Rupert Murdoch set to launch Times Radio as BBC Radio 4 competitor

George Martin
Rupert Murdoch arrives to watch the 2017 US Open Men's Singles final match between Spain's Rafael Nadal and South Africa's Kevin Anderson, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2017.   / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)
Rupert Murdoch is set to take aim at BBC Radio 4 with the move. (Getty)

Rupert Murdoch is set to announce a rival to BBC Radio 4 with the inauguration of a new radio station.

Times Radio will be a DAB channel funded from the marketing budget of The Times titles, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

The station will reportedly feature “opinion led” programmes and is set to be announced later this week.

Writers for The Times such as Giles Coren are likely to make appearances as the newspaper group targets intellectual audiences.

Denny, Scotland - May 3, 2011: The Times newspaper reports on Osama bin Laden's death on May 3rd 2011.
Times radio will feature “opinion led” programmes and several newspaper writers. (Getty)

Sources reportedly told The Sunday Telegraph, that programmes will run uninterrupted with no breaks for advertising.

They also claimed the station’s stated aim is to recruit “young, aspirational” subscribers to The Times.

News UK’s talkRadio, which has run for several years at heavy losses, is reportedly at risk of closure in planning for Times Radio.

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The announcement comes as the BBC is under political pressure over the future of the licence fee as well as from shifting habits for video and audio consumption.

In October it was revealed that Radio 4 had lost 300,000 listeners from a year earlier amid the rise of podcasts.

The increasing reach of commercial rivals such as LBC was also cited as contributing to its poor performance.

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The moves are part of a broader shake-up of News UK by chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

On Friday she replaced the editor of The Sunday Times with the deputy editor of its daily stablemate.

Last year, the Government gave the Times and the Sunday Times permission to share some resources, including journalists, between the two newspapers, which the publications said would help them “stay competitive”.

The sports, travel, property and money desks have since shared resources.

Legal undertakings were given to keep them separate, to protect the independence of the titles, when Murdoch bought them in 1981.

Yahoo News has contacted News UK for comment.