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Last Updated: Monday, 7 March, 2005, 18:26 GMT
UTV secures new radio franchise
A radio
The new licence will run for a 12 year period
Independent broadcaster UTV has won the franchise for a new commercial radio station for Greater Belfast.

U105 beat off competition from 10 other companies to secure the 12-year licence.

The new station is aimed at the over 45s and will provide topical speech and music.

Regulator Ofcom said the UTV bid best fulfilled the criteria of catering for the tastes and interests of listeners and broadening listener choice.

Other companies bidding for the licence included some with heavyweight media experience and backing from several well known personalities, however, UTV was always among one of the front runners.

As well as its local television operation, UTV also has radio interests in the Irish Republic - and this will give it an all island radio presence.

Commercially it has the advantage of being able to exploit its existing resources - including its on-air talent.

The company says it is primarily targeting those over 45 - and says it will provide a strong alternative to BBC Radio Ulster.

BBC NI's business editor James Kerr:
"UTV was always among one of the front runners, and Ofcom said the 12 year licence would go to its U105 station"

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