Liberty planning European pay-radio?
Chris Forrester

Liberty Media, via its subsidiary Liberty Satellite Radio, is now in control at Worldspace, the struggling European and Asian pay-radio broadcaster. Executives from Liberty and Worldspace are visiting Europe this week.

Rapid TV News understands that some aspects of the visit are concerned with meeting Worldspace creditors. However, we also understand that Liberty staffers are also in Europe to examine prospects for pay-radio in Europe and elsewhere internationally. Liberty has a significant stake in Sirius Satellite Radio in the US.

Worldspace has confirmed that it is seeking to sell itself to Liberty Satellite Radio. Worldspace said that such a deal would ensure it is able to carry out a debt repayment plan.

Europe already has at least two potential pay-radio broadcasters in the shape of Ondas Media and new rival ‘Onde Numérique’, formally registered in July, and initiated by Franz Cantarano, formerly VP/Strategy & Development Europe, for Worldspace (and who previously worked at Thales). Recently Cantarano told us: “I’m now committed to the development of a digital radio service, dedicated and tailored to the French market (only), for which I’m just finalising a market survey that was required to test some of its specificities,” he said. “Although I intend to first deploy this service terrestrially (i.e. targeting L-band), I remain a great supporter of DARS in Europe and look forward to – maybe - also contributing to its success, and have now indeed finalised the acquisition of a couple of assets in this regard.”