The BBC has confirmed that BBC Radio 7 will be relaunched in April as BBC Radio 4 Extra. This will coincide with the launch of a searchable database of hundreds of episodes of Desert Island Discs.
Highlights at launch on the station will include The Now Show Extra and The News Quiz Extra, hour-long versions of the shows featuring behind-the-scenes content, and Comedy First, premiering new comedy before it appears on Radio 4.
The new Desert Islands Disc database meanwhile will allow listeners to download five hundred of the most recent episodes of the programme. There will also be a list of every guest's choices since the show's launch in 1942.
Hour-long classic editions will also be broadcast on Radio 4 Extra, hosted by Kirsty Young. The Desert Island Discs archive will be accessible via the Radio 4 website from April.
Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio & Music, announced the news and explained how plans for the new station reflect the approach of aligning digital-only networks more closely with analogue 'sister' stations.
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He also reiterated the corpration's commitment to improving DAB coverage, expanding the number of ways people can listen and driving innovation, such as 'HD sound'.