Friday 11 June 2021 1:45 pm

GB News takes on LBC with radio station launch

GB News today announced plans to launch a national radio station as early as next month as the startup puts talk radio rivals such as LBC in its sights.

The company is in the final stages of securing a long-term deal for spectrum on the Digital One commercial radio multiplex, which would allow it to broadcast across the UK.

The move comes just two days before GB News launches its new TV service, which is set to go live on Sunday evening.

The deal with telecoms infrastructure giant Arqiva would allow GB News Radio to reach 91 per cent of households across the UK.

The launch will create a major new rival to LBC, the talk radio station owned by media group Global, as well as Murdoch-owned Talkradio.

The radio stations have built successful business models by airing lively news and current affairs programmes hosted by opinionated presenters.

The setup is widely considered to be the basis for GB News’ new TV offering.

Chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos said: “GB News is a digital start-up designed to bring greater plurality of voices to UK media so we’re passionate about delivering our programmes on every platform we can, including live DAB digital radio.”

He added that it was a “considerable challenge” to expand into radio so quickly, but said the opportunity was “too great to miss”.

GB News said it was rare for spectrum to become available and that it had won a highly competitive selection process.

The channel’s launch this weekend will mark the biggest shake-up in TV news for three decades, with the nascent channel promising a “boldly different” approach.

The venture has announced a string of high-profile hires in recent months, including ITV veteran Alastair Stewart, Sky’s Colin Brazier and BBC newsreader Simon McCoy.

Today it announced the appointment of former Sky News anchor Isabel Webster.