C4 launches internet radio service

Channel 4 claims to have posed a serious challenge to traditional broadcasters with the launch of an internet radio service which is said to be at the "cutting edge of convergence".

Channel4Radio.com launched on Monday and broadcasts a range of daily programmes that can be listened to at a computer or downloaded to an mp3 player or mobile phone. Unlike conventional radio, the service is available as a series of downloadable segments.

Nathalie Schwarz, director of radio at Channel 4, told Press Gazette: "I think we can compete with the BBC across a wide range of genres — from a speech base that could be news, current affairs or documentary, plus we are also looking for some fresh injection in the music field as well."

Channel 4 said this week's launch is the first step towards launching a portfolio of innovative "4"-branded radio stations delivered by DAB.

The channel intends to apply for the second national DAB licence, which will be advertised at the end of this year.

Schwarz said: "This is just our first launch commission and we have plans to grow and build that over the coming months. Ultimately this will be part of our long-term vision, which will be to launch a number of national branded radio stations."

She said that broadcasting news and current affairs on digital platforms will

enable Channel 4 Radio to complement and supplement Channel 4 News's reputation on television.

She said: "It may be more up to the minute, it may mean more in-depth interviews, maybe more live [content] and certainly much more interaction with listeners.

"We want to exploit the opportunities for combining visual content from television with audio content from radio — obviously we have to do it in a way that enhances the listener experience, but what we don't want to do is to create cheap TV.

"This is the cutting edge of convergence.

Where does radio with pictures meet television?"

The station's schedule includes original content as well as spin-off programming tied in to existing Channel 4 shows.

The launch schedule includes news and current affairs line-up as well as programmes on music, the arts, comedy and sport.

The daily Morning Report will be produced by ITN and is available for download each morning from 7am onwards. This 30-minute programme covers headline stories and issues of the day with in-depth reports.

Another current affairs show is 4Thought, a weekly programme that will feature "radical thinkers, passionate advocates and storming debates" with guests such as Arthur Scargill, George Galloway and Eric Schlosser.

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