Digital (DAB) Radio

On Saturday 30 July 2021, there were 70 digital radio stations audible in Southborough with decent reliability transmitting using the original DAB standard, which all digital radios can receive.  

One new station called “Boom Radio” started in 2021, which has been well received by many for reviving the careers of David Hamilton and Kid Jenson among others, while playing 60s and 70s hits.

The previous year, some listeners sought out the speech station “Times Radio” that is commercial free and launched on 29th June 2020. It has the rough format of Radio 4’s breakfast “Today” programme.

In addition there are 40 further stations that can be received in the DAB+ format, which is a new more efficient transmission DAB standard that gives better quality using the same bandwidth. That means 110 stations can be received on newer DAB/DAB+ equipped radios in West Kent.

Is this a good enough reason to invest in a new DAB/DAB+ radio?  It depends if any of the stations listed below appeal to your tastes.

For older radios, the full range of 110 stations will be listed, but the ones transmitting in DAB+ will generate only silence.

The list of FM stations audible in the area can be found here:

I have included in my DAB listings below the 7 easily audible multiplexes in West Kent. These are the ones provided by the BBC, the two commercial national multiplexes (Digital One and Sounds Digital Network), the one Kent local multiplex and the 3 multiplexes for London that are audible (although the London ones are weaker signals).

After that I have listed separately the stations on the Surrey, Sussex and Essex multiplexes that can be picked up in Southborough – but not very reliably.

The higher the kbps value, the better the quality. The original format DAB is only as good as FM when 192kbps or more is used, although the difference is probably only obvious with good stereo speakers.  The “s” means it is a stereo signal.

In DAB+, 40 kbps is considered equal to FM quality.

Speech stations in Bold; Classical Music stations in Bold italics

The first table gives details of the 13 BBC stations available:

DAB most Sets BBCMplexkbps
BBC Radio KentKent128s
BBC Radio 1BBC128s
BBC Radio 1 ExtraBBC128s
BBC Radio 2BBC128s
BBC Radio 3BBC192s
BBC Radio 4BBC80*
BBC Radio 4 ExtraBBC80
BBC Radio 5 LiveBBC64
BBC R5 Sport ExtraBBC64
BBC 6 MusicBBC128s
BBC World ServiceBBC64
BBC Asian NetworkBBC64
BBC Radio LondonLdn2128s

*When BBC R5 Sport Extra and BBC Parliament and Daily Service are all off air, then Radio 4 is sent at the better quality 128kbps stereo. Often after 9am, Radio 3 is reduced in quality to 160kbps to allow Radio 4 to broadcast in 128 kbps stereo during 5 Live Sport Extra transmission times.

The following tables show the non-BBC stations in alphabetical order, starting with 5 tables of stations audible on all digital radios, followed by 3 more tables with the DAB+ stations.

DAB most sets A-CMplexkbps
Absolute UKD180
Absolute 00sLdn180
Absolute 80sSDL80
Absolute 90sSDL80
Absolute C RockLdn364
Absolute CountryLdn180
Athavan RadioLdn364
Boom (Oldies)Ldn380
Capital LondonLdn1128s
Capital UKKent128s
Classic FMD1128s
Colourful (Music)Ldn364
DAB most sets D-HMplexkbps
DilSe RadioLdn364
Dubai NowLdn364
Fix RadioLdn264
Greatest Hits MonoKent80
Greatest HitsLdn1112s
Heart KentKent128s
Heart LondonLdn1128s
Hits UKKent80
Hits LondonLdn2128s
DAB most sets I-LMplexkbps
Jazz FM MonoLdn280
Kiss MonoD180
Kiss StereoLdn1112s
LBC Phone insD164
LBC London NewsLdn264
Lyca Radio 1458Ldn364
DAB most sets M-RMplexkbps
Magic SoulLdn164
Magic UKD180
Magic LondonLdn180
Mellow MagicSDL80
Punjab RadioLdn356
Planet RockSDL80
Polish Radio LdnLdn396
Premier ChristianSDL64
Premier PraiseSDL64
Premier GospelLdn380
DAB most sets  S-ZMplexkbps
Scala ClassicalSDL112s
Smooth KentKent128s
Smooth LondonLdn1128s
Smooth CountryKent128s
Smooth CountryLdn2128s
Sout Al KhaleejLdn380
Sunrise RadioSDL64
Talk SportD164
Times RadioSDL64
UCB 1 ChristianD164
UCB 2 ChristianSDL64
Virgin RadioSDL80
Voice of IslamLdn364

Here are the stations available only on newer DAB+ digital radio sets:

DAB+ new sets A-FMplexkbps
88.3 CentreforceLdn232s
Absolute 10sLdn132s
Absolute 70sLdn232s
Asian FXLdn232s
BFBS ForcesSDL24s
Boom UK (Oldies)SDL24
Capital DanceD140s
Capital UKD140s
Capital XtraD140s
Cap Xtra ReloadedD132s
Chris CountryLdn232s
Fun Kids UKSDL24s
DAB+ new sets G-LMplexkbps
GB NewsD124
Gold LondonLdn140s
Gold UKD132s
Heart 70sD132s
Heart 80sD140s
Heart 90sD140s
Heart UKD132s
Heart DanceD140s
Hits Radio PrideD132s
Jazz FM StereoSDL32s
LBC NewsD124s
DAB+ new sets M-ZMplexkbps
Magic ChilledLdn132s
Magic MusicalsLdn132s
Nation RadioLdn232s
Radio Maria EngLdn232s
Smooth Chill UKD132s
Smooth Chill LdnLdn140s
Smooth UKD140s
Talk RadioSDL32s
Talk Sport 2SDL32s
THC (Dance)Ldn232s
Union JackSDL32s
Union Jack DanceSDL32s
Union Jack RockSDL32s
Virgin AnthemsSDL32s
Virgin ChilledSDL32s
Virgin GrooveLdn264s
Virgin PrideLdn232s

For people living in certain parts of Southborough (e.g. on high ground) stations on the following 3 multiplexes are also audible:

SURREY MULTIPLEX  (11 stations inc 4 DAB and 7 DAB+)
Heart SurreyDAB112s
BBC R SurreyDAB128s
Premier GospelDAB80
Atlantis (60s)DAB+32s
Fun Kids JnrDAB+32s
Podcast RadioDAB+32s
Point Blank (Dance)
Release RadioDAB+32s
Sami Swoi Polska
Unity (Dance & R&B)
Heart SouthDAB128s
Smooth RadioDAB128s
More RadioDAB56
More Retro
BBC R SussexDAB128s
Hits RadioDAB80
Greatest HitsDAB80
Smooth CountryDAB128s
Capital South CoastDAB128s
Trickstar (Dance)
V2 Radio (Oldies)
ESSEX MULTIPLEX  (12 DAB stations)
Heart EastDAB128s
Smooth RadioDAB128s
Smooth Country
Essex RadioDAB128s
BBC EssexDAB128s
Hits RadioDAB80
Actual (Oldies)
Greatest HitsDAB80
Blitzkids (Dance)
Capital UK
Unity (Dance & R&B)