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EDITIONS
Monday, 16 December, 2002, 06:47 GMT
BBC7 radio launches with comedy
BBC7
The station will tap into the BBC's vast radio archive
A two-hour comedy special launched BBC7, the corporation's fifth and final digital radio station on Sunday.

The station, available on digital radio, digital television and online, features new comedy, drama, readings from the BBC's archive and new children's programmes.

We expect listeners to dip in and dip out of the schedule

Mary Kalemkerian
BBC7 editor
Classic comedies from The Goons, Alan Partridge and Tony Hancock were revived when the new digital radio station launched.

The launch programmes were simulcast on BBC Radio 4 and introduced by comedian Paul Merton.

The new radio station follows launches of the BBC's other digital-only stations, Five Live Sports Extra, 6 Music, 1Xtra and the Asian Network.

No news

BBC7 editor Mary Kalemkerian said the station's schedule was "zoned" to help listeners acclimatise to its style.

There is no news, no current affairs and no time checks in the schedule.

Kirsten O'Brien and Jez Edwards
Kirsten O'Brien and Jez Edwards will present children's programmes
"It really is a special kind of radio station," Ms Kalemkerian said.

"The range of the content is so enormous that we expect listeners to dip in and dip out of the schedule as the fancy takes them," she added.

The station will broadcast from 0700 to 0100 Monday to Sunday.

Children will be catered for seven days a week with the Big Toe strand, featuring two hours of stories, games, gossip, competitions and interviews.

The station will also air the entire Sherlock Holmes canon in chronological order and Doctor Who will return to the airwaves on the channel.

Big names

"There is a large, loyal audience for such work," Ms Kalemkerian said.

"We've also got work by Terry Pratchett, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King."

The take-up of digital radio had been slow, but the launch of a 99 set in July left manufacturer Pure Digital struggling to keep up with demand.

The Digital Radio Development Bureau said that before the Pure Digital set was launched, there were approximately 73,000 sets in use around the country.

That figure could top 100,000 by the end of the year, a spokeswoman told BBC News Online.


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