United Kingdom

Last update: 23.05.2024 - older versions

RAJAR audience research data published in May 2024, and covering the period ending March 2024, shows the continued growth of DAB listening in the United Kingdom.

  • 50 million adults or 89% of the adult (15+) UK population tuned in to radio stations each week in the first quarter of 2024.
  • DAB's share of in-car listening reached a record high of 57.5% - a significant increase both from the previous quarter (55.4%) and year-on-year (50.6%). 
  • DAB's share of all listening is 42.6%, against 39.8% in the same period last year.
  • The total digital share of listening (DAB, DTV, Website/App, or Smart speaker) also hit a record high of 73%, up from 67.6% in 2023. In terms of reach, 44 million adults - 77% of the population - aged 15+ are now tuning in to radio via a digitally enabled platform each week.
  • In an average week, digital listening accounts for 746 million hours; DAB has a 58% share of digital listening hours.
  • AM/FM share of all listening fell to 27% from 32.4% in the same period last year.

RAJAR produces an infographic showing key UK audience data.

Further analysis is available from Matt Deegan: "Radio's Relentlessness - Q1/2024 RAJAR" and James Cridland: "Broadcast radio continues to offer the majority of radio listening in the UK".


Small-scale DAB

The small-scale DAB programme in the UK will enable the launch of around 150 or more multiplexes, covering all four UK nations. By May 2024, 55 multiplexes had launched, broadcasting a range of radio services, from grass-roots community services to specialist music stations, and services aimed at minority groups and other under-served audiences.

UK regulator Ofcom says "Small-scale DAB is an established technology which provides a low-cost way for local commercial, community and specialist music services to take to the digital airwaves."

Several licensing rounds have now been completed, and in May 2024, applications opened for the sixth round of small-scale DAB radio multiplex licences for 31 areas across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Read more about small-scale DAB licensing in the UK on the media regulator Ofcom's website. In May 2022, Ofcom published a review of demand in the first three licensing rounds.

Last update: 26.04.2021 - older versions

Current UK population coverage is: 

  • 98% for national BBC stations
  • 91.5% for national commercial stations. National commercial stations launched across Northern Ireland for the first time in summer 2013
  • 91% local DAB coverage

DAB coverage expansion

  • A major two-year programme of DAB coverage build out has completed and included doubling the number of local DAB transmitters (around 200 new transmitters) to get local DAB to FM equivalence, over 162 new transmitters for the BBC national network to expand it from 95% population coverage to 97%, and more transmitters for the national commercial network, Digital One.
  • The launch of 435 new national and local DAB transmitters bring 10 million more adults into coverage for local DAB stations and 1.5 million more adults into coverage for BBC national DAB stations.
  • This build-out programme focused on the UK’s major road network and the local DAB expansion alone brings 7,000 kilometres of the UK road network into coverage for local DAB stations and 2,300 kilometres of roads for the BBC national DAB stations.
  • As the new digital transmitters became operational Digital Radio UK updated the consumer facing postcode checker on the Digital Radio UK website

Second National DAB Multiplex - Digital Two

UK media regulator Ofcom accepted the Sound Digital consortium's bid to run the new Digital Two national commercial DAB network. The consortium is made up of Bauer Media Group, UTV Media and Arqiva (who own and run Digital One). The second national DAB digital radio multiplex sits alongside the existing Digital One network, and all the local digital radio platforms that currently operate. Digital Two features an additional 15-18 new DAB stations with potentially up to 30% of the network using DAB+. The new digital-only stations launched in early 2016. The launch of the new digital radio stations and the Digital Two network will significantly increase demand for DAB digital radios.

Last update: 10.03.2021 - older versions

In this country there are

on air.

Please note:

(a)    These web pages are updated regularly to reflect current services on air, however they may not be exactly up to date.

(b)    The logos shown on these pages are for illustrative purposes only – manufacturers and broadcasters are directed here for information on implementing station logos.

Total number of DAB/DAB+ services on air
1.            DAB simulcast 335
2.            DAB exclusive 160
3.            DAB+ simulcast 9
4.            DAB+ exclusive 47

Additionally, approx. 122 local DAB and DAB+ stations are operating as part of Ofcom’s small-scale DAB mini-muxes trial in 10 cities.




