THE boss of a new radio station has claimed there is room in the market for yet another broadcaster.
Due to go on air from Dublin's Docklands next month, Radio Nova on 100.3fm will cover the greater Dublin area after chief executive David Tighe signed a contract with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland yesterday.
"People have said that we are mad launching a new radio station when there is already such competition in the Dublin market and with advertising spends tighter than ever before.
"We don't underestimate the challenge. But equally, we don't underestimate the opportunity," said Mr Tighe, the former CEO of Limerick's Live 95FM, who said he hopes Radio Nova, which is targeting the 25-to-44-year-old age group, will capture 5pc of the market by 2012.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has signed a 10-year contract with Radio Nova. The station now plans to spend €300,000 to launch the station with advertising, including television and promotions.
However, a leading media buyer believes the station, which will employ 18 full-time and 14 part-time staff, faces a "big challenge".
Jill Downey, of media buying agency Starcom, said: "We welcome any new business but the fact remains Dublin is already the most competitive radio market out there. The audience they are after is one every station wants, and it's probably not the best time to be launching a new station."
Industry sources say Radio Nova has pitched its rate card at €120 per spot in between rival stations Spin 103.8 and Q102.
"This is at a time when the market is very soft, and agencies are chasing value. The key question for clients will be what is Radio Nova going to add to a schedule in terms of reach or unique listeners," said Ms Downey.
Mr Tighe claims the classic rock station will stand out by "not being bland".
"A lot of today's radio has become predictable with stations afraid to try something new. This is where Radio Nova can offer something different. We want to have fun on the air and we want our listeners to be part of that," he said.
The only presenter yet announced for the station is New Zealander Pat Courtenay who previously presented on Sunshine Radio and Energy 103, and who will host the station's breakfast show.
The original Radio Nova was launched in 1981 by the late pirate radio operator Chris Carey. Hugely popular with the public, future broadcasting stars Anne Cassin, Bryan Dobson, Dave Harvey, Scott Williams and Gareth O'Callaghan all started their careers with the pirate before it closed in 1986 after competition from 2fm and a drop in revenue.
While some industry experts consider the use of the Radio Nova name by the new station as a clever marketing move, some staff associated with the original station remain unimpressed.
They include former newsreader Sybil Fennell, the widow of Chris Carey, who lives in the UK. "I think it's in bad taste for them to use the Nova name but legally there is nothing I can do about it," she said.
Nova will spend €300,000 to launch the station with advertising and promotions.