The talks, which are believed to be at an advanced stage, could see Border take 100 per cent of Sunderland City, which broadasts a mix of popular music from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, as well as local news and community information.
Border already operates Century Radio, the regional radio franchise for the North-east of England, which covers the same broadcast area as Sunderland City. As a consequence, the Radio Authority would review the transaction under its public-interest powers.
Sunderland is owned by Minster Radio, one of country's smaller radio groups, which also controls the York-based Minster FM service. GWR, one of the UK's leading commercial radio companies, has a 27 per cent holding in Minster Radio. Radio Investments, another small commercial radio group, owns a 28 per cent stake.
The Radio Authority, the sector watchdog, said yesterday a takeover of the station would be acceptable only if the public interest test was met and provided the new owners respected the "promise of performance" agreed when the eight-year licence was awarded in 1995.