2 October 2003

Radio Authority awards local digital multiplex licence for Cambridge

The Radio Authority announced today (2 October) that it has decided, after considering the proposals submitted by the sole applicant for the local digital multiplex licence to serve the city of Cambridge and the surrounding area, to award the licence to:

NOW DIGITAL LTD. - 7 Swallow Place, London, W1B 2AG (contact: Gregory Watson, 020 7518 2678).

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

This applicant is proposing to launch with the following programme services, in addition to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

Contemporary hit radio

Q103 (provider: Cambridge & Newmarket FM Radio Ltd.)

Modern rock

The Storm (provider: The Storm (Digital Radio) Ltd.)

Chart hits

Smash Hits (provider: Emap Performance Ltd.)


Vibe FM (provider: Eastern Counties Radio Ltd.)

'Access'; various services including:

Student broadcasting
(19.00 - 00.00)


SBN (provider: SBN Ltd.)

Now Digital aims to add three further channels during the licence term, and to incorporate additional programme strands into the 'access channel'. It proposes to commence its service by September 2004. This 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 Cambridge licence.



  1. The services will be transmitted on the VHF band III frequency block 11C (centre-frequency 220.352 MHz).
  2. 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.
  3. The Authority has already awarded a national digital radio multiplex licence, to Digital One Ltd., whose services are available in this area.
  4. If an existing local radio station successfully secures a place on a local digital multiplex covering at least 25% of its area's population, it can apply to have its analogue licence renewed for a further eight years.
  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.

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Revised: October 02, 2003