Bristol and Severnside Digital Radio were founded as a community interest company (CIC) to apply for and run digital radio services for community radio stations in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. They have been awarded licences by Ofcom and have worked with local organisations to create a digital radio network which covers over 530,000 people. The surplus from operating the network provides a new source of funding for community-based media.
All of the stations will now have much wider and more consistent coverage than they currently have on FM, and will be listed on digital radios alongside other national and regional radio stations. In Bristol, where over 70% of listeners listen to DAB Digital Radio alongside a continuing decline in FM radio listening, making the move to digital is important so that people can continue to find their local and community stations.
Patrick Hart, CEO BCfm Radio, said
"This is a really important milestone for independent media as we take control of our own digital future."
Kevin Philemon, Chair of Ujima Radio, said
"This is a perfect example of excellent collective work between community radio stations in Bristol. It's a landmark that will be treasured by the city and generations to come."
James Witcombe, Station Manager of Bradley Stoke Radio, said
"We're so happy that this has launched. It gives us some freedom over our future and ensures the communities of Bristol and the wider area are served with local content when that sector is being cut."
The launch of the two multiplexes provides opportunities for both local radio stations and for new stations across the country who want to reach listeners in and around Bristol.