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National digital bids submitted

by RadioToday UK
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Channel 4 (4 Digital Group) and National Grid Wireless are just two of the bids submitted to Ofcom today for the second Digital Multiplex licence designed to cover the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. If 4 Digital are successful, they plan to launch 10 new stations, including a re-launched Talk Radio.

NGW have established an experienced team of external advisors including David Mansfield; former Managing Director of Capital Radio and Chief Executive of GCap, Jason Bryant; Chief Executive of Town & Country Broadcasting and former Development Director at Virgin Radio and Mike Franklin; former Managing Director of talkSPORT.

Steven Marshall, CEO National Grid Wireless, said "I am delighted that we have been able to assemble such an experienced team to support our bid. Their in-depth industry knowledge, combined with our own skills and experience, will enable us to offer Ofcom and the commercial radio industry a range of services which will ensure a great future for digital radio in the UK."

Meanwhile, Channel 4 have gained the support of UBC Media, Emap Radio, UTV Radio, Chrysalis Radio, CanWest MediaWorks, BSkyB, The Carphone Warehouse and BT Movio. The group’s bid plans to launch 10 brand-new national radio stations from 2008 onwards. They are:

E4 Radio will be an interactive music and entertainment station targeting 15 to 29 year-olds on the look-out for the best of what’s new in music, comedy and entertainment, delivered in E4’s inimitable, mischievous style. With an emphasis on interactivity, listeners will be able to influence, alter and shape the sound of the station.

Channel 4 Radio will be a contemporary speech-based station with public service values infusing a blend of lively debate and entertainment. It will be driven by intelligent, informed and often provocative opinion and conversation, with news and current affairs at its core. It will challenge convention and contribute to shaping and reflecting British society. Targeting 30 to 54-year-olds, the station will also broadcast lively and provocative comment, drama, comedy and documentary programming.

Pure4 will be a knowledgeable, accessible radio station for music lovers, home of the original radical artists from the worlds of music and culture. Channel 4 has always led the way in identifying new talent and Pure4 will continue this mission by bringing subjects, styles and genres from the margins into the mainstream. Pure4 will be a journey of discovery, combining the best that music has to offer with modern contemporary culture.

Talk Radio, from UTV, will be an all-speech service featuring opinionated presentation and lively debate.

Emap’s proposed station, Closer, will be a broad mix of current and classic chart music with lifestyle conversation aimed at women aged 30 and over.

Sky News Radio, a joint venture between BSkyB and Chrysalis, will bring Sky News’ admired approach to 24-hour rolling TV news to radio.

Sunrise Radio UK will be a personality-led, music-dominated station serving Britain’s growing appetite for Asian music and culture.

Virgin Radio Viva will be a new station for fun-loving, fearless women between the ages of 15 and 30.

Operated by CanWest MediaWorks, Original will be an album-led music station aimed at 40 to 59-year-olds, mixing music with meaningful speech.

Radio Disney will be the UK’s first national radio station devoted to children, mixing music, entertainment and education.

4 Digital Group has reached agreement with a large range of national and international device manufacturers and retailers to drive the adoption of new and more sophisticated digital devices into mobile phones, car radios, personal computers and Wi-Fi systems.

4 Digital Group will also embrace the possibilities of digital technology, working with technology and retail partners to develop cutting edge devices with enhanced electronic programme guides, screen-based information and mobile television and video services.

Nathalie Schwarz, Chair of 4 Digital Group, said: “4 Digital Group will secure the future of radio. Our proposed line up of 10 distinctive new national radio stations and range of downloadable podcasts offers genuine choice and exciting content. We will serve a broad spectrum of audiences — from mainstream to niche, minority groups to children — in both speech and music. Our vision is to put radio back where it belongs — at the heart of a multi-media, multi-platform UK. ”

The licence was advertised in November with a closing date of 3pm today.

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