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Sid Valley Radio joins East Devon broadcast bid

New digital stations planned for East Devon

A Sidmouth community radio station has joined a consortium planning to apply to run a new digital radio network for East Devon.

Sid Valley Radio is becoming part of ExeDab which runs the existing Exeter digital service, and which includes Devon’s Radio Exe, Phonic FM and Riviera FM.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom has announced that East Devon is in its next round of areas to be covered by ‘small-scale DAB digital radio’. Exeter was in the first round, with a local company ExeDab being awarding the licence to operate the service in November 2022. It now carries nine radio stations on DAB+ to an area of around 175 square miles, centred on Exeter and reaching around 133,000 adults.

The East Devon area which Ofcom has invited applicants to serve covers a broadly rural area of 560 square miles and around 136,000 adults.

ExeDAB chair Dr David Treharne, who also leads Phonic FM, welcomes Ofcom’s announcement. He said: “These new digital networks increase listener choice in specific areas and allow new entrants to launch radio stations at a modest cost. In Exeter, it has enabled community stations like Phonic and South Devon Radio to extend their reach, something that was previously unaffordable.

“The recently launch speech station from Radio Exe, Devoncast Radio, is the county’s only non-stop speech service, and it is only because of small-scale DAB that a station like this has become possible.

“We’re now welcoming enquires from anyone who wants to broadcast a digital station in East Devon to get in touch and register their interest.”

Sid Valley Radio will be able to reach a much larger audience on the East Devon network when it launches. Chair Bob Weeks said: “For many years, there has been no opportunity for new community stations to broadcast in East Devon. Ofcom’s announcement will change that. We’re excited to have become part of the ExeDab consortium and we hope other community organisations will join the line-up too.”

ExeDab will submit its plans to Ofcom this summer as part of a competitive bid process.


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