Simulcast on AM / FM Exclusive on digital Total of services
DAB programmes 335 160 495
DAB+ programmes 9 47 56

Last update: 28.10.2021 - older versions

EECC implementation

Following the launch of a consultation on behalf of the Department for Transport, in August 2020 the necessary legal regulations were approved by Parliament to support the mandating of the fitment of digital radio in passenger vehicles in the UK.

The Road Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2020 were laid before  Parliament on 7th August 2020 and the Order comes into force on 1st September 2020.

This implements the provisions in Article 113 of EU Directive 2018/1972 (the European Electronic Communications Code (“EECC”)) covering the compulsory fitment of digital radio in passenger vehicles, meaning cars and buses (see regulation 22). The requirement comes into effect from 21 December 2020. 

More information is available here

Service Following

Arqiva, Global Radio, Bauer and Digital Radio UK have pioneered the launch of service following in the UK. Service following is part of the Digital Radio Tick Mark minimum specifications and is present for Global Radio on all ensembles carrying Global's services – Capital, Heart, XFM, Gold and Classic FM, and for Bauer on all ensembles carrying Hits Radio. This offers drivers an uninterrupted listening experience as they move out of one ensemble carrying these services and into another. DRUK and broadcasters have specified a test route for anyone wishing to test service following on receivers and for  more information on this or the Tick Mark, contact Yvette Dore, Communications Director, Digital Radio UK at yvette.dore@digitalradiouk.com

AA Member Research: digital radio satisfaction high in car

  • The AA fielded a piece of online research into digital radio in cars and received a creditable 29,000 responses.
  • The survey found that 91% of drivers listen to broadcast radio in their car, 22% of all drivers have digital radio in their car and 86% of drivers were highly satisfied with their digital radio.
  • Most drivers without digital radio were not considering buying an adapter but were either waiting to buy a new car or for the switch-off of the FM services.
  • There is clear price resistance to buying car adapters. 53% of drivers without digital radio would consider buying a car adapter, but only if the price was under £100. 4% would pay over £100 and 43% would not buy an adapter.
  • 51% of drivers were aware of radio switchover. Internal research conducted by broadcasters indicates that most people think radio switchover will happen in the next 5-10 years.
  • The research confirms the high level of consumer satisfaction with digital radio in cars and highlights the importance of having more affordable adapters available.

Last update: 28.10.2021 - older versions

Digital radios are available through a large number of high street and online retails at varying price points of GBP20 upwards. A variety of digital radios can be viewed on the Digital Radio UK website.


In June 2014 Digital Radio UK launched the Government/Industry Digital Radio Tick Mark. The ”Tick Mark” managed by Digital Radio UK on behalf of industry, provides consumers with certainty and reassurance that the products and services that they are buying are future-ready and will enable them to receive the available DAB, DAB+ and FM radio stations. From a supply chain perspective, the Tick Mark ensures a specified quality and functionality threshold and will likely drive sales in the UK. 

The Tick Mark is relevant for both the domestic (home) and in-vehicle markets. In order to be granted use of the Tick Mark, manufacturers and installers must meet specific criteria. In terms of the in-vehicle market, for example, service following and traffic announcements are included as part of the minimum specification. For all information on the Tick Markplease see here:www.getdigitalradio.com/industry.

The full list of Tick Mark approved products and services can be found at http://www.getdigitalradio.com/industry/approved-products-services/approved-dab-receiver/ 



Last update: 31.07.2018 - older versions

In 2014 the BBC announced that they carried out a technical trial for DAB+ in Scotland.

Small-scale low cost DAB

The UK has several hundred small-scale FM and AM stations.  While the existing DAB infrastructure is suitable for larger stations, the wide area coverage and relatively high costs of the existing country-wide structure are not suited to the needs of small-scale broadcasters.  Following an initial trial carried out in Brighton during 2012/13, Ofcom was granted funding by the UK Department for Culture Media and Sport to test the technical scope for small-scale low cost DAB. 60 stations are now broadcasting on digital radio for the first time using 'small scale DAB'. 

