is operated by Bauer Radio. It can be heard in Merseyside, North Wales and Cheshire on FM and DAB. The station has been on air since 1974 and plays classic hits as well as news and sports bulletins.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/city

Radio City 2

Radio City 2 is a local oldies/classic hits station for Liverpool and the surrounding area. The station is owned and operated by Bauer Radio and is available on FM, DAB and online.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/city-2

Radio City 3

Radio City 3 is a chart pop station based in Liverpool that broadcasts to the city and its surroundings on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/city-3

Rock FM

Rock FM is a local radio station broadcasting from Preston to Lancashire and other parts of North West England and North Wales. The station is owned by Bauer Radio and mainly plays current pop music and chart hits. The station first aired in 1982 and can be heard on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: rockfm.co.uk

Rock FM 2

Rock FM 2 is an AM sister station of Rock FM that also broadcasts on DAB. The station broadcasts from Preston to Lancashire and the surrounding area. Rock FM 2 first broadcast in 1982.
Website: rockfm2.co.uk

Rock FM 3

Rock FM 3 is a digital-only local radio station broadcasting to Lancashire. It is a sister station of Rock FM and is owned by Bauer Radio.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/rock-fm-3

Sandgrounder Radio

Sandgrounder Radio is a local radio station based in Southport, Merseyside. The station started broadcasting on DAB in 2016 and features a variety of music from the 1960s to the present day plus local news and sport items.
Website: sandgrounderradio.co.uk


Yorkshire and the Humber

Yorkshire and the Humber

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire including Hull, North Yorkshire and York, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.

BBC Radio Humberside

BBC Radio Humberside is the BBC’s local station for Humberside, North Lincolnshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. It was first broadcast in 1971 and can be heard on FM, the internet and DAB radio.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiohumberside

BBC Radio Leeds

BBC Radio Leeds was first broadcast in 1968. The station serves the city of Leeds as well as the surrounding area. On DAB, the station is carried on the Bauer Leeds DAB multiplex and the Bradford & Huddersfield Multiplex. The station can also be heard on FM, Freeview and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioleeds

BBC Radio Sheffield

BBC Radio Sheffield is the BBC’s local radio station for Sheffield, South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. It was first broadcast on 15 November 1967, making it the BBC’s second local radio station. The station broadcasts from Shoreham Street in Sheffield and can be heard on FM, AM and DAB as well as online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiosheffield

BBC Radio York

BBC Radio York is the BBC’s local radio station for the city of York and the surrounding county of North Yorkshire. The station was founded in 1983 and broadcasts on FM, MW, DAB and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioyork

Coast and County Radio

Coast and County Radio is an independent local radio station for North Yorkshire broadcasting from Scarborough. The station is available on DAB radio as well as online.
Website: coastandcountyradio.co.uk

Hallam FM

Hallam FM is a Sheffield-based local radio station that broadcasts to South Yorkshire on FM and DAB. The station first aired in 1974 and is now owned by Bauer Radio. Hallam FM plays adult contemporary music and also broadcasts local news and traffic updates.
Website: hallamfm.co.uk

Hallam 2

Hallam 2 is a sister station of Hallam FM that plays oldies music. It is owned by Bauer Radio and broadcasts from Sheffield to South Yorkshire and the North Midlands. Hallam 2 can be heard on MW, DAB and the internet.
Website: hallam2.co.uk

Hallam 3

Hallam 3 is part of the Bauer City 3 network of local pop music radio stations owned by Bauer Radio. The radio station broadcasts to Sheffield, South Yorkshire and the North Midlands on DAB radio.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/hallam-3

KCFM

KCFM is a local radio station that is owned by Lincs FM Group and broadcasts to Hull in East Yorkshire. The station first aired on FM in 2007 and has been broadcasting on DAB since 2016. KCFM plays popular music from the 1960s to today.
Website: kcfm.co.uk

Minster FM

Minster FM is an independent local radio station for York and North Yorkshire. The station was launched in 1992 and now broadcasts on FM, DAB and the internet. It plays contemporary hits.
Website: minsterfm.com

Pulse 1

Pulse 1 is a local radio station broadcasting to Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire. The station is owned by Wireless Group and was launched in 1975 when it was known as Pennine Radio. Pulse 1 plays contemporary popular music with regular news and sports updates. The station can be heard on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: pulse1.co.uk

