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The Times is set to launch its own radio station, hoping to capitalise on popularity of speech stations like LBC that rake in more than 2.7 million listeners a week.

The ad-free radio aims to bring a range of news, politics, lifestyle and culture programmes, mirroring the broad scope of the print and digital publication.

However, Stig Abell, editor of the Times Literary Supplement and the launch director of the new station, said it does not look to substitute the existing editorial content.

"The purpose is to be the intelligent place to go to for discussion and conversation and a place where people can learn. We want to be the warm and useful voice in people's homes," he said.

Content from some of the Times' podcasts is set to feature on the station, including a new daily podcast, 'Stories of Our Times', fronted by former BBC journalist Manveen Rana.

The channel would also have a listen-again functionality and some shows are to be made into podcast after airing on the radio.

Despite a decline in the proportion of people using radio as their first port of call for news over recent years, Abell is optimistic about the future of this new project.

"There is still a real appetite for live and responsive coverage on the issues of the day. Look at the RAJAR numbers: the speech stations are on the rise.

"People might not come to radio to be told the four things that have happened today, but they might come to radio for a live response to things that are going on, for an exploration of ideas."

The station aims to appeal to a range of demographics to broaden the audience of the publication, which can then be monetised through subscriptions. There are also plans to create commercial partnerships through shows and sponsorships to ensure the station can become self-sustaining.

As well as being available through its own dedicated app, Times Radio will make the most of smart speakers in reaching audiences.

The station, which is set to launch later this year, should also be available on DAB digital radio and the Times' website.

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