BBC National DAB
Licensed areaUnited Kingdom
Frequency12B (225.648 MHz)
Air date27 September 1995[1]

BBC National DAB is a digital audio broadcasting multiplex in the UK, for a number of radio stations which have UK wide coverage. The multiplex is owned and operated by the BBC and is transmitted from a number of transmitter sites across the country; it only carries BBC radio stations.

As of the end of 2017, more than 97% of the UK's population are within reach of the multiplex following the completion of the switching on of a fourth set of new transmitters over the previous two years which had seen the reach increase from 93%.[2] Any further expansion of DAB radio is awaiting a decision by Government on any possible digital radio switchover.

Stations carried

The following channels are receivable on any digital-equipped DAB radio in the BBC National DAB coverage area:

Full time services

Service Service ID Bit rate Audio channels Description Analogue availability
BBC Radio 1 C221 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Youth-orientated popular music 97.1 - 99.8 MHz
BBC Radio 2 C222 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Adult-oriented popular music 88.1 - 90.2 MHz
BBC Radio 3 C223 160-192 kbit/s Joint stereo Classical music 90.3 - 92.6 MHz
BBC Radio 4 C224 80-128 kbit/s Mono / joint stereo News, drama and speech 92.5 - 96.1 MHz
103.5 - 104.9 MHz
198 LW
BBC Radio 5 Live C225 64-80 kbit/s Mono Live news and sport 693, 909, 990 kHz and BBC Local Radio overnight
BBC Radio 6 Music C22B 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Alternative music
BBC Radio 1Xtra C22A 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Black contemporary music
BBC Radio 4 Extra C22C 80 kbit/s Mono Archive comedy and drama
BBC Asian Network C236 64 kbit/s Mono South Asian orientated music Various MW
BBC World Service C238 64 kbit/s Mono International news On Radio 4 frequencies between 01:00 and 05:20 daily
BBC Guide E1C79E5E 16-32 kbit/s Data Hidden service, EPG data

Part time services

The BBC National DAB multiplex makes use of dynamic ensemble reconfiguration to allow a number of part-time services to broadcast. While these additional services are on air the bit rates of (one or more of) BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, and data services are reduced.

Station Name Description
BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra Live sport - broadcasts either Test Match Special or a second sporting event when BBC Radio 5 Live is also broadcasting live sport.
Yesterday In Parliament Radio 4 LW opt-out simulcast; weekdays 08:30-09:00; Saturdays 08:45-09:00.
The Daily Service Christian Music and Worship, Radio 4 LW opt-out simulcast; weekdays 09:45-10:00.

"Pop-up" services

The BBC has experimented with short-term "Pop-up" digital radio stations, each broadcasting for approximately four days at a time, covering music festivals and other special events. The first to broadcast was BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra in 2012, then BBC Radio 2 Eurovision launched for the first time in 2014, and was joined by BBC Radio 2 Country, BBC Music Jazz in 2015 and BBC Radio 2 50s in April 2016. When these temporary stations are on air, there is normally a reduction in bit rate of their parent station.

Station Name Description
BBC 5 Live Olympics Extra Available during 2012 Summer Olympics with coverage consisting of sports commentaries.
BBC Radio 2 Eurovision Launched in May 2014 to extend the BBC's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest. Returned in 2015 to provide coverage of the 2015 contest.
BBC Radio 2 Country Launched in March 2015 to provide coverage of London's C2C: Country to Country Country music festival. Returned in 2016 to cover the 2016 festival and again in 2017.
BBC Music Jazz Launched in November 2015 as a joint venture between BBC Radio 3 and Jazz FM, with programming celebrating jazz music in all its varied forms.
BBC Radio 2 50s Launched in April 2016 as a celebration of the music and entertainment of the 1950s.
BBC Radio 1 Vintage Available in September 2017 as a celebration of BBC Radio 1's 50th anniversary.
BBC Radio 2 Beatles Launched in September 2019 as a celebration of 50 years of the Beatles album Abbey Road featuring interviews on how the album was created and how it influenced the next generation of music artists.

Threat of station closures

In 2010, the BBC published plans to close BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Asian Network.[3] These plans were later rejected, saving both stations from closure. Radio 6 Music was retained after listening figures increased and a campaign was set up on Facebook, which gained 180,000 supporters.[4]

Future services

In February 2024, the BBC proposed launching four services on DAB+ and BBC Sounds. The services will be sister stations to BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3, plus BBC Radio 1 Dance. The plans are subject to the relevant regulatory approvals, including a Public Interest Test for the proposal to launch the stations via DAB+, a process which the BBC will start in the coming weeks and is expected to run until the end of 2024.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "TV: September Through the Years". Unreality Primetime. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  2. ^ "Arqiva confirms BBC DAB rollout complete". Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  3. ^ "BBC 6 Music and Asian Network face axe in shake up". BBC News. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  4. ^ "BBC Trust rejects 6 Music closure plan". BBC News. 5 July 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Plans announced for new, distinctive digital music stations as extensions for BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3". Retrieved 8 February 2024.