Posts by jj20x

    Some of the decisions made by Bauer about which networks the acquired stations should join don't make a lot of sense.

    Using brand licensing for the stations now owned by Nation in the Solent area brings 3 Bauer brands to the area. When we looked at the South and South West, the assumption was that the stations acquired by Bauer in the South would be used to extend the coverage of The Wave 105, which is relatively close to the format of the UKRD stations and seemed to be a good match. The decision to license Hits Radio and GHR to the stations acquired by Nation means there will be a significant crossover between these and The Wave. Effectively, the stations will be competing with each other in the same market. The assumption for the South West was that these stations would also follow the format of The Wave 105 or of Pirate FM, but be based centrally at Bristol.

    It seems that Bauer has gone for the one size fits all option and thrown most of the new acquisitions into the GHR network. GHR is understandable for the ex UKRD stations in the North West and for the ex Lincs FM stations in Yorkshire where Bauer don't need extra stations so are mopping up the frequencies to bring GHR to FM. Possibly allowing for the closure of the medium wave transmitters, or reallocating medium wave to one of the digital services, as Bauer did in the West Midlands before handing back the MW licences.

    Bradford, Stoke and Swansea are no brainers, easily dropping into the AM/FM split pattern of most of Bauer's legacy stations.

    The East and North Midlands stations could have been integrated in a much more creative way. Rather than dumping ex UKRD Peak FM and ex Lincs FM Group Rutland Radio as isolated islands into the GHR pool, Rutland and the Matlock frequency of Peak FM could have been merged into Gem, consolidating its rather odd coverage area.

    The Chesterfield transmitter of Peak could have been added to Hallam FM. Similarly, the Worksop transmitter of Trax FM could also have been added to Hallam FM. Matching FM coverage to the DAB service area. Bauer have stated that they intend to organise stations at a multiplex level and this would have made more sense than the current patch work approach.

    The East Anglian stations joining GHR makes sense if the Norfolk regional version of Kiss is transformed into an East Anglian Hits Radio network station. At the moment, it has no local services and is a local repeater of the national station. Similarly, if the Severn Estuary version of Kiss also becomes Hits Radio, then it would make more sense for the South Western acquisitions to join GHR than to be linked with Pirate.

    North Yorkshire is probably the biggest mystery of all. It is a massive gap between the Yorkshire Hits Radio group stations and TFM in the North East. The most logical move would have been to merge Minster, Stray and YCR into a new Hits Radio station for North Yorkshire and the HR format isn't too far away from the UKRD formats, providing blanket coverage of Hits Radio across the entire region. Instead Bauer is merging all 3 into GHR and significantly changing the genre of the station.

    It will be interesting to see how the RAJAR figures move over the next 12 months or so...

    Apparently, MTV OMG, Club MTV & MTV Rocks will close at 6am on 20/7/20.


    I wonder how many people actually watch these?

    I was watching some of the Trace channels a few nights ago and also Clubland, which seemed to feature an awful lot of Scooter tracks. I'm not sure if that is compelling enough to hold onto an audience over time.

    I noticed that DigitalBitRate is now showing the additional Local Multiplex channel in its data.

    Unexpectedly it seems the local channels seem to have upped their bitrate as all the others (except the new one) reduce. I've looked at several local channels and it's showing this on all of them.

    The overall audio / data rate seems to have dropped and null packets are almost non existent. The site doesn't make it easy to see exactly what has happened. I don't think I can check locally either, the local channel doesn't usually survive the long cable run between the aerial socket and the computer, the Leeds TV mux from Emley Moor is nulled out in this direction and the tuner drivers don't like QPSK.

    For TV the plan was flawed from the start, someone should have said no and forced a rethink. Or at least not tried to set up city based services from UHF sites built to cover wide areas.

    I think the problem with radio is that the large companies have bought up the most viable of the ILR areas and are now mopping up the smaller SALLIES, which aren't big enough to make a decent profit but are useful to extend the existing networks even though it means sacking a few hundred employees and selling off a few buildings. If it is done correctly (i.e. doesn't follow the Bauer model), it creates sleek, efficient, centralised networks making it difficult for remaining independents to compete. The networks then just sit around waiting for the indies to give up the fight and become the next domino to fall.

    America has always had local stations operating within large networks. It's a format that moves forward under its own momentum. Trying to kick start a similar structure in a market not used to this way of operating was never going to be easy.

