News UK has today unveiled plans for the launch of Times Radio, a new national digital radio station in partnership between The Times, The Sunday Times and Wireless.
Times Radio will bring together the journalistic expertise of The Times and The Sunday Times with the speech radio and podcasting experience of Wireless, the company behind talkSPORT, talkRADIO and Virgin Radio UK. The station will launch later this year and broadcast on DAB, online and via app and smart speakers, and be ad break free, with commercial opportunities for sponsors across the schedule.
News UK Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks said:
“We acquired Wireless in 2016 with a clear ambition to bring their audio expertise to our newsbrands. The Times and The Sunday Times deliver world-class journalism to a substantial and highly engaged audience and Times Radio will create a new speech radio outlet to reach an even broader audience who want quality reporting and trusted, expert commentary in real time.”
Times Radio will provide a daily schedule of news, analysis and commentary with a line up of high-profile presenters, as well as contributions from expert commentators from The Times and The Sunday Times.
Editor of The Times, John Witherow, said:
“Times Radio will provide provocative, well-informed, entertaining and useful discussion covering the key stories of the day, and informing the national conversation. Times Radio, infused with our world-class journalism, will be the perfect complement to our print and online offer.”
Tim Levell, latterly Editor of the award-winning Emma Barnett Show at Radio 5 Live, is named as Programme Director for Times Radio. As Programme Director, Tim will work with Times Radio Launch Director, Stig Abell, and a team including Wireless Director of Strategy Jimmy Buckland and Wireless National Speech Radio Controller Liam Fisher to create, manage and format the station.
Wireless CEO Scott Taunton said:
“Since Wireless joined the News UK family, we have been working more and more collaboratively with The Times, lending our radio and podcasting expertise to develop an audio strategy for one of the world’s pre-eminent newsbrands. Last week we announced the launch of a new podcast series - Stories of Our Times - and I’m delighted that with Times Radio we will be investing in a major, high quality new voice for news and current affairs on digital radio, online, on app and smart speakers.”
Stories of Our Times will take the best of The Times’ journalism to create a landmark news & current affairs audio series, and Wireless Studios has been working closely to support The Times’ growing roster of successful podcasts as part of its wider audio strategy.
Meanwhile, News UK can confirm that talkRADIO - which delivered record RAJAR numbers in the last set of results - will continue to broadcast on DAB, online and via app and smart speaker.
More information about Times Radio will be released in coming weeks.
Virgin Radio Groove, a new addition to the Virgin Radio network, officially launched this morning with an all-day takeover of Virgin Radio, kicking off on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky.
Targeted at 30-45 year olds, Virgin Radio Groove focuses on rhythmic pop with a playlist featuring Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Rihanna and David Guetta, and programming includes The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky from 6.30am, followed by Chris Brooks (10am-2pm), Steve Denyer (2pm-6pm) and Bam (6pm-10pm).
Mike Cass, Content Director for Virgin Radio, said:
"We had a phenomenal 2019 with Chris Evans back in the fold and the launch of two stonking new digital stations, Virgin Radio Anthems and Virgin Radio Chilled. The launch of Virgin Radio Groove highlights Wireless’ confidence in the Virgin Radio offering. It’s a sensational station and that will no doubt fast become the go-to destination for music to make you move.”
The launch of Virgin Radio Groove comes as The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky celebrates their first birthday on air. Marking the occasion Chris Evans said:
"This time last year I returned to my spiritual home at Virgin Radio and I have loved every minute of it since then. We instantly changed commercial radio forever - creating the first ad-break free breakfast show, thanks to our partnership with Sky. We are delighted with the listening figures and our numbers have continued to grow every month. Over the next year our plan for the breakfast show is simple; to continue to give it all we’ve got and have the most possible fun along the way."
Virgin Radio Groove is available on smart speaker, on the Virgin Radio app, online at virginradio.co.uk and on DAB+ in London and DAB in Central Scotland,
Virgin Radio Groove joins Virgin Radio Anthems with guitar-led classics from the 60s to the 90s and Virgin Radio Chilled with a laid-back repertoire of singer-songwriters.
The Virgin Radio network (including Virgin Radio, Virgin Radio Anthems and Virgin Radio Chilled) now reaches 1.64m (up 303% year-on-year), delivering 9.2m hours (up 508% year-on-year).