The Belgian audio designers have put some extra fizz into Champagne FM
ST. HELIER, Jersey — The Channel Islands has welcomed 22 radio stations, including many new services, broadcasting on a new DAB+ digital radio multiplex.
Two transmitters on Jersey and Guernsey, around 14 miles (22 kilometers) west of the French coast, have been switched on, with a third on the tiny island of Alderney due on-air later this year. They bring more choice to a potential 130,000 listeners, from community radio services and among others, Nation Radio, Global, Wireless and the BBC.
Factum Radioscape completed installation of its Enmuxa DAB system in two days at Les Platons — the main radio transmission site in Jersey. The professional software provides straightforward and secure management for the multiplex, and the Observa monitoring allows the operator to supervise the transmitted signal on air.
Factum Radioscape’s sales manager, James Waterson, said, “We’re very pleased with how well the project came together. With careful technical planning and co-operation with all parties involved in the launch, we’ve successfully delivered our DAB+ system to a new listenership who are delighted with the service.”
Waterson explained the additional challenges his team faced completing the work during COVID restrictions: “This is one of the first overseas installations we’ve attended during the pandemic, as it involved hardware supply. Risk assessments were submitted in advance of the installation, and the travel and installation were carefully coordinated to ensure our engineers were safe and COVID preventative measures were followed, such as 24-hour quarantining on arrival to Jersey.
“The simplicity of our software allows our engineers to securely install and commission DAB systems remotely to any part of the world,” he added. “There’s a growing trend for broadcasters to migrate to virtual systems where our system may be hosted on servers or a cloud environment. This certainly helps us continue to deploy new systems or maintain current ones to countries which currently have travel restrictions.”
Waterson said Factum Radioscape had been working with broadcasters around the world to develop DAB broadcasts. “Our systems are installed with many national public and commercial broadcasters, the likes of SRG, SwissMediaCast and UPC in Switzerland, Norkring in Belgium, KPN in the Netherlands, and, more recently, ERT in Greece and NBTC in Thailand. It’s a truly universal system and the improvements we’ve added to the user interface make the system suitable for small-scale DAB, which we’re heavily involved in.”
New services launching on the Channel Islands multiplex include Soleil Radio, playing easy favorites from the last six decades. It’s part of Tindle Radio, which owns the existing heritage local commercial stations Channel 103 in Jersey and Guernsey’s Island FM, as well as Midlands 103 in Ireland.
“The extra benefits of DAB+ in terms of slideshow, ‘now playing’ information and digital quality reception across Jersey and Guernsey have been welcomed by both new listeners to Soleil as well as fans of our existing stations,” said James Keen, Tindle’s Pan Island station director.
“We’ve also been thrilled by the reaction to Soleil Radio,” he added. “From the feedback we’ve received, it’s clear that thousands of islanders have already made Soleil their new place to relax on DAB+ after just a few weeks.”