    Personally, I liked the site before in its previous incarnations and now it seems better than ever. What other site out there gives you clear news sections on cable, sat, broadcasting etc etc? It's something I was originally planning to do with this site, as I can easily create editorial style pages, but real world events took over.

    I wonder if they need a forum....:/:)

    Aha! I see where you are going with this. ^^

    What is all this to do with the BBC?

    Perhaps you should answer that, it seems you took the thread in this direction.

    The Mail has Sarah Vine high up in it's editorial team, aka Mrs Michael Gove. The Express is Richard Desmond a Tory donor and currently involved in murk with Jenrick, and the Telegraph is of course the official organ of the Tory party

    Only those newspapers who are favourable to the government, aka Cummings, get invited to briefings

    The fair minded press such as the Mail, The Express and the Telegraph are very popular among readers because they represent the views of the decent majority of the UK citizens. The minority Marxist anti-UK newspapers such as the Guardian, Mirror and Daily Worker are not popular because they represent the views of anarchists and Snowflakes. IMO

    You might want to check the actual readership stats before making statements such as this. The most popular (paid for) newspaper is The Sun, I don't know what that says about newspaper readers in general. :/=O

    Saturday and Sunday's changes have mainly been to the active hours of channel 100 (SID 1302 Virgin TV Highlights) for spotlight features. On Saturday, the SDT linkage descriptor for 1302 was updated with the new SID details for "Get Moving".

    The new DAB ensembles for the Channel Islands, North and West Cumbria & Morecambe and Lancaster have each been given an extra year to launch the new ensembles because of the Covid-19 situation. All licensees hope to launch before the extended deadline.

    It's all change on DAB for the new Bauer acquisitions. Pulse 80s will be removed from Bradford & Huddersfield, Signal 80s will be removed from Stoke-on-Trent and Wave 80s will be removed from Swansea. Surrey will lose Eagle 80s and Encore Radio and Suffolk will lose Suffolk First.

    The ex-Wireless Group ensembles now under Bauer ownership (Bradford & Huddersfield, Stoke-on-Trent and Swansea) will add Absolute Classic Rock, Country Hits, Hits Radio, Magic Chilled & Magic Soul, in line with the mix of channels on the existing Bauer ensembles. Stoke-on-Trent will also add Magic Musicals.

    Most, if not all, of these changes should take place overnight on Sunday and be in place by Monday.

    I'm not totally sure how the EPG works these days. At a guess, EPG data for now & next and the next few days maybe comes from the EIT and later stuff is downloaded. It doesn't really make much sense to download everything when it is readily available in the EIT. There is only one EPG section defined in the SDT at the moment.

    This made me wonder if a second EPG would actually show up on the scanner's analysis. It would as there is a "long form" comparison of all descriptors in the SDT along with various other long form comparisons (SDT root, SDT linkage, NIT CDS, NIT linkage & NIT root) - any changes or anything "new" would show up in there even if it doesn't show up in the short form analysis. SDT services & NIT services are always long form comparisons, so any changes will show up.

    Sky is a bit different, like all multi-provider platforms it will use a BAT rather than a simple SDT. Even in normal times, it will carry Sky's EPG, the Freesat EPG and EPGs for other networks sharing the same satellite.

    There isn't a standard method used for EPG analysis across different platforms as most EPGs are bespoke/proprietary.

    That's just your opinion but that simply isn't the case. The concession was to be financed by the BBC who agreed as part of the charter renewal last time and the BBC should be honouring that, otherwise the charter falls into disrepute. If it can be reneged on by one party then the other may wish to as well and just dump the licence at will and with little warning.

    It's beyond the scope of the charter and questionable whether the BBC should be getting involved with welfare provision at all. An interesting tactic by the Government. What next though? Maybe if they want to stop funding welfare based prescriptions, they could ask Boots to fund them...

    Accountability still rests with the Government and their decision to stop funding the over-75s licence from basic taxation.

    In other news, in the SDT root, SID 610 ETS10 changed flags from unencrypted to encrypted and on TSID 102 Channel 4 +1 and ITV +1 timeshifts. ITV (out of area) regions, TG4, and Channel4HD regions changed flags from encrypted to unencrypted. We don't usually pay too much attention to these flags. The scanner's log for elementary streams shows that these services were still encrypted at the time of the scan (which is, basically, why we don't pay too much attention to the SDT root flags).

