A Channel 4-led group has been granted the rights to launch ten new commercial digital radio stations.
Media regulator Ofcom announced the decision this morning, allowing the 4 Digital group to prepare to launch its ten channels as part of a major expansion of digital radio in the UK.
Sky News, Emap, UTV Radio, Carphone Warehouse and UBC Media all own a ten per cent stake in the group and their interest is reflected in the variety of planned stations.
UTV's Talk Radio format, Sky News Radio, Asian-oriented Sunrise Radio and Virgin Radio Viva all feature.
So do a children-oriented Disney channel and Emap's women-focussed station based on Closer magazine. Channel 4 will target the 30- to 54-year-old market with its Pure4 station and the 15- to 29-year-old demographic with E4 Radio, while speech-based Channel 4 Radio appears to mirror the BBC Radio 4 format.
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: "Today's licence award is an important development for radio listeners who will benefit from a greater variety of commercial national radio services.
"The award will give a real boost to the DAB [digital audio broadcasting] platform, which we believe will form the cornerstone of radio provision in the future."
The watchdog said one other application for the multiplex licence had been received, adding that the award represented part of "a significant expansion in both national and local digital radio services over the next three years".