9 November 2001

Radio Authority awards local digital multiplex licence for Peterborough

The Radio Authority announced today (9 November) that it has decided, after considering the proposals submitted by the sole applicant for the local digital multiplex service licence for the Peterborough area, to award the licence to:

NOW DIGITAL LTD. - GWR Group plc, 7 Swallow Place, London,
W1R 7AA (contact: Gregory Watson, 020 7518 2678).

Now Digital Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the GWR Group plc.

The licence is designed potentially to deliver digital radio programming and data services to an area with an adult (aged 15+) population of up to around 350,000.

Now Digital is proposing to broadcast the following commercial programme services:

Contemporary hit radio

Hereward FM (provider: Hereward Radio Ltd.)


Classic Gold (provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.)


Vibe FM (provider: Eastern Counties Radio Ltd.)

Local (City of Peterborough)

Lite FM (provider: GP Broadcasting Ltd.)*

Adult contemporary

Passion (provider: Passion for the Planet Ltd.)


Provider: to be confirmed

(* subject to confirmation)

A seventh commercial service will be introduced within two years of launch, with the format yet to be decided.

In addition to these commercial services, the existing BBC local radio service, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, will be broadcast using the digital capacity reserved for it.

Now Digital proposes to commence its service in August/September 2002. The licence will run initially for a period of twelve years from the commencement of broadcasting.

The Authority will shortly be publishing its assessment of Now Digital's application for the Peterborough licence.



  1. The services will be transmitted on the VHF band III frequency block 12D (centre-frequency 229.072 MHz).
  2. The application for the licence was considered according to factors specified in section 51 of the Broadcasting Act 1996, which are: the extent of coverage proposed, within the permitted maximum; the timetable by which this will be achieved; the ability of the applicant to establish the proposed service and maintain it throughout the licence period; the extent to which the proposed programme services will cater for the tastes and interests of listeners in the area; the broadening of local digital radio choice; local support for the applicant's proposals; and whether the applicant has been fair in contracting with the prospective providers of programme and data services on the multiplex.
  3. Digital radio is a new transmission system which provides the listener with bundles (called multiplexes) of audio services to new portable and vehicle receivers, and personal computers, with unprecedentedly clear reception. Being digital, it can also broadcast data services which may or may not be related to the radio programmes; e.g. traffic information, electronic publishing, and internet-type information.
  4. The Authority has already awarded a national digital radio multiplex licence, to Digital One Ltd., whose services are available in this area.
  5. The Radio Authority is responsible for licensing and regulating Independent Radio in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. It plans frequencies, awards licences, regulates programming and advertising, and plays an active role in the discussion and formulation of policies which affect the Independent Radio industry and its listeners.

Press enquiries: 
Julie McCatty, Chief Press Officer: 020 7887 4292
Kerry Curtis, Press & Information Officer: 020 7887 4290
Out of hours 07770 375283

General enquiries:
Press and Information Office: 020 7887 4294 or 020 7405 7058


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