Pulse 2

Pulse 2 is a sister station of Pulse 1 that plays classic hits. It first aired on 1989 and broadcasts on AM and DAB to Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
Website: pulse2.co.uk

Radio Aire

Radio Aire is a local radio station that broadcasts to Leeds and West Yorkshire. The station was launched in 1981 and is owned and managed by Bauer Radio. The station plays contemporary popular music with regular news bulletins.
Website: radioaire.co.uk

Radio Aire 2

Radio Aire 2 is a sister station of Radio Aire and plays older hits in contrast to Radio Aire’s focus on current chart music. The station was formed in 1990 when Radio Aire split its AM and FM broadcasts, making Radio Aire 2 was the AM service. The station is now available on DAB and the internet as well as AM.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/aire-2

Radio Yorkshire

Radio Yorkshire is a local radio station broadcasting to Yorkshire from Leeds. The station launched in 2014 and was founded by former Leeds United chairman Ken Bates. Radio Yorkshire plays popular music from the 1960s to the present, and broadcasts on DAB and online.
Website: radioyorkshire.co.uk

Stray FM

Stray FM is a local radio station broadcasting from Harrogate to the surrounding area of North Yorkshire. The station was launched on 1994 and plays a variety of music as well as airing programmes covering local news and local interest stories.
Website: strayfm.com

Sunrise Radio

Sunrise Radio is an Asian music station broadcasting from Bradford, Yorkshire. The station plays Bollywood hits and other South Asian popular music. The station broadcasts on DAB to West Yorkshire, Manchester and Glasgow, and can also be listened to online.
Website: sunriseradio.fm

Trax FM

Trax FM is a local radio station broadcasting to Doncaster and Bassetlaw on FM and DAB. The station is run by Lincs FM Group and has been on the air since 1998. Trax FM mainly plays contemporary hits.
Website: traxfm.co.uk

Viking FM

Viking FM is a local radio station broadcasting from Hull to East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. The station is owned by Bauer Radio and is part of the company’s City 1 network of contemporary hit stations. The station was launched in 1984 and broadcasts on FM, DAB and online.
Website: vikingfm.co.uk

Viking 2

Viking 2 is the AM sister station of Viking FM broadcasting to East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. The station was launched in 1988 and now broadcasts on DAB in addition to MW. The station plays popular music from the 1960s to 1980s.
Website: viking2.co.uk

Viking 3

Viking 3 is the digital-only sister station of Viking FM broadcasting from Hull to Humberside and North Lincolnshire. The station plays contemporary hits and can be heard on DAB radio or online.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/viking-3

Yorkshire Coast Radio

Yorkshire Coast Radio is a group of local radio stations broadcasting to the towns of Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast. The station first aired in 1993 and is available on FM and DAB radio.
Website: yorkshirecoastradio.com


North East

North East England

These stations broadcast to some or all of the area covering Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and the Tees Valley.

BBC Newcastle

BBC Newcastle is the BBC’s local radio station for Newcastle and the Tyne and Wear area. The station was first broadcast in 1971 and can be heard on DAB, FM, AM and online. The station broadcasts from Barrack Road in Newcastle.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbcnewcastle

BBC Tees

BBC Tees is the BBC’s local radio station for Teesside, County Durham and parts of North Yorkshire. The station was first broadcast in 1970 and broadcasts from Middlesbrough on FM, DAB and online.
Website: bbc.co.uk/bbctees

Metro Radio

Metro Radio is a local radio station for the North East that broadcasts from Newcastle. The station is owned by Bauer Radio and is part of the company’s City 1 network of local radio stations. Metro Radio broadcasts on FM, DAB and the internet, and plays popular hits. The station launched in 1974.
Website: metroradio.co.uk

Metro 2 Radio

Metro 2 Radio is a sister station of Metro Radio broadcasting from Newcastle to the Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear region. The station broadcasts on AM, DAB and the internet and plays oldies.
Website: metroradio2.co.uk

Metro 3 Radio

Metro 3 Radio is a sister station of Metro Radio and is owned by Bauer Radio. It is a contemporary hits station that broadcasts on DAB and the internet.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/metro-3

