Channel 4 digital radio plans in doubt

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Channel 4’s plans to launch ten new digital radio stations are likely to be reduced or even cancelled, revealed The Observer.

Channel 4 promised to challenge the BBC’s “80-year dominance of speech radio” after winning the licence for the new digital multiplex in July last year, with three Channel 4-branded stations including speech-based service Channel 4 Radio.

Members of the Channel 4 board are said to shown concern over the cost of the venture and the future of digital radio.

One senior industry executive told the Observer: ‘Ploughing money into what would be very expensive services to operate – particularly the speech-based services – is a massive challenge. I’m certain there have been some very difficult conversations, and the board’s split. I think [Channel 4 chairman] Luke [Johnson] has gone pretty lukewarm on it. The non-execs all read the papers and trade mags and know that digital radio is still a long, long way from being a success.”

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