by GRANT GODDARD January 2007

Canada’s largest media conglomerate, CanWest Global Communications Corp., has won the new local commercial FM radio licence for Aberdeen, beating three competitors to offer “an eclectic mix of adult-orientated music with particular ABC1 appeal with 24-hour local news” to an adult population of 240,000. Jonathan Arendt, a partner in Seven Broadcast Limited, which holds a 5% stake in the licence, said: "It will be a much better mix than 'Northsound'. There will be a fair amount of rock music in there. There will be soul and oldfashioned R&B, and quite a lot of mellow and eclectic music. The Aberdeen area has a relatively high interest in national and international news compared to the central belt, as well as higher consumption of national stations such as [BBC] 'Radio One', 'Radio Two' and 'Radio Four'. That is partly to do with the number of migrants in the area." Asked about CanWest’s UK radio strategy, Arendt added that the company “will naturally be looking at any opportunities that make sense for them.” Tom Strike, president of CanWest MediaWorks International, said: "CanWest is excited about this further expansion of our radio operations in the UK. This licence will extend CanWest's radio presence in the UK, which began with 'Original FM' in Southampton, which launched on October 1st 2006, and a soon-to-be launched 'Original 106 FM' in Bristol." Leonard Asper, CanWest's president and chief executive officer, added: "We will continue to apply for additional radio licences in the UK, which will hopefully further expand our presence in that market." CanWest is presently considering the sale of its interests in TV and radio operations in Australia and New Zealand, following the introduction of new laws in Australia this year that will loosen restrictions on foreign ownership of its media. The sale could earn as much as £1bn, part of which would be used to finance CanWest’s joint acquisition with Goldman Sachs of Alliance Atlantic Communications Limited, owner of 13 Canadian cable TV stations, which was announced this week. The remainder of the proceeds could easily be used to purchase a struggling UK commercial radio group.

[First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'CanWest Licence Win Extends UK Ambitions', #771, 17 January 2007]

Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at

News: Ofcom Awards New Local Commercial FM Radio Licence In Aberdeen To Canada's CanWest Global Communications Corp. ©2007 Grant Goddard

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