Astral Media and Virgin launch North America's first Virgin radio station in Toronto

    Astral Media's Mix 99.9 becomes Virgin Radio 999 as of 4:00 p.m. today

    TORONTO, Aug. 25 /CNW/ - Astral Media (ACM.A/ACM.B) today announced the
launch of the first North American commercial FM radio station under license
with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Radio International. The powerhouse
partnership was unveiled at a press conference as full details of Toronto's
newest and hottest station, Virgin Radio 999 FM, were released.
    Virgin Radio will begin broadcasting at 4:00 p.m. EDT today on Astral
Media's 99.9 FM Toronto frequency and will replace Mix FM. Energetic,
innovative and irreverent will be the trademark of Virgin Radio, as it focuses
on delivering a very 'Virgin' kind of listening experience.
    Virgin Radio will focus on the hit adult contemporary format and is
promising to shake up the industry by bringing a new sound that's more than
just music to your ears. Two new shows start today and are just the beginning
of a host of exciting new programming developments. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.,
Monday to Friday, Chris Biggs and Taylor Kaye will help you get home by
putting a smile on your dial with their new afternoon drive show "The Rush".
Then from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday, Ryan Seacrest will bring you
all the latest from Hollywood with a three-hour program, rich with
entertainment news, celebrity gossip, hit music and light-hearted commentary.
    "Astral Media's continuous commitment to offering quality and innovative
radio to listeners and advertisers alike is once again exemplified with
today's announcement," said Jacques Parisien, Group President, Astral Media
Radio and Astral Media Outdoor. "With Virgin Radio we hope to create a totally
fresh sound with a brand that appeals strongly to our current audience and
helps us reach out to new listeners. Partnering with Virgin Radio
International brings us many opportunities to leverage the global and local
power of the Virgin brand and gives us a clear mandate to build the best radio
Toronto has ever heard."
    "I am thrilled to be partnering with Astral Media and launching Virgin
Radio 999 FM, so we can serve up a fantastic new format to Torontonians that's
bound to be the bright spot of your morning, noon and night," said Sir Richard
Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group. "Virgin Radio International is
experiencing phenomenal growth around the world and recently we have expanded
to Italy, France, Dubai and India. We are thrilled to add Canada to the list."
    Musically speaking, as you would expect from Virgin, Virgin Radio 999 FM
will be the number one destination for the chart toppers both locally and
internationally. Toronto audience favorites like Mad Dog and Billie will
continue as part of the programming line-up to make sure listeners can start
the day in just the right way.
    Virgin Radio 999 FM will launch a Toronto advertising blitz to help get
the message out. The station's tagline 'It's On' sums up exactly the kind of
attitude you can expect from Virgin Radio 999 FM. Major consumer promotions
will also be rolling out in the coming weeks to bring some new flavour to an
often dull space.
    "This is an exciting day for the people of Toronto and for the entire
Virgin Group," said Ian Grace, President of Virgin Radio International. "With
Astral Media's strength and expertise, and Virgin's international and customer
focused experience, we believe we have built a station that listeners have
been waiting for. Virgin Radio 999 FM is where it's on and so we invite
everyone in Toronto to join us and switch their dial to 999 FM now to make
sure they aren't missing out."
    For more details on Virgin Radio 999 FM, visit

    About Astral Media

    Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty and
pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and iMedia. Astral Media's solid
and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its commitment to
offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for all its

    About Virgin Radio International

    From Bangkok to Bangalore, Delhi to Dubai, Milan to Mumbai and now
Toronto to Toulouse, Virgin Radio International is one of the most exciting
and fastest growing companies in Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. Virgin
launched its first radio station in the UK in 1993. More recently it
established Virgin Radio International to develop opportunities outside of the
UK. This has lead to stations being launched in Thailand, India, Italy,
France, Dubai and now Canada. Other opportunities are being considered in
Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North and South America. For more information
on Virgin Radio International please visit

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
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For further information:

For further information: For more information, images or video footage
please contact: Jen Koster, Hill & Knowlton Canada, (416) 413-4615/(416)
721-6991,; Erica Faltous, Hill & Knowlton
Canada, (416) 413-4695/(416) 400-0171,

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