Ofcom is currently running DAB technical trials in ten areas across the UK. The first small scale digital radio took to the air in Brighton in July 2015 with the UK’s first local DAB multiplex. According to Ofcom, if the trials are successful, UK listeners could benefit from hundreds more local and community radio stations on digital radio in the future.

The trials bring radio listeners a range of small and local stations on DAB digital radio for the first time. Funded by the UK government, it is hoped that this new approach could provide an affordable route for smaller stations to broadcast on DAB digital radio.

The first trial launched in Brighton and Hove at the end of July 2015 and the remaining eight launched shortly after. They were originally to broadcast for a nine month period and then Ofcom worked with Government to decide the next steps and the trial were extended for two years.

The areas to benefit from the ten licences are Portsmouth, Brighton and Hove, Aldershot, Bristol, Norfolk, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Cambridge, bringing no less than 60 new DAB stations offering a wide variety of services including small local, community and student stations.

Please find below a list of stations available in each of the trial areas:

ANGELxtra, Express FM, JAMM Radio, Mango Vibe, The Flash and Triple Hits 

BFBS Radio, BFBS Gurkha, Radio Woking and The Breeze 

Brighton & Hove 
Radio, bringing Juice 107.2, Radio Reverb, Smile Sussex, Totallyradio, Resonance and Brighton City Student Radio

Hub Radio, BFBS Gurkha, Ujima Radio, BSR 103.4fm, BCfm 93.2, Somer Valley Radio, The Breeze and BFBS Radio 

Future Radio, Norwich 99.9, The Music Machine, Solar Radio, Jazz FM, Totallyradio and Future Plus 

Panjab Radio, Revolution 96.2, Manchester Business Radio, The Steve Penk Wind-Up Channel, Chris Country and Gaydio 

Switch Radio, bringing Switch Radio, Scratch Radio, Gaydio, Oak FM and Touch FM 

Your Radio, Celtic Music Radio, Pulse FM and Go Radio 

Resonance, London Greek Radio, Rinse FM, NuSound Radio, Reprezent, Solar Radio and Crackers Radio

Star Radio, Gaydio, Chris Country, Core Radio and Cambridge 105 

Small scale DAB expansion

  • There are currently over 90 (see image right) small commercial and community stations broadcasting in the 10 trial areas of the Ofcom small-scale DAB trials which have been extended by 2 years.
  • Angel Radio announced a further expansion to the number of stations on the Portsmouth DAB Mini-mux to 18 with more than half of the stations (10) broadcasting in DAB+. There are 15 stations broadcasting in the Manchester trial and Niocast have a waiting list and are planning to launch additional services.
  • DCMS are progressing plans for a new licencing framework to support the extension of the existing trials and expansion to other areas across the UK.
Small-scale DAB licencing consultation 

In January 2018, DCMS published the small-scale DAB consultation document (consultation document here), accompanied by a press release headed ‘Government to help commercial and community radio to go digital.’ (press release here). 

The press release highlights the progress made by digital radio and the opportunity offered by small-scale technology to enable hundreds of local commercial and community stations to broadcast on DAB for the first time.

The consultation ran for 8 weeks from 4 January to 28 February 2018 and covered 12 key questions relating to community stations and digital licences, ownership of small scale radio multiplexes, the size of the multiplex area, the duration of the licences, BBC access to small-scale DAB and Ofcom’s duty to consider local commercial impacts on local multiplexes.

DCMS have said that their aim is to have new licensing arrangements in place by the end of the year. It is likely that during this period they will take measures to extend the existing trial area small-scale multiplexes whose licences expire in the first half of 2018.

In July 2018 Ofcom announced that they would be taking expressions of interest from people wanting to operate small-scale DAB multiplexes and radio stations wanting to broadcast on them in the future.  The closing date for the submission of expressions of interest is 21 September 2018.

Last update: 06.05.2022 - older versions

Digital Radio and Audio review

The Digital Radio and Audio Review was commissioned by the government in February 2020 with the objective of assessing likely future trends in listening and to make recommendations on ways of strengthening UK radio and audio. Its report was published in October 2021, and describes sector commitments and options for future government support.

