Channel 4 Radio 'won't just be TV lite'

Channel 4's director of radio has spoken out about the BBC's "80-year domination of speech radio" as the broadcaster prepares its bid for the new digital radio multiplex.

Speaking at today's Guardian Changing Media Summit, Natalie Schwarz said: "There is very little competition in speech radio in Britain. There's an awful lot we can do to make it better."

Channel 4 Radio is bidding for the new nationwide digital radio licence, proposing around eight brand new radio stations.

Schwarz said its radio news service would be "everything Channel 4 News stands up for on TV" and would involve "genuine debate on real issues".

She also confirmed that Channel 4 planned to launch a rival to BBC Radio 4's flagship morning news programme, Today.

Schwartz told Press Gazette that plans for the service were in the early stages. The broadcaster will submit its application to Ofcom for the new multiplex by the 28 March deadline.

She said: "We think it's really important in a pluralistic, democratic society to have an alternative point of view and different subject matter. What we don't want to do is be TV lite, so it's a real commitment to current affairs and journalism."

If its bid is successful, Channel 4 Radio plans to launch next year.

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