NOW Kent


NOW Kent
Licensed area Kent
Frequency 11C (220.35 MHz)
Air date April 2004
Owner NOW Digital

NOW Kent is a DAB Digital Radio broadcast multiplex covering the county of Kent in South-East England. Because of concerns over frequency overlap with France, the service is not available in extreme coastal areas of the county; however, much of the county away from the coast is covered. The multiplex can occasionally (in favourable conditions) be picked up in south-eastern areas of Greater London. The service is broadcast from transmitters at Bluebell Hill, Chartham, Ashford, Thanet and, since the addition of a further transmitter in December 2007, Tunbridge Wells.[1] The multiplex is a single countywide service, and so super-local sub-splits (such as the localised KMFM breakfast shows) cannot be carried. (This is why KMFM, in its original form, is not currently carried on the multiplex, and the Kent-wide KMFM Extra is provided instead).

Contents

Launch and development

The licence to operate the multiplex was awarded by then regulator the Radio Authority in February 2003, and was awarded to Capital Digital, the DAB multiplex operation division of the then Capital Radio Group (now part of Global Radio).[2] Capital Group were operator of the major local FM and MW stations (then branded as Invicta FM and Capital Gold; now Heart Kent and Gold Kent). The multiplex was initially branded as 'Capital Kent', and then, in May 2006, following Capital's merger with GWR, was rebranded as 'NOWdigital Kent'[3]; this was changed to "NOW Kent", in October 2007.[1] In early 2010 a nationwide rebranding of DAB multiplexes was undertaken which saw operator name labels removed from the DAB platform; thus, the name which now appears on the receiver is simply "Kent"; however, NOWdigital continues to operate the multiplex as part of their network.

When the service went live in late April, 2004, the multiplex carried local stations Invicta, Capital Gold Kent and BBC Radio Kent; it also carried digital relays of London-based stations Kiss 100 and Xfm London.[4] Days later, on 1 May, KMFM launched their Kent-wide digital station km-digital (also known as km-d).[4]

Changes and evolution

Since the launch of the multiplex, a number of changes to the available stations have been made.

In December 2005, km-d was renamed KMFM Digital to tie the station's branding closer to that of the analogue service.[5] (The name has since changed again, to KMFM Extra, as part of a relaunch of the station).[6]

The first new addition to the multiplex, in January 2006, was FUN Radio[3]; this was removed in January 2008, and the space this occupied has not yet been reallocated.[7]

Global Radio's chillout music station Chill was added in October 2006.[3]

In June 2007, travel news station Traffic Radio was introduced to the Kent multiplex.[1]

In August 2007, Capital Gold and the Classic Gold Digital Network were merged, forming Gold; Capital Gold Kent was renamed Gold Kent as a result.

In May 2008, Bauer removed dance and urban music station Kiss in favour of a relay of their other London station, melodic music broadcaster Magic 105.4; Bauer also made this change in several other areas.[7]

In June 2009, Invicta FM was relaunched as Heart Kent as part of a relaunch of numerous Global Radio-owned local FM stations around the country as Heart.[8]

In August 2009, Global Radio removed Chill from Kent (and numerous other areas) and replaced it with Galaxy.[8] In Kent, as in several other areas of the South of England, the Galaxy service added on DAB is a relay of Galaxy South Coast[9] rather than Galaxy Digital (which is a relay of Galaxy Yorkshire).

Also in 2009, the BBC carried out a rebranding of their BBC Local Radio stations such that stations branded "BBC Radio (location)" switched to "BBC (location)", thus BBC Radio Kent is now officially known as BBC Kent.

Summary

Service Bit-rate Audio channels Service type Analogue availability Notes
BBC Radio Kent 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Local speech and music 96.7, 97.6, 104.2 MHz
774, 1602 kHz
Heart Kent 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Hot-AC 95.9, 96.1, 97.0, 102.8, 103.1 MHz Replaced heritage CHR service Invicta FM
Gold Kent 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Oldies Various MW Formerly Capital Gold Kent
KMFM Extra 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Pop/CHR Replaced AC service KMFM Digital, digital-only station operated by owners of analogue KMFM
Kiss 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Dance/urban station 100.0 MHz (London)
103.2 Capital FM South Coast 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Dance/urban 103.2 MHz (South Coast) Replaced melodic station Chill, relay of South Coast FM station (itself formerly pop station Power FM and later Galaxy South Coast)
Xfm London 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Rock/alternative Relay of London FM station
Pop Up Radio 64 kbit/s Mono LSF Leisure

Stations formerly carried on NOW Kent and not as yet replaced:

References

  1. ^ a b c DAB in 2007
  2. ^ DAB in 2003
  3. ^ a b c DAB in 2006
  4. ^ a b DAB in 2004
  5. ^ DAB in 2005
  6. ^ Digital Spy Forums on KMFM Extra relaunch
  7. ^ a b DAB in 2008
  8. ^ a b DAB in 2009
  9. ^ Media UK - Galaxy SC

External links


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