The overlaying local digital licences in England and Wales are firmly fixed in the sights of a newly formed consortium of leading UK radio groups, announced yesterday.

Branded MXR, the consortium comprises Capital Radio, Chrysalis Radio, Jazz FM in the north-west of England and Guardian Media Group. It plans to bid for the five regional digital licences, starting with the north-east of England.

Consortium members will exclusively offer their analogue stations in the target licence areas to MXR while developing digital-only programming.

Hedging its bets, Capital Radio also plans to enlist its new Glasgow/Edinburgh station Beat 106 in the Switchdigital consortium, led by The Wireless Group. TWG, headed by former editor of The Sun, Kelvin Mackenzie, was recently awarded a London digital licence and plans to bid for the central Scotland equivalent later this year.

News source: Financial Times