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 BBC||Mplex||kbps|
|BBC Radio Kent||Kent||128s|
|BBC Radio 1||BBC||128s|
|BBC Radio 1 Extra||BBC||128s|
|BBC Radio 2||BBC||128s|
|BBC Radio 3||BBC||192s|
|BBC Radio 4||BBC||80*|
|BBC Radio 4 Extra||BBC||80|
|BBC Radio 5 Live||BBC||64|
|BBC R5 Sport Extra||BBC||64|
|BBC 6 Music||BBC||128s|
|BBC World Service||BBC||64|
|BBC Asian Network||BBC||64|
|BBC Radio London||Ldn2||128s|
*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-C||Mplex||kbps|
|Absolute C Rock||Ldn3||64|
|DAB most sets D-H||Mplex||kbps|
|Greatest Hits Mono||Kent||80|
|DAB most sets I-L||Mplex||kbps|
|Jazz FM Mono||Ldn2||80|
|LBC Phone ins||D1||64|
|LBC London News||Ldn2||64|
|Lyca Radio 1458||Ldn3||64|
|DAB most sets M-R||Mplex||kbps|
|Polish Radio Ldn||Ldn3||96|
|DAB most sets S-Z||Mplex||kbps|
|Sout Al Khaleej||Ldn3||80|
|UCB 1 Christian||D1||64|
|UCB 2 Christian||SDL||64|
|Voice of Islam||Ldn3||64|
Here are the stations available only on newer DAB+ digital radio sets:
|DAB+ new sets A-F||Mplex||kbps|
|Boom UK (Oldies)||SDL||24|
|Cap Xtra Reloaded||D1||32s|
|Fun Kids UK||SDL||24s|
|DAB+ new sets G-L||Mplex||kbps|
|Hits Radio Pride||D1||32s|
|Jazz FM Stereo||SDL||32s|
|DAB+ new sets M-Z||Mplex||kbps|
|Radio Maria Eng||Ldn2||32s|
|Smooth Chill UK||D1||32s|
|Smooth Chill Ldn||Ldn1||40s|
|Talk Sport 2||SDL||32s|
|Union Jack Dance||SDL||32s|
|Union Jack Rock||SDL||32s|
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+)|
|BBC R Surrey||DAB||128s|
|Fun Kids Jnr||DAB+||32s|
|Point Blank (Dance)|
|Sami Swoi Polska|
|Unity (Dance & R&B)|
|SUSSEX MULTIPLEX (11 DAB stations)|
|BBC R Sussex||DAB||128s|
|Capital South Coast||DAB||128s|
|V2 Radio (Oldies)|
|ESSEX MULTIPLEX (12 DAB stations)|
|Unity (Dance & R&B)|