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. 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).
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). 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'; this was changed to "NOW Kent", in October 2007. 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. Days later, on 1 May, KMFM launched their Kent-wide digital station km-digital (also known as km-d).
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. (The name has since changed again, to KMFM Extra, as part of a relaunch of the station).
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.
In August 2009, Global Radio removed Chill from Kent (and numerous other areas) and replaced it with Galaxy. 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 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.
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:
- FUN Kids
- Magic 105.4
- Traffic Radio
- ^ a b c DAB in 2007
- ^ DAB in 2003
- ^ a b c DAB in 2006
- ^ a b DAB in 2004
- ^ DAB in 2005
- ^ Digital Spy Forums on KMFM Extra relaunch
- ^ a b DAB in 2008
- ^ a b DAB in 2009
- ^ Media UK - Galaxy SC
- Media UK Kent multiplex page with links to station pages
- DAB Ensembles Worldwide: guide to services on Kent multiplex
- Arqiva-produced map of estimated multiplex coverage, from NOW Digital site
- NOW Kent page on NOW Digital site
Digital radio in the United Kingdom National multiplexesBBC National DAB · Digital One Regional multiplexes Local multiplexesEnglandNOW Berkshire & North Hampshire · CE Birmingham · Bradford & Huddersfield · NOW Bristol & Bath · NOW Bournemouth · NOW Cambridge · Bauer Central Lancashire · NOW Cornwall · NOW Coventry · NOW Essex · NOW Exeter and Torbay · Bauer Humberside · NOW Kent · Bauer Leeds · NOW Leicester · Bauer Liverpool · CE London · Switch London · DRG London · CE Manchester · NOW Nottingham · NOW Norwich · NOW Peterborough · NOW Plymouth · NOW South Hampshire · Bauer South Yorkshire · Stoke & Stafford · NOW Sussex Coast · NOW Swindon · Bauer Teesside · Bauer Tyne & Wear · NOW Wiltshire · NOW WolverhamptonScotlandSwitch Aberdeen · Arqiva Ayr · Bauer Dundee & Perth · Bauer Edinburgh · Bauer Glasgow · Bauer InvernessWalesNOW Cardiff & Newport · Swansea SW Wales Planned multiplexes Cancelled launches See also
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