GWR and allies set to go digital

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The Independent Online
GWR GROUP and its allies Talk Radio and cable company NTL looked set to launch the UK's first national commercial digital radio stations next year after their group emerged yesterday as the sole bidder for the radio licence.

The GWR-led Digital One consortium had been widely expected to be the only bidder for the 12-year licence as potential rivals have opted instead to target regional and local permits. Those offerings will include GWR's Classic FM station, as well as Talk Radio and Virgin Radio, plus seven new channels ranging from a plays, books and comedy offering to an all- night club dance station.

Britain's Radio Authority plans to award the permit in September. The Digital One partners said they have invested a total of about pounds 10m in the consortium, which will launch its services officially in October 1999.