The UK government's response to the review was published in April 2022, and focuses on the recommendations for specific government action. Digital Radio UK summarises the response 

Digital Radio UK's summary of the response in relation to DAB is available here.


Digital Radio Switchover

In its response, the government agreed with the Digital Radio and Audio Review's main conclusion that there should be no formal switch-off of analogue radio services before 2030 at the earliest, and notes that the ongoing decline of analogue listening makes it appropriate to consider updating elements of the legislative framework to support a smooth transition of services away from analogue in due course. Government also agreed that government and industry should look at this again in 2026.


Small-scale DAB

Ofcom reinforce that the primary focus of the programme is to enable community stations , small commercial stations and new entrants to have an affordable pathway to terrestrial digital radio. That is the priority for the use of available DAB spectrum but Ofcom have said that later in the programme they will consider the requirement and opportunity for additional local DAB  multiplexes where there is evidence of demand and spectrum availability . The criteria Ofcom have set for the small scale multiplexes and their services is the consumer benefits of social gain, and local community accountability and participation. Ofcom have confirmed that to be eligible for the new Community Digital Social Programme ( C-DSP) licenses the services will have to have studios based in the coverage area .They have stipulated a minimum of three C-DSP services on each multiplex to be community radio stations . Ofcom decided to maintain their position that coverage of the small-scale multiplexes should not exceed 40% of the population of the given area.

Last update: 13.07.2020 - older versions

2020 campaign

Digital Radio UK, the organisation charged with overseeing the promotion of digital radio in the UK, launched a major campaign in summer 2020 called 'Radio's Digital Revolution'.  The campaign is aimed at helping retailers and manufacturers communicate to consumers and listeners  about digital radio.  

2018 campaigns

Ads have been playing across commercial stations since the end of May, with trails also playing across BBC national and local stations for two weeks in June. The campaign has highlighted offers on DAB digital radios at UK retailers, promoted the summer’s great sports and music content, and communicated the many ways to listen to digital radio including smartphone and voice-controlled speaker.

Northern Ireland promotion

Digital Radio UK is partnering with broadcasters and retailers in Northern Ireland to run a coordinated promotional campaign for digital radio including converting cars to digital. The campaign will focus on localised communications, including on-air ads, competitions and editorial; as well as retail point-of-sale. The project is based on the recent Surrey Car Conversion Pilot and will focus on digital radio devices for the home and car.

2017 Christmas campaign

Digital Radio UK worked with the BBC to create the campaign which is focused on gifting and recalls the familiar poem ‘T’was the night before Christmas’ to reveal a ‘world of digital radio lay under the tree’. The campaign highlights the many ways to give the gift of digital radio such as connected and voice-controlled speakers, as well as a DAB digital radio, and the commercial activity also includes an in-car gifting message.  This phase of the campaign will play on commercial stations from 4 – 24 December, and across BBC stations from 11 – 24 December 2017. Listen to the campaign here.

Corby Radio to apply for small-scale DAB multiplex
18.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Community station Corby Radio has announced plans to apply for the small-scale DAB digital radio multiplex for Corby and Kettering. The area is part of Round 6, which has a closing date of July 18. Des Barber, Founder and Station Manager of Corby Radio said: “From my days on AM with KCBC, I’ve seen progress to FM, and now to digital technologies. Corby Radio has always harnessed these developments for the enrichment of our community. It is hoped that the result of the application will be known by the end of the year and the service will go on-air in 2025.”

(Radio Today UK) Read more

Stations unite for Portadown and Craigavon multiplex application
18.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
YourFM has confirmed it will be applying for the Portadown & Craigavon small-scale DAB multiplex licence. The community radio station has been broadcasting on FM since June 2015 and now says it wants to expand onto DAB. It has partnered with a neighbouring community radio station in Newry to create a not-for-profit multiplex offering low-cost carriage and free carriage for the four C-DSP services it would host. Director Niall O Corrain said: “We have brought in experienced people with a proven track record in delivering SSDAB projects in Northern Ireland to ensure the multiplexes success.” ABC Community SSDAB has ambitious plans to launch as early as six months if it is awarded the licence due to the preparations made in the last three months.

