Radio pullout sparks job losses at Channel 4

LONDON - The closure of Channel 4's radio division will result in 15 job losses and it is understood that former GCap Media national sales director Simon Daglish will not now join the broadcaster as originally planned.

Radio pullout sparks job losses at Channel 4
Radio pullout sparks job losses at Channel 4

Channel 4's withdrawal from digital radio, exclusively revealed by MediaWeek.co.uk this morning (10 October), also raises question marks over the future of Bob Shennan, Channel 4 director of radio and former Radio 5 Live controller, brought in by the broadcaster to lead its radio venture.

In August, Daglish was confirmed in the sales role, although it is now understood that he will not take up the post as planned.

The 15 job losses from Channel 4 radio are not in addition to the 150 jobs losses announced last month, as part of the broadcaster's plans to save £100m this year and in 2009.

Channel 4 estimates that its withdrawal from digital radio will save £10m in 2009. It is believed that between the shareholders, and further investment from Channel 4, up to £4 million has already been spent on the venture.

A conference call with Ofcom, which granted 4DG's licence in July 2007, was scheduled for 10am this morning with the 4DG shareholders: Channel 4, BSkyB, Carphone Warehouse, UTV, Bauer Media and UBC Media.

Ofcom said it will meet with the other members of the 4Digital Group over the next few days to discuss how to take matters forward and is "in discussions with other multiplex operators, and the BBC, to consider how best to secure a viable outcome which is in the interests of radio listeners and the industry".

Channel 4 said it would consult with its fellow 4DG shareholders about the implication for the second digital multiplex license granted by Ofcom in July 2007.

Andy Duncan, Channel 4 chief executive, said: "We've taken this decision very reluctantly. We've pursued our radio plans in good faith and continue to believe DAB has a strong future and that we could make a return from radio in the medium term.

"Frustratingly, our plans have been overtaken by a drastic recent downturn in our revenues and we will have to forgo this future profit stream. We can no longer afford the short-term investment necessary given, that we are having to cut so deeply across all parts of the organisation."

4DG had been in talks over the past three months with Ashley Tabor, group chief executive of Global Radio, about merging its planned digital radio multiplex with Digital One. The talks had yet to reach a conclusion.

4DG's original bid had included plans to launch 10 new national digital radio stations, including its own three offerings. It was then awarded a 12-year licence to operate the second national commercial DAB multiplex on July 6, 2007.

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