Channel 4's new radio division sounds out joining RAB

LONDON - Channel 4 Radio is believed to be in discussions to join trade body the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Although no decision has yet been made, the new radio network is understood to have had several preliminary conversations with the industry body with a view to taking up membership.

The decision would mean it would join members including: Capital Radio network GCap Media; Emap Radio, which broadcasts the Kiss, Magic and Big City stations; and Chrysalis Radio, which owns the Heart and Galaxy brands.

Channel 4 Radio would be the most recent addition to the RAB since TalkSport took up membership of the body after the departure of its former chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie in June 2005. 

The group was bought by UTV in 2005 and joined the RAB last November under the stewardship of new chief executive Scott Taunton. MacKenzie had withdrawn from the RAB in 2001, a move understood to have been taken due to the body's links with official radio measurement company Rajar, whose diary-based measurement system he was challenging.

The fledgling Channel 4 Radio network has recently signed a deal with Universal Music giving the record company strategic partner status in the television company's application for the new national DAB multiplex.

Channel 4 Radio hired former Capital strategy and development director Nathalie Schwarz to head up its radio offering, and announced in January its intention to lead a consortium to bid for the new national digital radio multiplex, which is expected to be advertised by Ofcom at the end of 2006.

The network currently only operates across internet platforms, but is understood to be looking at an agressive expansion plan.

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