(Radio Today UK) Read more

Two applications expected for Poole, Purbeck and Wimborne DAB radio licence
18.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Two groups have announced plans today to apply for the upcoming Poole, Purbeck and Wimborne small-scale DAB multiplex licence in Dorset. Poole based telecommunications company, Wide FM, has teamed up with Poole’s Hot Radio and Bournemouth’s Hope FM to create a bid, who together are also applying for the nearby Bournemouth and Boscombe licence. In addition, P&P Digital Media describe themselves as a team of committed broadcast professionals, many of whom are based in the local area. P&P Digital Media’s Operations Director is Paul Sutton, who says DAB listening is higher than FM so now is a great time for the application, which is supported by local and regional stations including Radio Wimborne.

(Radio Today UK) Read more

Radio Maria’s latest DAB+ Digital Radio antenna to be blessed
17.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
The Radio Maria England broadcasting service is now available on DAB+ Digital Radio in England’s Greater Manchester and Stockport areas. To celebrate the development, and to pray for the success of the Catholic radio station’s mission to spread the Gospel, Radio Maria England has organised a blessing of the new antenna facilitating the new digital service, accompanied by praying the Rosary, on Saturday 20 July. Earlier this month, Radio Maria England established a DAB+ Digital Radio service in Norwich. Next month, it plans to start broadcasting digitally in Peterborough and King’s Lynn, a port and market town located 36 miles (58 km) north-east of Peterborough. Its DAB+ digital service is also available in parts of London, Cambridge, Bristol and South Birmingham. “As we grow, and our community of supporters grows too, we are trying to expand further and further in England,” Helena Judd, Radio Maria England’s promotions, events and fundraising manager, tells the Catholic Herald.

(Catholic Herald) Read more

UlsterMUX launches with ten transmitters in Northern Ireland
17.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
UlsterMUX has launched a small scale DAB Service across Newry, Armagh, and Down Newry in Northern Ireland using ten transmitters. Operating on DAB Block 9c, UlsterMUX has constructed a network of transmission sites to deliver coverage from Dromore to Banbridge and extending to the City of Newry and beyond to the border at Dundalk. The service will also encompass Castlewellan, Kilkeel, Warrenpoint, Crossmaglen, and Forkhill, making it the largest small scale DAB network in operation across the UK to date. “We are thrilled to bring this innovative DAB service to the region, enhancing radio accessibility and diversity for our communities,” said John Gartlan, CTO of UlsterMUX. “Our extensive network ensures excellent coverage and provides a new platform for stations to connect with audiences in Newry, Armagh, Down, and beyond.”

(Radio Today UK) Read more

Walsall DAB bidder announces plans for small-scale multiplex
17.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Walsall community station Ambur Radio is leading an application for the small-scale DAB multiplex in Walsall. Walsall DAB Ltd has been established by Ambur Radio station director Priya Singh with the help of Niocast Digital, West Midlands community radio station WCR fm, and long standing senior radio executive Chris Hurst. The collaboration brings together a unique combination of skills, local knowledge, radio experience and a real passion for Walsall. “Ambur Radio launched in 2009 and has been a very popular multicultural station ever since broadcasting in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujrati amongst other” says Priya. “And we’ve been planning the move to DAB for some time now. We’re looking forward to the quality that DAB will deliver and being able to reach lots more listeners.”

(Radio Today UK) Read more

Wigan consortium to re-apply for small-scale DAB licence
17.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Hospital station WWL Radio is re-applying for the Wigan small-scale DAB licence. A licence for the town was awarded by Ofcom to Wigan & St Helens Community Media CIC, but was revoked after it failed to launch within 18 months. Now, Wigan DAB, which was the ‘runner up’ for the original licence, is applying again under the consortium made up of Kevin Riley of WWL (previously known as Wrightington Hospital Radio) with the help of Niocast Digital, local broadcasters Darren Ofsarnie and Phil England plus long-standing senior radio executives Chris Hurst and Ron Smith. Kevin Riley, station secretary says: “Small-scale DAB gives us a great opportunity to broadcast to that wider community and develop our service not least in the provision of positive health messaging we already hold the necessary CDSP licence.”