    The latest scan shows that the TSID 102 SDT root flags which had changed to unencrypted on Thursday's scan have subsequently reverted to encrypted.

    I get bored with wall to wall non- stop music channels. If I want to listen to music I prefer to choose my own, rather than listen to other people's choice, by listening to Spotify or Utube..........

    Spotify and other streaming services basically took the audience away from radio, which is why legacy stations are now struggling to survive.

    I do like discussions and now that Talk Radio has moved to DAB2 and Times radio has taken it's place on the DAB waveband, I am enjoying listening to Times Radio.

    Interesting that the Wireless Group didn't put the newer Times Radio onto DAB+ given that they promoted it as an upgrade for Talkradio.

    I hope the interviews become a little more challenging, the current approach is a little too friendly. Perhaps the trend for politicians to constantly repeat the mantra rather than actually answer questions makes this the easier approach. Unfortunately, the listeners won't learn very much from this type of interview.

    In areas where Bauer only runs one radio station, rather that the legacy AM / FM dual station regions, it has traditionally operated a modified schedule for these stations, adopting a broader spectrum of genres in the playlist including content from both GHR & Hits Radio playlists. Stations such as Gem in the East Midlands and CFM in Cumbria have therefore retained more local content than the other stations in the group. It was no surprise that Bauer announced that a similar policy was announced for new acquisitions, Lincs FM in Lincolnshire and Pirate FM in Cornwall.

    The move towards networking has fuelled speculation on radio forums that Bauer would, perhaps, form a third network to provide off-peak programming for these networks. However, maybe the latest summary of changes produced by Bauer gives more of a clue to the future of these stand alone stations.…obrandnetwork-stationlist


    The following new stations will be introduced:

    GHR – Cornwall, GHR - East Mids, GHR - Lincolnshire.

    The new DAB-only GHR services will remove the need to operate Pirate, Gem & Lincs as standalone services and allow them, over time, to adopt the playlist and be more tightly integrated with the Hits Radio network.

    Similarly, as soon as the North Cumbria DAB multiplex is launched, Bauer will be able to launch a GHR - Cumbria on DAB, allowing CFM to be fully integrated into the Hits Radio network.

    Radio Borders and West Sound Dumfries & Galloway are, technically, in a similar position but currently these locations do not have a DAB multiplex. However, West Sound Dumfries & Galloway has already adopted the Scottish GHR format, with Radio Borders adopting the Scottish version of the Hits Radio format.

    Bauer has already started to stamp its image on recent acquisitions with the former Wireless Group stations Signal 1, Pulse 1 and The Wave (Swansea) adapting playlists, jingles etc to fit into the Hits Radio format, "The Biggest Hits, The Biggest Throwbacks". Already taking some evening and weekend content from the network. Some of the former Wireless Group stations (Peak FM, The Wave (Blackpool), Tower FM, Wire FM, Wish FM & Signal 105) are also taking some evening and weekend content from the GHR network. With all stations joining the GHR network due to make the full changeover by September.

    The Pulse 2 website is indicating that changes there are due from Monday. Radio Today is reporting that former Wireless Group stations, Pulse 2 & Peak FM (in the Yorkshire, Lincolnshire + N Midlands region), The Wave (Blackpool), Tower FM, Wire FM & Wish FM (in the North West) and Signal 2 & Signal 105 (in the West Midlands) will start taking programmes from the GHR network from Monday 13th but will retain local breakfast shows for the moment.

    Similarly, Radio Today is reporting that ex Celador Group stations, Dream 100, Radio Norfolk, North Norfolk Radio, The Beach & Town 102 (DAB) (all in the East region) together with The Breeze stations (in the South and South West regions) will also start taking programmes from the GHR network on the same date.

    The presenter of the GHR network breakfast show will present the drivetime show on these stations until September. Presumably, at that point, the regional breakfast show presenters will switch into the drivetime slot as breakfast becomes networked.

    According to the Radio Today news report, Signal 1 and Pulse 1 will take more shows from the Hits Radio network from the following Monday (July 20th) other than local weekday breakfast shows. Indicating that these stations will be fully integrated into the Hits Radio network from that date. Swansea's The Wave will also take programmes from the network from July 20th but will keep the local mid morning and drivetime programmes in addition to the breakfast show.

