Channel 4 has sold its 51% share in speech radio station Oneword to UBC Media for £1. The move, which comes ahead of the broadcaster launching its own-branded stations, has fuelled speculation that Oneword will be closed.
Channel 4 bought the majority stake from UBC Media for £1m through its 4Ventures division in 2005 but in November UBC announced it had written off its investment in the station and was looking to exit. The broadcaster has held talks with other broadcasters about taking over its position on Digital One, the first national digital radio multiplex.
Oneword has suspended its normal schedule and has put out a statement saying that it is undergoing a strategic review and hopes to find a solution in the New Year.
The station was launched seven years ago and was positioned as a commercial alternative to BBC Radio 4. Its closure will deepen concerns about the problems with digital radio, which industry insiders say is suffering from not having an analogue switch-off date.