TFM

TFM is a local radio station broadcasting to County Durham, the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire. The station is owned by Bauer Radio and can be heard on FM, DAB and online. TFM was launched in 1975 as Radio Tees. The station plays contemporary hits and also broadcasts news and sport updates.
Website: tfmradio.co.uk

TFM 2

TFM 2 is the AM sister station of TFM broadcasting to County Durham, the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire. The station plays oldies music and also broadcasts online and on DAB radio.
Websites: tfm2.co.uk

TFM 3

TFM 3 is a sister station of TFM broadcasting to the Tees Valley, County Durham and North Yorkshire. The station plays hits and is aimed at a younger audience.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/tfm-3


Wales

Wales

BBC Radio Cymru

BBC Radio Cymru is a Welsh-language radio station that broadcasts throughout Wales. The station first aired in 1977 and currently broadcasts from studios in Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen and Bangor. The station was a pioneer of FM, being the only FM-only radio station in the UK when it was launched. BBC Radio Cymru is now available on DAB, Freeview, satellite television and the internet in addition to FM.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiocymru

BBC Radio Wales

BBC Radio Wales is the BBC’s English-language radio station for Wales. It first broadcast in 1979 and is closely tied with its sister station, Welsh-language BBC Radio Cymru. The station is available on FM, DAB, Freeview and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiowales

Bridge FM

Bridge FM is a local radio station broadcasting to Bridgend and the surrounding area on FM and DAB radio. The station launched in 2000 and is owned by Nation Broadcasting. Bridge FM mainly plays chart music from the 1980s to today.
Website: bridgefm.wales

Capital Cymru

Capital Cymru is a bilingual English/Welsh-language station that broadcasts to Gwynedd and Anglesey. The station plays a mixture of popular music, news and entertainment programmes. Capital Cymru was first broadcast in 1998 and can currently be heard on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: capitalfm.com/cymru

Capital North West and Wales

Capital North West and Wales is a local radio station broadcasting from Wrexham to North Wales, Cheshire and the Wirral Peninsula. The station plays contemporary popular music and broadcasts on FM and DAB radio. It is part of the Capital network of radio stations which is owned by Global Radio.
Website: capitalfm.com/walescoast

Capital South Wales

Capital South Wales is a local radio station broadcasting to Cardiff, Newport and nearby areas of South Wales. The station was launched in 1985 as CBC (Cardiff Broadcasting Company). It was known as Red Dragon from 1985 to 2011 when it joined the Capital network of radio stations. Capital South Wales mainly plays contemporary hits and broadcasts on FM and DAB radio.
Website: capitalfm.com/southwales

Radio Carmarthenshire

Radio Carmarthenshire is a local radio station broadcasting to Carmarthenshire. The station plays Top 40 hits from recent decades as well as local news and some Welsh-language programming. The station first aired in 2004 and can be heard on FM, DAB and the internet.
Website: radiocarmarthenshire.wales

Dragon Radio

Dragon Radio is an adult contemporary local radio station mainly broadcasting music from the 1970s to the 1990s. The station was launched on DAB in 2016 and is available across most of Wales.
Website: dragonradio.wales

Nation Radio

Nation Radio is a radio station broadcasting from Cowbridge to West and North East Wales on DAB and South Wales on FM. The station is owned by Nation Broadcasting and plays a mix of guitar music and contemporary pop music.
Website: nationradio.wales

Radio Pembrokeshire

Radio Pembrokeshire is a local radio station broadcasting on FM and DAB to Pembrokeshire. Its studios are in Narberth and the station mainly plays popular hits from the 1980s to the 2010s as well as local travel information and news.
Website: radiopembrokeshire.wales

Smooth Radio

Smooth Radio operates two radio stations for Wales: Smooth Radio North Wales and Smooth Radio South Wales. Both can be heard on DAB or FM as well as online and on digital television. The stations play adult contemporary music and hits from recent decades.
Website (South Wales): smoothradio.com/southwales
Website (North Wales): smoothradio.com/northwales

Swansea Bay Radio

Swansea Bay Radio is a local radio station broadcasting to Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and surrounding areas in South Wales. The station first aired in 2006 and plays a mix of popular music from the 1980s to today. The station is available on FM, DAB radio and the internet.
Website: swanseabayradio.wales

