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Emap launches three stations on Freeview

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Emap is launching three new national digital radio stations on Freeview, underlining the group’s confidence in the potential of digital terrestrial TV to boost the uptake of digital radio.

The move, which Emap hopes will also beef up its portfolio of music brands, sees The Hits, Q and Magic launch as national radio brands on Freeview on July 1.

The stations will join Emap brands Kiss, Kerrang! and Smash Hits!, which launched as digital radio stations nationally last year.

The Hits is also launching on the Greater London 2 multiplex, where it exists as a simulcast of the brand’s TV station content.

Last week, Kiss, Kerrang! and Smash Hits! gained an extra 2.5 million listeners on their first Rajar measurement across all listening platforms.

The three digital stations helped Emap to grow its overall share of commercial radio listening by 12.9% over the first quarter of 2003.

Emap claimed the figures demonstrated there is now a substantial commercial radio audience for digital radio services, kick-started by distribution on Freeview.

Emap Performance chief executive Tim Schoonmaker said: “Freeview is demonstrating that the way people listen to the radio is changing.”

Emap also claimed that launching all of its radio brands on cable and Sky Digital could not be ruled out in the future.

To date, Freeview is already received in 1.4 million homes, with 50,000 new receivers currently being sold every week.

The Hits will be a sister radio format of Emap’s music TV channel of the same name, aimed at 15 to 34-year-olds.

Magic will be a national version of the London-based Magic 105.4 service.

Q will be a new radio format, based around the music featured in Emap’s monthly magazine of the same name.