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How To Listen To Radio 2 50s

Nat King Cole and His Trio from America recording in a BBC studio for the programme 'Transatlantic Matinee', to be broadcast on Christmas Day 1950 in the BBC Light Programme. Seated at piano: Nat King Cole (vocalist). Standing (l-r) : Irving Ashby (guitar), Joe Costanzo (bongoes), Jack Comfort (bass).

1. What is BBC Radio 2 50s?

BBC Radio 2 50s is a temporary digital radio pop up service showcasing the best music and nostalgia from the 1950’s.

The service will compliment “My Generation”, a new BBC TV season on the history of popular music, where music fans will share their most precious, personal and rarest music memorability from the 1950’s.

You can listen to Radio 2 50s via:

  • a DAB digital radio. To make sure you can hear BBC Radio 2 50s, you may need to re-tune your digital radio – just press the ‘Auto Tune’ or ‘Auto Scan’ button after midday on Tuesday.
  • online at and via the BBC iPlayerRadio app.

The service will be start at midday on Thursday 14th April 2016 to 17th April.

BBC Radio 2 50s is available online in the UK and internationally. It will also be available as an ‘on demand’ service for up to 30 days after broadcast.

Please note that it is NOT available via digital television.

2. Where do I find BBC Radio 2 50s on my digital radio?

BBC Radio 2 50s should appear between BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3 in the station list. Some radios automatically find additional services without any user intervention. However, if you are unable to find the service you may have to press 'auto-tune' on your digital radio. Not all receivers have the same functionality.

3. How do I auto-tune my digital radio?

Option 1

  • Press Auto-Tune or Auto-Scan button on your radio
  • The display screen will show Auto-tune Quick scan / Fast Scanning
  • As new stations are found the station counter on the right hand side of the display will increase and new stations will be added to this list
  • It may take a couple of minutes for your radio to update the station list
  • Scroll through the station list and you should find BBC Radio 2 50s after BBC Radio 2.

Option 2

  • Press ‘menu’ button on your DAB radio
  • Rotate the ‘Tune’ button until you see ‘Autotune’ in the display
  • Select Autotune
  • As new stations are found the station counter on the right hand side of the display will increase and new stations will be added to the list. This should only take a couple of minutes
  • BBC Radio 2 50s can be found in the display after BBC Radio 2.

If you have a digital radio in your car you will be able to access the station. Please note that it is not available via analogue.

4. How do I delete BBC Radio 2 50s from the station list?

  • Press and hold the ‘select’ or the ‘info’ button on your radio until the display shows ‘system reset’ or ‘factory reset'.


  • Press and hold the ‘menu’ button for three seconds.
  • Push the ‘tune’ button within 3 seconds to confirm the reset
  • A full reset will be performed and your station list will be updated
  • Please note that any presets you may have will be erased.

5. Can I listen on my mobile phone?

You can listen to BBC Radio 2 50s via the BBC iPlayer Radio app.

Unless you use unmetered access or a Wi-Fi connection, streaming audio via this service could lead to high data charges from your network operator. If you are unsure how you are billed for data, please contact your network operator.

Please note that DAB is not available on mobile phones.

6. Can I get digital radio where I live?

Please visit BBC Digital Radio and insert your postcode in the postcode checker to check coverage in your area. The BBC’s national digital radio coverage reaches 97% of the UK population.

7. Has the sound quality on Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2 and 6 Music been reduced on my DAB radio?

The national DAB multiplex has been reconfigured to allow for BBC Radio 2 50s. The change to the bit rate is marginal – Radios 1, 2, 6 music and 1Xtra will use 112kbps each instead of 128kbps – all the services remain in joint stereo.

8. Why is BBC Radio 2 50s in mono?

There is only a fixed overall capacity available on the BBC national multiplex and this must be managed carefully to achieve good quality across the wide range of services that the BBC, as a public service broadcaster, aims to provide.

Achieving the right balance between the number of services offered and the bit rate allocated to each can at times be difficult. We have taken considerable care over the technical arrangements needed to allocate suitable capacity for each digital radio services. This does mean the capacity individually allocated to some services has had to be reduced at certain times in order, for example, to bring part-time services to listeners. The bit rate on Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2 and 6 Music has been reduced from 128kbps joint stereo to 112 kbps joint stereo to allow for BBC Radio 2 50s.

9. Why can’t I access the EPG on my digital radio?

The electronic programme guide on a DAB digital radio will not be available to update from Tuesday 12th April to Sunday 17th April inclusive.

However, as this is a 7-day guide, the majority of DAB EPG enabled receivers should retain the EPG (if they were updated before 12th April). The service will be resumed on Monday 18th April.