Top media personalities battle for radio licences

Chris Evans’ Ginger Media Group, Talk Radio, and the US media giant Clear Channel, which owns poster contractor the More Group, will jointly bid for regional digital radio licences.

The consortium says it will initially bid for licences in and around London.

The Ginger Media Group owns national music station Virgin Radio.

In December Talk Radio chairman Kelvin MacKenzie pulled out of the national radio licence, Digital One, saying the station had other priorities. Digital One is a joint venture between GWR and NTL consortium.

MacKenzie now says: “We have always seen digital as the future of radio at both national and local level. Digital means choice to the UK consumer and together we intend to provide that choice.”

Clear Channel owns 600 radio stations and 21 TV channels in the US, as well as interests in countries as far afield as Australia and the Czech Republic.

It also owns the More Group, the world’s largest outdoor advertising company, after a bitter takeover battle with outdoor company JC Decaux. This is Clear Channel’s first entry into the UK radio market.

Clear Channel International chief executive officer Roger Parry says: “Success in developing digital radio in Britain will require innovation and energy. The teams from Talk and Virgin are ideally placed to make this new medium work.”

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