    For now, the ex-UKRD and ex-Lincs FM stations set to join the GHR network in September will keep their existing schedules.…ding-different-next-week/…ts-to-new-radio-stations/

    Thursday's scan shows NIT CDS (frequency) changes for Watford, Portsmouth, Portsmouth TRIALS, and Code Download Test (Portsmouth) - following the usual ex-C&W pattern of clearing active transport streams from and moving mothballed TSIDs 31-34 in to the four frequencies sandwiched between the two DOCSIS frequency clusters on the ex-C&W networks. Once again, VOD transport streams were reduced to 2 and using the same frequencies as other recent ex-C&W changes.

    In other news, in the SDT root, SID 610 ETS10 changed flags from unencrypted to encrypted and on TSID 102 Channel 4 +1 and ITV +1 timeshifts. ITV (out of area) regions, TG4, and Channel4HD regions changed flags from encrypted to unencrypted. We don't usually pay too much attention to these flags. The scanner's log for elementary streams shows that these services were still encrypted at the time of the scan (which is, basically, why we don't pay too much attention to the SDT root flags).

    Talking Pictures is a low budget operation run from a shed and Forces TV is a charity, so they are better suited to that sort of operation than a full commercial venture. I don't really know much about the CBS Reality content but would have thought that CBS Reality would be paying the local channels for access to the prominent slot. Don't they show the same ads as CBS during the simulcast? Funding in-house archive playout would, most likely, be pointless. Not attractive to the advertisers and, ultimately, any interest from national advertisers would be minimal because of the patchy coverage.

    It's probably too late to try to rescue these channels. Sheffield Live TV is pretty much as it as always been, not following the path of the larger operators. For much of the day and night it shows a photo loop, taking audio from the Sheffield Live community radio station. I'm not sure how that was ever acceptable as local TV. They didn't even seem interested in adding the extra transmitter back in the days when they had more funding. Only covering the south of Sheffield didn't help to build an audience. Now they have the extra transmitter and no funding. I guess low budget radio and a photo stream could have been the alternative to CBS Reality for the other locals but who'd watch?

    The BBC and local newspaper suggestion is and was because this would give the local stations access to high quality news gathering resources, which could have been used to make good local programming and as a training scheme for local tv presenters and journalists. Instead, these channels were encouraged to churn out crap, low budget, reports which the BBC could then use and had to pay for. Unfortunately, they didn't usually meet the standard required by the BBC, so the BBC was being forced to fund this waste.

    I think he meant what Old Boy said, that it should be a channel like Channel 3 (ITV/STV) that had the same shows on every station ouside of regular "local slots". I don't think Richard was suggesting an established channel reverse into the capacity.

    I get that but my point was that the existing local clusters are too small to form a proper "national" channel. There are many large areas with a high population density that are outside the local clusters. Basically, there weren't enough frequencies to cover these smallish areas (relative to the overall transmitter coverage area) using the existing UHF network, designed to cover large areas. The petal arrangements at sites such as Winter Hill weren't possible everywhere. Even these are no longer co-channel, the large mush zones were problematic. Sure, they could use a sustaining service outside of the local hours but that's what they do with CBS Reality. The cluster arrangement wouldn't be sufficient to support a unique, self sufficient, national channel. It just wouldn't get enough advertising revenue.

    The problem is, it wasn't designed as a network but as ultra local clusters.

    Someone like Channel 4 should've done it in conjunction with ITN.

    Or the BBC in conjunction with local newspapers, which would have been a better use of the licence fee.

    Or just not bother going ahead without a sensible strategy for local tv - which this wasn't.

    Well, VM said that they were here to stay. AFAIK, Vice is to remain on Sky and it was clearly only a two year carriage contract (in my experience these are usually longer than two years, three at a minimum), so I think that jj was correct in his prediction.

    And maybe two years because the companies wouldn't let VM have a one year contract...

    I still think it could have worked, but only with a nationwide set of watchable programmes, with intervening local news and other local programmes of interest. A bit like the old ITV, but with more local programming.

    Even London Live didn't work, which really surprised me.

    It could have worked if the organisations had actually been interested in provide a local service. Some of these companies seemed more interested in making a quick buck from the BBC funding. After the BBC cash ran out they seemed to lose all interest in producing content.