LBC to go national on DAB digital radio

Owner Global Radio to invest millions in talk station, whose presenters include Nick Ferrari, Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg

After broadcasting to the capital for more than 40 years, talk radio station LBC is to be taken national from next month.

LBC, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, will go national on DAB digital radio from 11 February.

Parent company Global Radio, the UK's largest commercial radio company, is investing millions of pounds into LBC after securing a licence from broadcasting regulator Ofcom to take the station national.

LBC – which has presenters including Nick Ferrari and Boris Johnson – has enjoyed a surge in popularity of late with more than 1 million listeners per week on average tuning in across the three months to the end of September.

"Global is investing further in digital radio, and in speech radio, to create the UK's first national commercial news talk radio station," said the Global Radio executive president and founder, Ashley Tabor. "Last year we introduced a first in UK radio with the deputy prime minister hosting his own weekly show on LBC, Call Clegg, giving LBC listeners, the public, a chance to hold a senior political figure directly to account for the first time every week.".

LBC is available on 97.3FM in London and will take the national DAB slot previously occupied by Jazz FM.

Jazz FM stopped national transmission on DAB on 1 January, but remains available on DAB in London.

LBC has previously been on a multiplex to broadcast beyond London, although this was only to five specific regions and only lasted a few years.

It was the first commercial radio station launched in the UK in 1973, at the time standing for London Broadcasting Company.

The station was rebranded as London's Biggest Conversation in 2007, and when it goes national next month it will morph again, to Leading Britain's Conversation.

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Mark Sweney

The GuardianTramp

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