Swansea Sound

Swansea Sound is a local radio station broadcasting to Swansea and nearby areas in South Wales. The station first aired in September 1974, making it Wales’s oldest commercial radio station. Swansea Sound plays popular hits from recent decades and can be heard on MW, DAB and the internet.
Website: swanseasound.co.uk

The Wave

The Wave is a local radio station broadcasting on 96.4 FM to Swansea and nearby areas of South Wales, as well as on DAB digital radio and the internet. The station was launched in 1995 as 96.4 Sound Wave, taking the name The Wave in 1998. The station mainly plays Top 40 hits from the recent decades and today.
Website: thewave.co.uk


Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

BBC Radio Foyle

BBC Radio Foyle is the BBC’s local radio station for County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. The name comes from the River Foyle which runs through the city of Derry/Londonderry from where the station broadcasts. The station can be heard on FM, AM, DAB and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radiofoyle

BBC Radio Ulster

BBC Radio Ulster is one of the BBC’s two local radio stations for Northern Ireland along with Radio Foyle. The station broadcasts from Belfast and is Northern Ireland’s most popular radio station with a variety of programming including news, music, documentaries and sport. The station was founded in 1975 and is now available on FM, MW, DAB, digital television and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioulster

Cool FM

Cool FM is a local radio station broadcasting from Newtownards in Northern Ireland. The station mainly plays Top 40 hits and broadcasts on FM and DAB radio. Cool FM was launched in 1990 and is owned by Global Radio.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/cool-fm

Downtown Country

Downtown Country is a country music radio station broadcasting to Northern Ireland from Newtownards on DAB radio.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/downtown-country


Scotland

Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland is the BBC’s national radio station for Scotland. It was preceded by a BBC Radio 4 opt-out service until the station was established in its own right in 1978. The station broadcasts from Glasgow on FM, AM, DAB, digital television and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioscotland

BBC Radio Orkney

BBC Radio Orkney is an opt-out service of BBC Radio Scotland available in the Orkney Islands. It is based in Kirkwall and broadcasts local news programmes as well as music programmes. The service first aired in 1977.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioscotland/programmes/schedules/orkney

BBC Radio Shetland

BBC Radio Shetland is a local opt-out service that can be heard in place of BBC Radio Scotland at various times during the week. It broadcasts to the Shetland Islands from Lerwick. The service was launched in 1977.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radioscotland/programmes/schedules/shetland

BBC Radio nan Gàidheal

BBC Radio nan Gàidheal is a radio station that broadcasts a range of programming in Scottish Gaelic. The station is replaced by BBC Radio Scotland in off-peak hours. The station first aired in 1985 and is now available on FM, DAB, Freeview and the internet.
Website: bbc.co.uk/radionangaidheal

Capital Scotland

Capital Scotland is a regional radio station broadcasting to Scotland’s Central Belt including Edinburgh and Glasgow. The station plays popular contemporary music and broadcasts on FM and DAB as well as the internet. Capital Scotland first aired as Beat 106 in 1999 and is now owned by Global Radio.
Website: capitalfm.com/scotland

Central 103.1 FM

Central 103.1 FM is a local radio station broadcasting to Falkirk, Stirling and the Forth Valley area. The station first aired in 1990 and broadcasts on FM and DAB radio.
Website: http://www.centralfm.co.uk/

Clyde 1

Clyde 1 is a local radio station broadcasting to Glasgow and West Central Scotland. The station was launched in 1973 and broadcasts on FM and DAB. Clyde 1 mainly plays contemporary hits and chart music.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/clyde

Clyde 2

Clyde 2 is a sister station of Clyde 1 that plays easy listening music and classic hits. The station broadcasts on AM and DAB.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/clyde-2

Clyde 3

Clyde 3 is a digital-only sister station of Clyde 1 and Clyde 2 that broadcasts to Glasgow and the surrounding area on DAB radio. The station launched in 2015 as a local version of The Hits.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/clyde-3

Forth 1

Forth 1 is a local radio station broadcasting to Fife and Lothian from Edinburgh. The station can be heard on FM, DAB and online. Forth 1 mainly plays Top 40 hits as well as popular music from recent decades. The station was launched in 1975 and is now owned by Bauer Radio.
Website: forth1.com

Forth 2

Forth 2 is the AM sister station of Forth 1 that also broadcasts on DAB radio. It can be heard in Edinburgh, Lothian and Fife and plays adult contemporary music.
Website: forth2.com

