Virgin Radio frees up chief for global aims

Virgin Radio sales director John Pearson has been appointed managing director as part of a long-term strategy to enable chief executive David Campbell to focus on exporting Virgin Radio overseas.

Virgin hopes to follow Classic FM, which last year launched national radio services in the Netherlands and Finland and a local service in southern Sweden.

Classic is now considering a Scandinavian network. It has also struck a partnership with Time Warner and Sony in the US, where it hopes to build its service.

“We’ve been looking at a number of opportunities to take the radio brand into foreign markets where Virgin is already a force – either because of the airline or megastores,” says Campbell.

This could involve launching national and local Virgin stations. The focus will be on bigger, more developed radio markets. “I’d rather have a smaller share of a more commercially viable market,” Campbell adds.

New services will be set up through subsidiary firms headed by local managing directors. Pearson will now be responsible for Virgin Radio’s UK operations – overseeing sales, marketing and programming. He is replaced as head of sales by sales controller by John Quinn.

* Virgin Radio launches in London on April 10. Virgin 105.8 will share the national station’s DJs and music, and broadcast local information.

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