It's good 4 comedy

C4 radio wins digital licence

Britain is to have a new radio channel featuring original comedy programmes, challenging the BBC’s dominance.

A consortium of broadcasters has today won the licence for a new ‘multiplex’ of digital radio channels, which will include the speech-based Channel 4 Radio.

The station has already been commissioning programmes to broadcast online and via podcasts, but the new digital service will expand its potential audience.

Among the comedy content it has already commissioned is the topical Weekly Show, hosted by Mark Dolan, a series from comic Danny Robins, and an audio spin-off from 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

Other new channels to win the licence from regulators Ofcom include the youth-orientated E4 Radio, Sky News Radio and Radio Disney.

They are all part of the 4 Digital Group, led by Channel 4 with partners including Emap, SMG and the Carphone Warehouse.

E4 Radio will be the first to launch in July next year, with Channel 4 Radio to follow within months.

The consortium will spend £25million promoting the new services, which will be broadcast through 174 transmitters, covering 87 per cent of the adult population of the UK.

The full list of new channels is: E4 Radio, Channel 4 Radio, Pure4 (adult contemporary music), Talk Radio, Closer (based on the women’s magazine of the same name), Sky News Radio, Sunrise Radio (Asian), Virgin Radio Viva (‘female-friendly pop with attitude’, Original (adult album music), Radio Disney.

Ofcom chief executive 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.’

Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan added: ‘Winning this licence is a significant strategic milestone for Channel 4 and we are incredibly excited by the opportunity it represents… challenging the BBC’s dominance of the medium.’

Published: 6 Jul 2007

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