A BROAD choice for 2.3 million listeners was promised yesterday by

Central Scotland Radio after it had won the licence to broadcast on FM,

beating six competitors.

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The new station is backed by Grampian Television, which holds 55% of

the shares, and Border Television with 35%. The remaining 10% will be

available for public subscription. The station will be based in Leith

and will have a staff of 35.

Sir David Steel, CSR's chairman, said in Edinburgh that the new

station, which would operate from September 1 next year, would provide a

mixture of news, information, and entertainment tailored to meet the

distinctive needs of listeners.

However, one of the unsuccessful competitors, Radio Six, which would

have broadcast from Kirk o' Shotts, said the decision had been made

without real knowledge or understanding of Scotland and its people.

Mr Tony Currie, Radio Six's managing director, said: ''Given the

current controversy over the takeover of ITV companies, we would

question the wisdom of the Radio Authority entrusting the new radio

station to two of those most vulnerable.

''It is regrettable that no new players or fresh investment are being

given the opportunity to expand the Scottish broadcasting clique,'' he


Mr Currie said there was a strong possibility of ITV companies taking

each other over. If, for example, Grampian was taken over by Scottish

Television or by foreign investors, the radio element would be quickly


Earlier, Sir David had said that at the core of Central Scotland Radio

programming would be a unique Scottish view of Britain, the world, and

Central Scotland's place in it.

''We will be primarily a talk station with news, travel information,

and weather reports. Sport, politics, and the arts will be covered and

listeners will be heavily involved through regular phone-ins,'' he said.

Sir David said the station would try to counteract the bias in

existing radio in which affairs in the London area predominated.

In its bid Central said that listeners in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the

Central Lowlands would be offered a mainly speech-based programme which

would extend what was already available on the BBC.

Mr Donald Waters, Grampian's deputy chairman and chief executive, said

it had a long-standing commitment to local radio through its Moray Firth

Radio shareholding.

It believed it could benefit the listening public of Central Scotland

through its experience as one of Britain's most popular regional

television stations.

Mr Robin Salvesen, chairman of another unsuccessful competitor Central

Scotland Broadcasting Ltd, said: ''We are disappointed by the decision,

not only for ourselves but for the people of Scotland as they are the

real losers.

''Our station would have introduced a new concept in Scottish radio

broadcasting and a challenge to the existing broadcasters.''

The Radio Authority also announced three other local radio stations to

be launched next year. Two will serve Manchester -- Faze FM Radio will

broadcast dance music, and Fortune easy listening music. This will give

Manchester five independent local radio services.

The third, Channel Travel Radio in Kent, will provide an information

service for travellers to the Channel Tunnel on the M20 motorway. All

four licences are for a maximum period of eight years.