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PBHR joins bid for digital radio licence

Written by on February 24, 2022

Around 25 new digital radio stations are coming to south Durham under plans announced today.

The channels will be available from Durham Digital who are bidding for an Ofcom licence to provide the channels to an area including Darlington, Aycliffe and Bishop Auckland.

The consortium is made up of local broadcasters Bishop FM, Aycliffe Radio, Prince Bishops Radio and others who will all be available on DAB, if the group are successful in the application to broadcast regulator Ofcom.

The group hopes that if it wins the licence, there’ll be a greater choice of stations for listeners in Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Aycliffe and the surrounding areas.

Many stations are expected to join the platform including other existing local broadcasters, new stations in the area and specialist stations focussing on particular communities or different types of music. The transmissions have been made possible under an Ofcom plan called “Small scale DAB”. The idea is to get community radio and smaller broadcasters onto DAB Digital Radio.

In the past, the cost of this made giving digital space to smaller broadcasters difficult. New technology means the equipment is cheaper and accessible to more stations.

According to the most recent audience survey, RAJAR, DAB is becoming an increasingly popular way for listeners to tune into their favourite stations.

Chairman of Prince Bishops Hospital Radio, Craig Robinson, said: “Prince Bishops Hospital Radio has been part of the hospital community for over 40 years. We have always been innovative in how we reach our audience and promote health throughout County Durham and Darlington. We look forward to this exciting opportunity to work with Durham Digital and bring hospital radio further into the communities we serve”

One of the best known names in managing local radio, Brian Lister, is part of the team. Brian has an impressive track record in broadcasting. He was the boss at TFM, part of the management team at Metro Radio, helped to set up stations in Durham and Barnard Castle and has acted as a consultant for hundreds of local and community radio projects around the UK.

He’s joined by Richard Finch who is part of the team at Tyneside Community Digital – the company will switch on its own DAB transmitters in Newcastle and Gateshead later this year.

Richard said; “I’m delighted to be part of the team that aims to bring this exciting new service to the people of South Durham. Small Scale DAB will bring a diverse range of new and local radio stations, increasing listener choice and helping to build stronger communities.”

There are already a number of stations who have expressed an interest on being on the new service.

Any stations interested can contact the group through their website at

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