Forth 3

Forth 3 is a digital-only radio station broadcasting to Fife, Lothian and Edinburgh. It is a sister station of Forth 1 and Forth 2.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/forth-3

MFR

MFR, or Moray Firth Radio, is a collection of local radio stations broadcasting to Moray, the Scottish Highlands and the Orkney Islands. The station first aired in 1982 and can be heard on FM, DAB and the internet. MFR mainly plays contemporary hits and also broadcasts news and sport updates.
Website: mfr.co.uk

MFR 2

MFR 2 is a sister station of MFR that broadcasts to Moray, the Scottish Highlands and the Orkney Islands. It is broadcast on AM and DAB and mainly carries programming from the Bauer’s Greatest Hits Network alongside local news, traffic and sports coverage.
Website: radioplayer.mfr2.co.uk/live

MFR 3

MFR 3 is a sister station of MFR. It broadcasts programming Bauer Radio’s The Hits network to Moray, the Orkney Islands and the Scottish Highlands.
Website: radioplayer.mfr.co.uk/live

NECR

NECR (North East Community Radio) is a local radio station broadcasting from Kintore, Aberdeenshire. The station first aired in 1994 and serves North Eastern Scotland. It mainly plays popular hits from the last 50 years.
Website: necrfm.co.uk

Northsound 1

Northsound 1 is a local radio station broadcasting from Aberdeen to north eastern Scotland. The station is part of Bauer Radio’s City 1 network of station, and mainly plays hits from the 1980s to today. The station was launched in 1981 and can be heard on FM and DAB radio.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/northsound

Northsound 2

Northsound 2 is a greatest hits radio station broadcasting to the north east of Scotland. Northsound 2 is a sister station of Northsound 1 and broadcasts on AM and DAB radio as well as online.
Website: planetradio.co.uk/northsound-2

Smooth Glasgow

Smooth Glasgow is a local radio station broadcasting on FM and DAB radio to Glasgow and the surrounding region. The station plays adult contemporary music and was first aired in 2007.
Website: smoothradio.co.uk

Tay FM

Tay FM is a local radio station broadcasting to the Tayside area including Dundee and Perth. The station is owned by Bauer Radio and mainly plays current chart hits and popular songs from the last two decades. Tay FM first aired in 1995 and is available on FM and DAB radio.
Website: tayfm.co.uk

Tay 2

Tay 2 is a sister station of Tay FM that plays adult contemporary music and broadcasts on MW and DAB radio. The station first aired in 1995 as Tay AM.
Website: tay2.co.uk

West FM

West FM is a local radio station broadcasting to Ayrshire on FM and DAB radio. West FM is operated by Bauer Radio and was launched in 1997. The station mainly plays contemporary hits.
Website: westfm.co.uk

West Sound

West Sound AM is a sister station of West FM, broadcasting on AM and DAB to Ayrshire. The station plays adult contemporary and easy listening music.
Website: westsound.co.uk

YOUR Radio

YOUR Radio is a local radio station broadcasting from Clydebank to Argyll & Bute, West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde. The station first aired in 2003 as Castle Rock FM. YOUR Radio can be heard on FM and DAB radio.
Website: yourradio.scot

References

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2003/06_june/23/digrad_milestones.pdf

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zcwk87h

[3] https://web.archive.org/web/20071128162419/http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/pdf/dab_review.pdf

[4] http://www.mb21.co.uk/ether.net/radio/alpha10.shtml

[5] http://www.pure.com/press/july-2002/videologic-announces-first-%C2%A399-dab-digital-radio

[6] http://www.rajar.co.uk/docs/news/RAJAR_DataRelease_InfographicQ42016.pdf

[7] http://www.rajar.co.uk/docs/2016_12/2016_Q4_Quarterly_Summary_Figures.pdf

[8] https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/digital-ministers-address-to-the-worlddab-assembly

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_National_Radio

[10] http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/managementstructure/biographies/wright_roger.html

[11] https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmfaff/334/334.pdf

[12] http://www.global.com/radio/capital-fm/audience/

Summary
Article Name
Guide to Digital Radio in the UK
Description
A guide to Digital/DAB Radio in the UK including its history, how to listen plus national and local DAB radio stations.
Publisher Name
Best Radios