Guardian says radio plan 'ineffective'

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GUARDIAN Media, part of the newspaper group, said yesterday that a proposed arrangement to avoid the ownership restriction established by the 1990 Broadcasting Act, which limits to six the number of licences that can be controlled by one company, was 'wholly artificial and ineffective', writes Gail Counsell.

On the first day of a hearing for judicial review, Guardian argued that the regulator, the Radio Authority, misused its powers when it sanctioned the proposal. The case relates to the bid by Emap, the publisher which already owns three licences, for Trans World Communications, the radio group which owns five licences.

Under the arrangement, Emap wants to put two licences in a 'deadlocked' company owned by it and Schroders, its merchant bankers, to avoid breaching the limit. Guardian, which opposes the Emap bid, holds 20 per cent of TWC.