Another two radio groups are entering the battle to win the second
Greater London digital multiplex licence as the deadline for
GWR Group, under chief executive Ralph Bernard, has formed a consortium
with Scottish Radio Holdings - called Score Now Limited - and will apply
for the second of the three Greater London licences. The licence will be
awarded next spring and the closing date for applications is 11
If the consortium is successful, it plans to launch seven radio channels
into the digital marketplace via the multiplex.
The radio groups are not yet certain what the new channels will be, and
are still in talks with other service providers.
The new consortium is also waiting for the results of a research
initiative carried out by GWR to identify what listeners want to hear on
Gregory Watson, recently appointed director of operational strategy at
GWR, confirmed that the Opus digital division will sell for the
multiplex if it wins the licence. He also said that a raft of new
appointments will come with the new business.
Watson said: ’This is an open competition and it’s up to the Radio
Authority to award the licence to the best operator. But we have a good
track record and have already established the knowledge and experience
of digital radio, so this puts us in a good position to win the
The respective groups already have a foot in the digital marketplace.
Scottish Radio Holdings’ digital arm, Score Digital was awarded the
Glasgow digital multiplex licence - to go on air next January - and will
continue to bid for both the Edinburgh and Northern Ireland multiplex
GWR’s Now Digital limited has submitted bids for licences in
Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury and Telford. Both groups will continue to
operate respective digital subsidiaries to focus on the regional
The GWR group also has a 63 per cent interest in Digital One, the
national commercial multiplex operator which launched last week with
five national services. These include Planet Rock, Core, Classic FM,
Talk Radio and Virgin.
So far, the new bidders are up against Chrysalis Radio, Talk Radio and
Virgin Radio, which all lost the first Greater London licence to
Chrysalis is applying as a consortium called MXR - containing Border
Soul Media and the Daily Mail Group.Virgin Radio and Talk are applying
as a consortium with Clear Channel International, under the name Switch