dabA group lead by Channel 4 has won the race to launch a second commercial DAB service.
The new multiplex will reach more than 86 per cent of the adult population, with ten channels including comedy, drama current affairs and music. The 4Digital Group comprises Channel 4, Sky News, magazine publisher Emap, UTV, Carphone Warehouse and Christian broadcaster UBC. Ofcom chief exec Ed Richards said: “Today’s licence award is an important development for radio listeners who will benefit from a greater variety of commercial national radio services. “The award will give a real boost to the DAB platform, which we believe will form the cornerstone of radio provision in the future.”

Launching by July 2008, the new stations will be:
E4 Radio: youthful interactive entertainment
Channel 4 Radio: contemporary public service speech
Pure4: intelligent contemporary adult
Talk Radio: news, views and entertainment
Closer: female adult contemporary music, celebrity and lifestyle
Sky News Radio: rolling news
Sunrise Radio UK: Asian entertainment
Virgin Radio Viva: female-friendly pop with attitude
Original: adult album alternative
Radio Disney: children’s service

There will also be a “wide selection of podcasts provided by a range of diverse companies” which can be recorded on the latest DAB radios. 4 Digital beat competition from a National Grid Wireless group, which included the BBC and radio giant GCap, which already owns the Digital One DAB multiplex, and is bidding for numerous local DAB muxes.
The 12-year licence will use a network of 174 transmitters, and will be expanded with two more stations within 11 months of launch.

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By Expat