NOW Leicester

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NOW Leicester
Licensed area Leicestershire and Rutland
Frequency 11B (218.64 MHz)
Air date 6 December 2002
Owner NOW Digital (East Midlands) Ltd
(Arqiva, Global Radio, Sabras Radio)
Coverage Map [1]
Transmitters Copt Oak (Loughborough)
Houghton on the Hill (Leicester)

NOW Leicester is a local commercial digital radio multiplex in the United Kingdom, which serves Leicestershire and Rutland. It commenced broadcasts on December 6, 2002 and is operated by NOW Digital on behalf of NOW Digital East Midlands Ltd, a consortium of Arqiva, Global Radio and Sabras Radio. The launch was delayed by the UK firemen's strike in autumn 2002, which restricted access to transmitter sites.

Original plans[edit]

NOW Digital originally proposed to use transmitters at Copt Oak and Waltham with Skeffington to follow within two years of launch. However on awarding the application the Radio Authority identified that coverage in Leicester itself may not be as good as listeners would expect, and accordingly asked Now Digital to "re-examine its transmission plans in order to address this concern",[1] resulting in the adoption of Houghton on the Hill instead of Waltham. In their original application NOW Digital also identified two additional transmitter sites at Boundary water tower and Empingham, and their introduction would be reviewed during the licence period. Both transmitters carrying the NOW Leicester ensemble also carry the national commercial ensemble Digital One, but not BBC National DAB

Stations carried[edit]

The following channels are receivable on any digital-equipped DAB radio in the Leicestershire area:

Service Service ID Bit rate Audio channels Description Analogue availability
Asian Plus C7CC 64 kbit/s Mono Broadcasts Hindu Sanskar radio, owned by Sabras Radio
BBC Radio Leicester C933 128 kbit/s Joint stereo BBC local radio station for Leicestershire and Rutland 104.9 MHz
Capital East Midlands C366 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Contemporary hit music 96.2 MHz (Nottingham)
96.5 (Mansfield)
102.8 (Derby)
105.4 (Leicester)
Gem 106 C3AB 128 kbit/s Joint stereo 80s, 90s and current adult contemporary music 106.0 MHz
Gold C8D2 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Oldies station owned by Global Radio 999 kHz (Nottinghamshire)
Heart London C2D0 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Adult contemporary music
Kiss C483 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Dance and R&B music
Pop Up Radio CFCF 64 kbit/s Mono LSF Special events service
Sabras Sound C5CC 64 kbit/s Mono Asian music 1260 kHz
XFM London C0B8 128 kbit/s Joint stereo Alternative indie/rock music led station
EPG Leicester E1C000C3 8 kbit/s Data Hidden service, EPG data

None of Lincs FM group's two stations in the area are on the multiplex.

Former services[edit]

Services previously carried on the multiplex include:

Service What happened
Capital Disney Ceased broadcasting 30 June 2007, replaced by Traffic Radio
Century 106 Re-branded as Heart 106 on 2 September 2005
Chill Ceased broadcasting 21 March 2009, required by Office of Fair Trading ruling after GCap/Global merger
Galaxy Digital Ceased broadcasting 31 December 2010, normal branding ceased 19 December in advance of the launch of Capital, replaced by Heart London
Heart East Midlands Re-branded as Gem 106 on 31 December 2010
Leicester Sound Ceased broadcasting 3 January 2011, replaced by Capital East Midlands
Saga 106.6 Re-branded as Smooth Radio on 27 March 2007
The Storm Ceased broadcasting 24 January 2006, replaced by XFM
Traffic Radio Ceased broadcasting 31 August 2011

Original proposals[edit]

Now Digital and EMAP competed for the licence, the services proposed by both applicants were as follows:-

Copt Oak transmitter next to the M1 motorway

NOW Digital[edit]

  • 105.4 Leicester Sound
  • Sabras Sound
  • 106 Century FM
  • The second East Midlands regional station from launch - awarded to Saga 106.6FM (now Smooth Radio)
  • The Arrow - rock music
  • tba - pop hits
  • Cube - children's music, launched as Capital Disney
  • Asian Plus - Asian youth


  • 105.4 Leicester Sound
  • Sabras Sound
  • 106 Century FM (Now Heart 106)
  • The second East Midlands regional station from launch - awarded to Saga 106.6FM (now Smooth Radio)
  • 107 Oak FM - Local radio station for Loughborough
  • TAP - Asian youth
  • tba - Oldies
  • XFM - Indie, Alternative Rock
  • KISS - Dance
  • tba - Jazz and Soul

Additionally EMAP proposed that the following services would be broadcast on a part-time basis:

  • 103.2 Takeover Radio - Children's radio, Saturdays 07:00-14:00
  • Leicester Sports Radio - Local sport, Weekend afternoons.
  • Demon FM - Leicester student radio, Saturdays 18:00-24:00

See also[edit]


External links[edit]