BBC planning to launch new digital music stations on DAB+

The BBC has set out plans to launch new digital music stations as extensions for BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3.

There is also a proposed expanded version of the existing BBC Sounds Radio 1 Dance stream.

These new extensions, which haven’t been named yet, will also be available on BBC Sounds and will delve deeper into specific genres and periods of music.

The new Radio 1 service is expected to play more music from the 00s and 10s, whilst the additional Radio 2 service will be targeting older listeners – the audience currently served by new commercial station Boom.

The new Radio 3 service is expected to be a music heavy more relaxed service.

The BBC says the plans have been developed to ensure it serves all its audiences and better meets the expectations of listeners to give more choice especially to those who currently are underserved by the BBC, and whom Ofcom have challenged the BBC to do more for.

Content of the proposed music extensions will be streamlined, curating on-demand music programmes available on BBC Sounds, with archive material and some new commissions, some simulcasting, and a small amount of new live content.

The plans are subject to the relevant regulatory approvals, including a Public Interest Test (PIT) for the proposal to launch the DAB+ stations.

This will begin in the coming weeks and is expected to run until the end of 2024. The BBC will also launch a PIT on the content offer of BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra to allow existing sports related content from the BBC to be played on the station instead of a short marketing trail on constant loop when there are no live sports being broadcast.

Lorna Clarke, Director of BBC Music, said: “Our stations have captured the history of music in the UK during the past six decades for our audiences, and we now want to give them more choice from the BBC as listening habits are changing.

“Our extensions for Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 3 will allow listeners to deep-dive into more pop and classical genres and periods of music they love the most, uniquely created by the BBC. They’ll get a deeper listening experience than what’s available elsewhere, hear brilliant storytelling through our extensive archive, and discover more music to love whatever their mood.”

Commercial radio body Radiocentre is expected to oppose the proposals and we’ll bring you their reaction later today.