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5 of the best DAB digital radio channels for any journey

Always agonising over the soundtrack to your drive? We’ve taken a tally of our favourite digital radio stations, organised by mood, for your convenience.

Don't touch that dial... image via Flikr user Peter under CC 2.0

Don't touch that dial... image via Flikr user Peter under CC 2.0

With the announcement that Norway will be shutting off FM Radio permanently in 2017, it seems only a matter of time before other countries will follow its example. A whopping 1.5 million cars with digital radio as standard were registered in the UK in the last year. While having the luxury of an in-car digital radio opens up a menu of near-infinite listening possibilities on your dashboard, sometimes, it’s hard to know in which direction to turn that dial. We’ve put together a list of the best DAB radio stations to help you choose the perfect soundtrack to your drive, whatever the occasion.

For the morning commute: Magic FM

Let’s face it, when you’re contending with sleep-blurred vision, a gridlocked labyrinth of tailbacks and the prospect of a gruelling Monday shackled to your desk, it’s no time for the painful dirge of The Smiths to come on. Avoid all melancholia-inducing pitfalls and stick to a station that will bring a smile to your face. You can always count on Queen, Bruno Mars and Marvin Gaye to inject a little joy into your journey, so select Magic FM as your default. Disclaimer: Fun-packed Monday mornings are never a dead cert.

Turn up the volume for: Wham! Ray of Sunshine. George Michael quite specifically demands it in the lyrics.

For the journey home: Planet Rock

The working day is over, but your mind is still fraught with its various stresses. It’s time to put stapler-gate into perspective, blow away the cobwebs and let your anger dissipate – with a few gymnastic guitar solos courtesy of your car radio. Whether you prefer growling along to the Foo Fighters or cruising to a cheesy Bon Jovi anthem, there’s a rock god in all of us just waiting to cut loose when the clock strikes six.

Turn up the volume for: AC/DC: If You Want Blood. A near-instant tension untangler.

For trips down memory lane: Kisstory

Good news for old skool R&B fans – after a successful rollout in London towards the end of 2014, Kisstory has appeared in more regional areas on DAB digital since January. Which means you can rekindle the days of your slightly torn at the edges Lil’ Kim poster and be haunted by that ill-advised crush on Shaggy, even in your car. Short of finding a time machine, there’s no more nostalgic experience for those that grew up in the 90s.

Turn up the volume for: TLC: Waterfalls. Even if you’re still not sure what the lyrics are all about.

For everyday errands: BBC Radio Six Music

When you're heading out to pick up that crucial single cream for your stroganoff, turn a humdrum task into a musical odyssey with some accompaniment from BBC Radio Six Music. Playing a mix of cutting-edge tunes to keep you on your toes and undiscovered gems from the last 40 years, you might just return from the supermarket with a new favourite band.

Turn up the volume for: Father John Misty: True Affection. Elton John-esque vocals + ultra-hipster = unexpectedly magnificent results.

For laid-back Sunday drives: Smooth FM

Sunny summer Sundays were made for long drives in the country. They don’t make ‘em like they used to, but thanks to Smooth FM, they don’t have to. Have your heart broken all over again by Otis Redding, jam with Bob Marley or attempt to harmonize with Cyndi Lauper (and fail, miserably). You might have heard it all before, but sometimes, that’s what makes it beautiful.

Turn up the volume for: The Bee Gees: Night Fever. Who said disco was dead?

Looking for a car with a digital radio? You can customise your Arnold Clark search to make sure you satisfy your inner music aficionado with your next car purchase.

About the Author

Kirsty Leckie-Palmer

Staff writer at Arnold Clark