Chrysalis, Emap and Guardian Media Group are set to do battle over one of the UK’s last FM radio licences, each of them hoping to launch a speech and current affairs station for the city.
The three groups are among the 11 applicants to have submitted bids for the new Manchester licence, covering a potential audience of up to 1.5 million adults.
Emap is proposing an all-talk station similar to the CityTalk format it aims to bring to Liverpool. The winner of the Liverpool licence is due to be announced within the next month.
Piccadilly Talk in Manchester would provide a 24-hour mix of local news, sport, discussion and features, and would be based with Emap’s two existing Manchester stations, Key 103 and Magic.
Chrysalis – which owns LBC – is confident the London talk format can be replicated in Manchester. GMBC, a fully local news, information and speech station, has submitted an application, overseen by LBC managing director David Lloyd.
Meanwhile, the Guardian Media Group has bid with RockTalk, a mix of adult-orientated rock music and up to 60 per cent speech.
Canadian media giant Canwest has submitted an application for Original 106 – the same format which launched in Southampton this week, and will be brought to Bristol in the new year. The station's previous bids have all promised a 24-hour staffed newsroom offering updates around the clock.
The new Manchester licence is one of the last large-scale FM licences to be granted by Ofcom. An announcement on which station has won is due in the new year.