South Devon could get 25 new radio stations

Local group to apply to run the network

South Devon could get around 25 new digital radio stations if a plan by a consortium of Devon broadcasters comes to fruition.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom has announced it is looking for an operator for what it calls “small scale DAB digital radio”, meaning roughly within 15 miles of Totnes.

Although the area covers much of South Hams and Teignbridge, it has been officially designated as “Torbay”, with the new radio stations expected to reach around 250,000 people when they go live, likely in 2024. Key areas covered include Bovey Tracey, Buckfastleigh, Brixham, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Kingsteignton, Paignton, Teignmouth and Torquay.

Now a local group is planning to apply for the license to operate the network and invites those interested in setting up radio stations when it launches to get in touch.

Called TorDAB, the company brings together three key Devon media organisations: Clear Sky Publishing, the company behind Torbay Weekly, North Devon Gazette, Mid Devon Weekly and The Moorlander; South Devon Radio, an online community radio station based in Torquay; and a company behind Devon’s Radio Exe commercial station which will be a minority partner.

Radio Exe is also behind a similar network to Exeter which is expected to go live in the coming months, with a lineup of around eight radio stations. If successful, this will mean stations such as South Devon Radio will be available on DAB digital radio for the first time, and Radio Exe will launch a dedicated service for South Devon.

TorDAB will reserve six channels for digital community stations who will pay reduced transmission fees. Ofcom has already opened its application process for groups wishing to launch such stations and is expected to choose who will lead the network in the spring of next year.

Paul Nero of Radio Exe said: “In the future, businesses, sports clubs or individuals wishing to set up a radio station in South Devon will be able to do so in digital quality and reach a potential audience of a quarter of millions of people. We will have a range of stations focused specifically on communities in the area, so if you are interested in joining please contact us.

Anyone interested in starting a radio station on the network should email enquiries@tordab.com or via a contact form on the TorDab website www.tordab.com. Stations are required to hold or apply for the appropriate Ofcom licenses.

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