United Kingdom

Last update: 28.10.2021 - older versions

Rajar listening data published on 28 October 2021 confirmed the predominance of digital radio platforms in the United Kingdom 
  • Digital listening surged to 65.8% of all radio listening
  • DAB is now the predominant platform for radio listening accounting for 43% of all listening compared to 34.2% for AM/FM
  • New digital stations deliver strong performances
  • Digital listening now accounts for the majority of in car listening at 53%

According to RAJAR data published on 28 October 2021, digital listening in the UK surged to 65.8% of all radio listening. DAB is now the predominant platform for radio listening accounting for 43% of all listening compared to 34.2% for AM/FM.

The strong performance of digital platforms has been boosted by the launch of a number of new digital stations.

Digital listening in car now accounts for 53% of all in car listening, with DAB in car accounting for 46.6% of listening (compared to AM/FM’s 33.1%).

Commenting on the October 2021 RAJAR data, Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK said: ‘’The new RAJAR listening data for Q3 2021 confirms the importance of digital listening and digital platforms which now account for two thirds of all radio listening. It’s funny to consider that some radio industry commentators used to question the viability of DAB which is now comfortably the predominant radio platform accounting for 25% more hours of listening than FM and AM combined. It’s good to see the new distinctive digital-only stations launched during the pandemic finding audiences and supporting digital growth.”

Small-scale DAB

In February 2021, Ofcom announced the first ever awards of small-scale radio multiplex licences. Following a competitive process, where each applicant was judged against specific criteria, licences were awarded in five areas - Derry/Londonderry to Foyle DAB Limited; Glasgow to Nation Digital Investments Limited; Salisbury to Muxcast One Limited; Tynemouth & South Shields to Mux One Limited; Welsh Valleys to GTFM (South Wales) Limited.

The Ofcom small-scale programme is extensive and will potentially see the launch of up to 200 small-scale multiplexes throughout the UK over an extended period of 10 years 


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: 08.04.2020 - older versions


Digital Radio Switchover

The UK radio industry is committed to a digital future for radio and is working towards a Digital Radio Switchover. 

Government criteria for setting a date for digital radio switchover are:

  • Digital listening share to reach 50% of all listening hours (criteria met Q1 2018)

  • When local commercial and national DAB coverage reaches FM equivalence (criteria met)

Digital Radio and Audio review

The UK government has also kicked-off a digital radio and audio review, which will examine future trends and consider how radio should adapt to changing listening habits. This review is planned to complete in March 2021.

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.

Two new DAB multiplexes go live in UK's north east
01.12.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Two new DAB digital radio multiplexes operated by Bauer Digital Radio Ltd have gone live from nine sites across north Lancashire and Cumbria. The new networks collectively carry 28 digital radio services including local FM stations BBC Radio Cumbria, CFM, Heart North Lancashire & Cumbria and Smooth Radio Lake District broadcasting in DAB or DAB+ for the first time alongside a host of new and additional services.

(Radio Today) Read more

WorldDAB past-President Quentin Howard awarded Radio Academy Fellowship
29.11.2021 - Top story - WorldDAB News - United Kingdom United Kingdom
The UK's Radio Academy has awarded a Fellowship to radio engineer Quentin Howard. The Fellowship is the highest accolade The Academy gives to distinguished colleagues with a lifetime of service to radio and audio.As Chief Executive of the original national DAB multiplex, Digital One, he masterminded the technical aspects of the winning bid, and went on to work with leading chip set manufacturers to drive down the cost of DAB radios and make them accessible to all.

(Radio Today ) Read more

Drivers confused by ‘unnecessary’ car technology
12.11.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
UK motorists have little interest in unnecessary in-car technology, according to a new survey by budget brand Dacia. More than three-quarters (78 percent) of the 2,000 drivers asked said they simply want technology that makes life easier. The research found 76 percent believed too many high-end features cause confusion when driving. Parking sensors, DAB radio and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity were the most frequently used. Luke Broad, brand director for Dacia UK and Ireland, said: “Features and technology on our cars should be in line with our customers’ demands so they pay for only what they need.”

(MotoringResearch.com) Read more

Frontier drives latest in-car media receiver range
12.11.2021 - Frontier Smart Technologies WorldDAB Member - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Frontier Kino 4 is the world leading DAB+ receiver solution, powering over 20 million DAB+ receivers. Frontier has created software specifically aimed at automotive solutions, the AutoDAB software development kit (SDK), which allows the Kino 4 chip to run in slave mode and offer advanced automotive features such as intelligent DAB to DAB service following, DAB to FM service linking recommendations, service linking enhancements for automotive operation, DL+ support, station logos for now playing screen, station logos for menu, slideshow support, direct support for DAB seek.

