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Emmis backs Talk Radio U.K. in license bid

Illinois-based Emmis Broadcasting, owner of radio stations in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, is poised to enter the rapidly expanding U.K. radio market.

Emmis is one of the backers of Talk Radio U.K., the favorite to win Britain’s third national commercial radio license.

Talk has bid T3.82 million ($ 5.73 million) for the franchise, more than its nearest rival, Newstalk U.K., a consortium led by publishing giant Associated Newspapers.

Six groups are competing to run Britain’s first all talk national commercial radio network due to start broadcasting early next year.

Talk is led by Media Ventures Intl. Its other backer is Prime Television, a company with broadcasting interests in Australia.

U.K. regulator, the Radio Authority, now has to decide if Talk has bid too high to sustain its business plan over the eight years of the license.

Cost cutting news coverage

Talk claims it is confident it can make a profit despite its hefty bid by keeping costs down by buying news coverage from agencies rather than running its own.

If Talk does succeed, the plan is to broadcast an American-style talk format revolving around phone-ins, debates and conversation.

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