The deal for Dunedin FM, a speech-based station in the similar vein as TWG’s TalkSport brand, will have 940,000 potential adult listeners and is the biggest FM licence to be awarded since media regulator Ofcom gained its parliamentary powers in December 2003.
Ofcom said in a statement it expected Dunedin FM to begin broadcasting at the earliest opportunity, although the company has two years to launch the brand.
TWG beat off stiff competition from 11 other bidders for the licence, which some estimate to be worth over £13m per year in advertising revenue.
Losers out to TWG include Emap, Chrysalis, Guardian Media Group and a consortium backed by Chris Tarrant.
Kelvin MacKenzie, chairman of The Wireless Group, who is smarting after losing his High Court battle with radio audience measurement body Rajar, said he was “enormously grateful” to Ofcom for having the vision to grant a speech licence for the city.
He added: “This will be the first local speech licence to be granted since LBC was launched 31 years ago -- and it's the first one ever outside London.
"The people of Edinburgh have very strong and intelligent views and now they will have a very strong station that will put them to air in a world where people feel increasingly disenfranchised. Speech stations give you a voice."
Meanwhile, Ofcom said Blackburn Broadcasting Company’s The Bee, backed by Two Boroughs Radio Ltd and The Radio Business, had been chosen to run a new licence in the Blackburn area.
The full-service station is expected to have a potential adult audience of 150,000 listeners.
By Kevin May