4 Digital Group was a media consortium in the United Kingdom. The group won the licence to operate the second national DAB radio multiplex , as advertised by Ofcom in December 2006. [2] The consortium, led by Channel 4 Radio, is a combination of the existing commercial radio operators and brands new to radio. The group said that they wish boost the up-take of digital radio in the United Kingdom in a similar manner to the growth of digital television since the introduction of Freeview . Their strategy for this is the introduction of ten new national stations, including both speech and music services, [5] [7] and advertising for the format.

Demise

In October 2008 Channel Four Television Corporation announced that it was abandoning its plans for digital radio stations. [19] Subsequently, the licence was returned to Ofcom . As such, all details below refer to purely what was "planned", and was taken from promotional material of the time. None of it actually occurred.

New stations

The planned stations were:

E4 Radio was aimed to be a contemporary music and entertainment service targeted at 15- to 29-year-olds delivered in the style of E4 Television . [4] The proposed content is popular music, entertainment and comedy. The channel aims to experiment with new talent, ideas and music.

Channel 4 Radio was to be a proposed speech station, including debate, opinion, comedy and drama programming, with a considerable news and current affairs output. The target audience would be 30- to 54-year-olds.

Pure4 was a proposed contemporary music station, which would feature speech content about their artists and bands. Programming will also include arts, film, books and exhibitions.

Talk Radio was to be a speech station proposed by UTV which would mix news and features with talkback programming. Content would be set by the day's news.

The plan for Bauer Radio's proposed station, Closer , was for a music station targeting women aged 30+ with a broad range of contemporary and classic popular hits and topical chat on issues such as health, diet, wellbeing, fashion and relationships, using a mix of both celebrity and listener real-life experiences.

Sky News Radio was a proposed 24-hour news station. The proposal was a joint venture between Sky , which runs a television news channel, and Chrysalis Radio , which owned LBC 97.3 FM and LBC News 1152 AM in London. However LBC's new owners Global Radio pulled out of the deal. [20] It is unknown whether the channel will still go forwards, or what will replace it.

Based on the London station, Sunrise Radio UK was a proposed station feating Asian culture, primarily music, including Bollywood , Bhangra and Asian folk music. Speech content will focus on news and features tailored to the two million British people with Asian backgrounds.

Operated by CanWest MediaWorks, Original was a proposed contemporary and classic popular music station. The station hopes to employ well-known presenters and produce specialist evening music shows.

Radio Disney aimed to be the first national UK radio station broadcasting children's programmes full-time. Aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds, the core of the service will be a variety of suitable and popular music.

Other Services

As well as innovative new radio stations, 4 Digital Group planned to introduce a national Podcast Service, providing an opportunity for niche services catering for a diversity of passions, interests and communities to reach audiences throughout the UK.

Downloadable radio podcasts range from:

  • Gaydar (gay and lesbian community)
  • Club Asia (Asian dance music)
  • NME (new music)
  • IMG (sport)
  • Penguin (audio books)
  • The Financial Times (business)
  • The Prince's Trust (youth new music and issues)
  • Media Trust (social action)
  • Colourful (multi-cultural speech)

Transmission

4 Digital Group plans to build and operate a transmission network capable of reaching nearly 88% of the adult population on the move (outdoor), nearly 80.5% in home (robust indoor), and 45% using handheld receivers and DAB coverage for 94% of the motorway network in England, Scotland and Wales.

Marketing

4 Digital Group plans to commit £4.5 million to general marketing of digital radio in the first three years of the licence period, together with more than £25 million lue to support the launch of the individual new radio stations.

Group companies

The group companies were: [14] [2]

Initial Shareholders

Station providers

Podcast providers

Strategic partners