(Radio Today UK) Read more

Gaydio joins small-scale DAB radio platform in Liverpool
16.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Gaydio has been added to the small-scale DAB multiplex in Liverpool. The station, which is based in Manchester and broadcasts up-beat dance and pop and speech from an LGBTQ+ perspective, can now be heard via DAB+ across the city. To celebrate the launch, Gaydio is partnering with LCR Pride for this year’s celebration of the LGBTQ+ community across the Liverpool City Region. Speaking of the launch, Kriss Herbert-Noble, Network Content Director and mid-morning presenter said: “It’s great Gaydio will be on DAB+ across Liverpool and more queer people can now tune in for the best in LGBTQ+ entertainment, news and of course music. We look forward to doing more with the LGBTQ+ community in Liverpool!”

(Radio Today UK) Read more

EIREWAVE Expands Coverage to Newry, Armagh, and Down on DAB+
15.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Eirewave, the Northern Ireland pop and rock radio station, is thrilled to announce the expansion of its broadcasting reach with the launch of a new small-scale DAB service across Newry, Armagh, and Down. Starting on 15 July 2024, listeners from Belfast to Newry and beyond will enjoy uninterrupted Eirewave broadcasts, thanks to a network of 10 transmitters providing exceptional coverage. Olivier Mauxion, owner of Eirewave, expressed his excitement: “This new coverage is a pivotal step for Eirewave as we continue to grow in Northern Ireland. Our enhanced reach on DAB+ will enable more listeners to enjoy our programmes without interruption. We are committed to engaging with all the multiplexes that will open in Northern Ireland in the future.”

(XS Noize) Read more

Northern Ireland stations get together for small-scale DAB application
12.07.2024 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
A new consortium has been created to apply for the East Antrim small-scale DAB licence. The team behind East Antrim SSDAB includes Blast106, Belfast 89 and Sunshine 1049 who have already launched the Lagan SSDAB Mux earlier this year covering Greater Belfast. Sean Og Mac Braoin, Launch Coordinator for East Antrim said at the launch of East Antrim SSDAB’s bid earlier this week: “The experience that launching and successfully operating the Greater Belfast DAB Mux puts us in an unrivalled position to guarantee the success of a DAB multiplex for the people of Larne, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey. For radio stations it also means that they can choose to be on the East Antrim Mux only or to expand across the wider region from Lisburn to Larne, something we can uniquely offer.”

(Radio Today UK) Read more

  • Rtl_600

    Economic and environmental savings drive Long Wave switch-off


    This week’s news from the United Kingdom that the BBC will stop scheduling separate content for Radio 4 Long Wave follows several other high power Long Wave (LW) broadcasts ceasing. The high cost of analogue transmission, coupled with a reported difficulty in finding replacement parts for older obsolete equipment, is driving these decisions.

    Read more

  • Ssdab-locations-round-1-4

    Demand grows for small-scale DAB multiplexes in UK


    Groups from across the United Kingdom are submitting applications for the third round of small-scale DAB licensing. Small-scale DAB is an innovative technology which provides a low-cost way for local commercial, community and specialist music services to take to the digital airwaves.

    Read more

  • Absabs

    Absolute Radio Network plans DAB+ expansion


    Leading digital network Absolute Radio Network recently announced plans to expand its portfolio with the addition of a new musical genre and increased DAB/DAB+ distribution. Bauer's Paul Sylvester, Content Director of the Absolute Radio Network, speaks to DRUK's Yvette Dore about this expansion.

    Read more

Select Country:

Key Information

Status: regular
Population: 67.9 million
Population coverage: Sparkline Graph 98%
Services: 495 DAB, 56 DAB+
New cars with DAB/DAB+ as standard: Sparkline Graph 100%
Total Sales (cumulative): 52,436,000 devices
Penetration by household: Sparkline Graph 66%
Last update: 26.02.2024

Useful Links

Local DAB coverage expansions plans
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Digital Radio UK
Digital Tick Mark approved products and services
Ofcom Digital multiplex coverage maps
Stations on DAB in the United Kingdom
UK Digital Radio Action Plan (2014)
Guidance on digital multiplex licensing, and the licensing procedures for digital radio services
Ofcom commercial radio licence application and awards
Ofcom Digital Radio Reports