4 Digital seeks operating head after national digital licence win

4 Digital Group, the Channel 4-led consortium is seeking a chief operating officer after securing the licence for the second national commercial digital multiplex last week. The search will be led by 4 Digital chairman Nathalie Schwarz.

Channel 4’s radio division, 4Radio, is now also seeking a number of programmers, and sales and marketing staff to spearhead the launch of its three “4” branded stations.

The consortium, whose partners include BSkyB, EMAP, TalkSport owner UTV and Carphone Warehouse, won the Ofcom-issued 12 year licence on Friday. It beat a bid from National Grid Wireless (NGW).

The 4Radio stations are Channel 4 Radio, a contemporary speech-based station, E4 Radio, a music and entertainment service aimed at a youth audience, and Pure4, which will target music lovers. E4 Radio will launch first, in July next year, followed “within six months” by the launch of Channel 4 Radio. Pure4 will be on air by July 2009.

Other stations will include Sky News Radio, a tie-in between Sky and Chrysalis, Virgin Radio Viva, which will target a female audience, and Closer Radio, which is being launched by EMAP.

Channel 4 will own 55% of the company that owns the radio spectrum that underpins the service.

Schwartz was appointed by Channel 4 to lead its bid for the multiplex in January 2006. Previously she worked as a strategy and development consultant at EMAP after the Capital Radio Group merger with GWR. While at Capital, she was involved with acquisitions including Choice FM in London and the Century radio network.

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