AFTER more than 10 years, Radio Clyde has lost the exclusive rights to

broadcast live Scottish League football on a Saturday afternoon.

Arch-rivals Scot FM yesterday announced a deal for the Bell's League

Championship and the Coca-Cola Cup during the forthcoming season.

The deal, which will not affect BBC Radio Scotland's live football

coverage, cost the fledgling station little more than #150,000 a season

for the next two years. It is regarded as a cornerstone of Scot FM's

fight for improved listening figures.

At its height, Radio Clyde's Super Scoreboard attracted more than

350,000 listeners -- by far its most popular programme -- and, more

importantly, brought in high revenue from advertising as well as a top

sponsorship deal from Tennents, the brewers.

Scot FM is now looking for sponsorship for its live Saturday sports

coverage, which could mean Tennents moving its involvement to the new

programme. The arrangement will involve a substantial investment in both

personnel and live-broadcast equipment.

Despite Scot FM's announcement, Radio Clyde maintained yesterday that

it was continuing to negotiate with the Scottish football authorities

''for some realism in their charges''. Still up for grabs, after all, is

radio coverage of the Tennents Scottish Cup. But Clyde seems unlikely to

match Scot FM's #150,000a-season fee.

Clyde's programme director, Mr Alex Dickson, said: ''What (the League)

is selling is not the same product which was the fixture card of last

season but a card with at least 23 games moved from Saturdays at the

behest of television.

''Radio suffers as a consequence. The Saturday afternoon bill of fare

will not be as attractive but, for some reason beyond understanding, the

Scottish football authorities want to charge more money than ever

before. The logic and the fairness of this, never mind the good business

sense, escapes us.''

Scot FM's managing director, Mr Tom Hunter, described the deal as

''the biggest thing to happen to us since our launch last September''.

The new deal will clearly be a massive blow to Radio Clyde which,

until now, has been the leading commercial player in live football

coverage. Clyde Super Scoreboard was a huge moneyspinner for the

station, syndicated to commercial stations up and down the country. But

it is a blow which Clyde appears to be prepared to sustain.

The new deal, which is initially for two years, gives Scot FM

commercial rights to live second-half commentary for 41 Bell's League or

Coca-Cola Cup matches, full commentary for the Coca-Cola Cup Final, and

live updates from Bell's League Championship matches in each of the four


Mr Yule Craig, president of the Scottish Football League, said: ''We

were impressed with Scot FM's enthusiastic approach to the game and the

coverage they plan for an important new season in Scotland.''