New media group set to improve Russia's radio broadcasting

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MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - A new media group established to spot Russian pop talent and promote it in Europe will also try to bring Russia's radio broadcasting market up to European standards, the group's top executive said Monday.

Georges Polinski, president of Europa Media Group (EMG), said the group would work to improve the quality of Russia's music-based radio stations and to make the country's radio broadcasting market more transparent.

EMG, which incorporates six Russian radio stations with an estimated 23 million listeners in more than 1,000 cities and towns across the former Soviet Union, has a wide enough outreach to cope with the task, said Polinski, whose ambition is to win over traditional television advertisers.

According to the French newspaper Liberation, Russia's FM radio market is one of the world's most competitive, with some 45 stations vying for young audiences with disposable income. But Russia's radio advertising market was a meager $300 million in 2005, against France's $1 billion.

EMG's main shareholder is French media company Lagardere, a key player on Europe's radio broadcasting market.

French radio broadcasters have been consistently expanding their presence on Russia's FM dial since 1990, when long-running French commercial network Europe 1 launched its Russian subsidiary Europa Plus, which is now part of EMG along with the Moscow-based stations Retro FM, Radio 7 and Melodia, and St. Petersburg's Eldoradio and Kanal Melodia.

The French oldies station Nostalgie followed in the wake, launching a subsidiary in Russia in the early 1990s.

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