(Frontier Smart Technologies) Read more

89% UK car buyers want broadcast radio as standard
09.11.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
The recent car buyers survey also reveals that the availability of radio has a major impact on consumers’ vehicle purchasing decisions: 78% of prospective car buyers in the UK say they would be less likely to buy or lease a vehicle that is not equipped with a built-in radio tuner. Laurence Harrison, Director of Automotive Partnerships, Radioplayer told RadioToday: “We don’t think this type of consumer research is done by automotive companies and it provides invaluable insight for car manufacturers planning the radio experience in their future dashboard systems. Car buyers have spoken – they value radio, and in particular broadcast radio, above all other audio!”

(Radio Today) Read more

Radio is very much alive, with the highest audience ever recorded
28.10.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Commercial radio is reaching 36.8 million people across the UK, the biggest audience it has ever recorded, according to official audience data provided by RAJAR. While the latest figures have been calculated using a modified survey methodology, they also show that the total combined audience for all UK radio (BBC and commercial) is now the highest level recorded at 49.5m people. That represents 89% of the UK adult population.

(Radiocentre) Read more

New RAJAR listening data confirms predominance of digital radio platforms
28.10.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Digital listening in the UK has surged to 65.8% of all radio listening. DAB is now the predominant platform for radio listening accounting for 43% of all listening compared to 34.2% for AM/FM. The strong performance of digital platforms has been boosted by the launch of a number of new digital stations in the last 18 months. Digital listening in car now accounts for 53% of all in car listening, with DAB in car accounting for 46.6% of listening (compared to AM/FM’s 33.1%). Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: ‘’The new RAJAR listening data for Q3 2021 confirms the importance of digital listening and digital platforms which now account for two thirds of all radio listening. It’s funny to consider that some radio industry commentators used to question the viability of DAB which is now comfortably the predominant radio platform accounting for 25% more hours of listening than FM and AM combined. It’s good to see the new distinctive digital-only stations launched during the pandemic finding audiences and supporting digital growth.”

(Digital Radio UK) Read more

UK: talkSPORT to broadcast rugby’s Autumn Nations Series for the first time on DAB
21.10.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Starting on 30 October, talkSPORT will broadcast rugby’s Autumn Nations Series for the first time ever on the network. Coverage will include 50 exclusive matches to broadcast over the next three years, with a top team of rugby talent. Talksport, owned by Wireless Group (part of News Corp), is a sports radio station and the Global Audio Partner of the Premier league. It is the only English radio station broadcasting sporting discussions and commentaries 24 hours a day.

(Talk Sport) Read more

UK - no digital switchover until at least 2030
21.10.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
The UK Digital Radio and Audio Review recommends that there should be no mandated switch-off of analogue radio in the UK until at least 2030 - meaning that FM radio broadcasts can continue for at least another decade so the elderly, vulnerable and people in remote communities can access essential news and entertainment. Media Minister Julia Lopez said: "We must make sure this treasured medium continues to reach audiences as listening shifts to new technologies and that we have a gradual transition away from FM to protect elderly listeners and those in remote areas. We will not have a digital switchover until at least 2030 and will consider new rules to keep our thriving radio sector at the heart of the UK’s media landscape."

(www.gov.uk) Read more

UK Government publishes Digital Radio and Audio Review policy paper
21.10.2021 - United Kingdom United Kingdom
Published this morning by the UK Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the Digital Radio and Audio Review assesses future trends in listening and makes recommendations on ways of strengthening UK radio and audio. Chapters cover listeners and ensuring the appeal of radio and audio, the future of radio and audio devices used in home and vehicles, digital audio platforms and voice-activation, and future radio distribution and coverage.

(www.gov.uk ) Read more

  • Uk

    UK – Government support and digital growth reflect DAB+ uptake


    At the WorldDAB General Assembly, Digital Radio UK’s Ford Ennals and Yvette Dore provided an overview of the UK digital radio market and Ian O’Neill from the UK Government’s department of Digital Culture, Media, and Sport, told us what the UK is doing to help safeguard the future of radio.

    Read more

  • Cf

    BBC research shows DAB is the most energy-efficient radio platform


    At last week’s General Assembly, the BBC’s Sustainability Data Scientist Chloe Fletcher presented the a BBC study comparing the energy footprint of BBC radio across AM, FM, DAB, IP and DTV radio services. The study found that DAB radio services have the lowest energy consumption per device hour.

    Read more

  • Tu

    How are radio broadcasters embracing new connected technologies to remain relevant?


    This week, TU Automotive held an online webinar looking at how radio broadcasters are embracing new connected technologies to remain relevant in the car. Hosted by Doug Newcomb from Ward Intelligence, speakers included Laurence Harrison from the WorldDAB Automotive Working Group, Scott Brunell from Ford Motor Company, and and Joe D'Angelo from Xperi.

    Read more

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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 97.5%
Total Sales (cumulative): 48,198,000 devices
Penetration by household: Sparkline Graph 69%
Last update: 01.11.2021

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