The Guardian Media Group has been given the green light to launch its 14th radio station after it won what is likely to be the UK’s last-ever FM commercial radio licence.
The Guardian publisher was selected as the winning applicant for the licence, covering a population area of about 600,000 adults in north and mid-Wales, and will launch the new station, Real Radio Wales, no later than December 2010.
GMG Radio said the station would be targeted primarily at 25- to 54-year-olds and will include speech, regional information and a 24-hour news service.
The service will employ three broadcast journalists, with news outside of daytime hours provided by the GMG Radio ‘news hub’in Cardiff – a move that the company said would allow it to continue to provide Wales-specific ‘significant local news developments’around the clock.
‘Real Radio will have a greater commitment to news and topical information than the existing commercial services and will maintain a news service containing local material 24 hours a day,’the broadcaster said in its licence application to media regulator Ofcom.
‘Local events and happenings will be the heart of our speech output. We are strongly committed to broadcasting a news service the area can rely on at any time of the day or night.
“We will establish Real Radio as the first port of call for local listeners looking for accurate up-to-the-minute news bulletins.”
GMG Radio said it hoped the station would build a weekly audience of 102,000 listeners by the end of its third year on air.
The licence award sees the group expand its presence in Wales. Another Real Radio-branded station already broadcasts along the south Wales coast.
It will bring the total number of stations run by the publisher-turned-radio group to 14, covering most of the major population areas of the UK including central Scotland, London, the Midlands, Yorkshire, the north-west and the north-east.