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Absolute name change for Virgin Radio

Virgin Radio is to be rebranded as Absolute Radio in a bid to tap into an international audience, a radio station spokeswoman said today.

Virgin Radio was bought by TIML, part of the Times of India Group, in June this year.

The company did not buy the Virgin Radio brand licence and were legally obliged to change the radio station's name within 90 days of purchase.

The brand switch will be completed by 1 October and in the meantime the new brand will be gradually introduced across the station's output.

An Absolute spokeswoman said: "When TIML bought the radio station a decision was taken not to buy the brand licence.

"The Virgin Radio brand licence came with the restriction that the radio station had to remain a UK radio business.

"In the changing digital media landscape that was not a viable business option for us.

"We are moving forward and drawing a line under a very successful 15 years of Virgin radio and setting up a new media brand with international aspirations.

"We are looking to diversify the brand into live music, ticketing, TV, mobiles and gaming."

The Times of India Group already owns 30 radio stations in India and Absolute Radio said its international ambitions were focused on the North American and European markets.

Donnach O'Driscoll, chief executive of Absolute, said: "Absolute is a brand that is unapologetic, cheeky and infectious with a long-term brand building and investment strategy behind it.

"We are going to develop this brand, with radio at its core, and diversify the business into other related areas. Our ambition is international - this is just the start."

Virgin Radio has an audience of 5 million listeners.