Aumonier plans radio network

A venture headed by commercial radio veteran John Aumonier is hoping to break into the digital radio market with a network of stations for football fans.

A venture headed by commercial radio veteran John Aumonier is

hoping to break into the digital radio market with a network of stations

for football fans.



Radio First is in development but is likely to begin recruiting a sales

force later this year.



The company, which will make its debut on the alternative investment

market this week, has already signed deals that will give three football

clubs a 50 per cent stake in their own stations in exchange for

exclusive digital broadcast rights.



The Premier League clubs Aston Villa, Chelsea and Southampton are to be

joined by up to five others to form the Fan Radio Network.



Aumonier is also working on European deals.



The network is being billed as ’an informal marketing group for national

advertisers wishing to reach listeners in major markets across the UK

with a one-stop buy’.



However, a spokesperson pointed out that carriage had not yet been

finalised.



She said: ’We are in discussions with existing carriers and also bidding

for new licences.’



Consumer acceptance of digital radio is being hampered by the cost of

sets - currently around the pounds 500 mark - although this could be

halved in coming months.



Aumonier was responsible for launching Radio First in 1995 after heading

Virgin Radio and founding Talk Radio.



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