BFBS Radio now UK wide on DAB


The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS Radio) is set to provide the missing communications link for the British Forces. For the first time, BFBS Radio will be heard on-air in Great Britain via DAB Digital Radio in a trial of the service starting on Saturday 12th January 2008.

BFBS Radio has been broadcasting to the British Forces overseas since 1943. The Forces’ station currently has bases in eleven countries, including Iraq, Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, and reaches another dozen countries, including Afghanistan and Kosovo, via satellite. It plays a wide variety of music, has its own news service and specialises in on-air messages and requests between servicemen and women and their families. Now in a pioneering trial, the service will be available across mainland Britain and can be received on any DAB digital radio.

“This completes the link,†says BFBS Radio’s Controller, Charles Foster. “Although we’ve been serving the British Forces community around the world for 65 years, we have relied on occasional links with the BBC and commercial stations or, more recently, the internet, to keep the Forces and their families and friends at home in the picture. Now, we can provide radio programmes and messages that can be heard by Corporal Smith in Iraq, his wife in Germany and his mum in the UK – all at the same time. It’s total connectivity and DAB digital radio prices start at under £30. If this trial produces the results we hope to see, it will be brilliant news for the British Forces.â€

Quentin Howard, Chief Executive of Digital One (the national commercial digital radio network broadcasting BFBS Radio to Great Britain) says: "We are delighted to be helping to connect British Forces personnel, their families and other listeners across the country who may share past and present links with the Forces. If this trial of BFBS Radio proves popular and successful we would hope to be able to make the service permanent.â€

BFBS Radio began in Algiers in 1943 and quickly became an intrinsic part of life for British Forces in locations as diverse as Germany, Aden, Libya and Hong Kong. One of British radio’s most iconic programmes, Forces Family Favourites, was a major part of BFBS Radio’s output from 1945 to 1980 and its spiritual successor, Access All Areas, continues to link the Forces community from Germany to Afghanistan, Canada to Iraq and Brunei to Falkland Islands to this day.

“Our overseas programmes remain a priority for BFBS Radio, †says Charles Foster. “But the majority of servicemen and women now have their home base in the United Kingdom, even if they are on regular deployments to operational areas. Our new DAB digital radio service means they’ll always be able to keep in touch with family and friends back in the UK herever they are in the world.â€

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