Forth 3 radio win could create 20 jobs

SRH: pledge to cover Scottish news

Twenty editorial jobs could be created if Scottish Radio Holdings succeeds in its bid to win the Edinburgh, Fife and Lothians radio licence. The group would also draw on 60 other journalists from its other Scottish stations.

It was originally thought that SRH’s proposed station, Forth 3, would be devoted to country music, but its decision to be speech-based means, if the bid succeeds, it would go head to head with BBC Radio Scotland.

Forth 3 would broadcast hourly news bulletins along with coverage of Scottish business and political news. It would also include features and specialist programmes ranging from relationships and the working environment, to contemporary education.

Scottish company SRH has pledged that its commitment to covering Scottish news and politics would set it apart from its “London-dominated, Glasgow-based rival”, BBC Radio Scotland.

Jack Irvine, executive chairman of PR company Media House International, which represents SRH, said: “I feel that BBC Radio Scotland has become immensely stodgy. They put on an arts programme at 6pm – why stop news then? Our news would run from 5 to 7pm.

“Its news is just the national headlines.

We will have breaking news about all that is going on in the Scottish Parliament.”

The Wireless Group (TWG), owner of Kelvin MacKenzie’s TalkSport, is also putting in a speech-based bid that could create seven editorial posts. The proposed station would be called Dunedin, an old word for Edinburgh, and while covering Scottish, UK and international news, there would be a strong focus on local news in Edinburgh.

TWG business development director Calum Macaulay explained it would not be a direct competitor to the BBC: “We would be more populist and entertaining.

We will focus on good-quality local news and sport. We already run a successful speech-based station and have knowledge and expertise of operating speech profitably.”

Other contenders are believed to be Virgin, owned by Scottish Media Group; a consortium that includes Scotsman publisher Andrew Neil, Kwik Fit founder Sir Tom Farmer and Emap’s Castle FM; Guardian Media Group; and GWR.

The winning bidder will be announced in December.

By Sarah Lagan

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