Fox News Expands Radio Service

With a newly constructed Manhattan studio and expanded news offerings, the fledgling Fox News Radio is marking a key step in its growth plans.

The service started two years ago and has offered one-minute newscasts to affiliate stations. On Wednesday morning, Fox News is announcing that it's offering the longer newscasts that many talk-oriented stations demand.

"It's important if we're in this business that we're in it in the visible ways that the old-line guys are in it," said Kevin Magee, senior vice president of Fox News Radio (search ).

Fox's earlier agreement with Clear Channel (CCU ), the nation's largest radio ownership group, will take effect this summer and, by August, the news service's outlets will reach about 500 nationwide, Magee said. There are more than 10,000 commercial radio stations in the country.

Many talk stations spend hours criticizing major media outlets as liberal, then turn to market leaders ABC and CBS for newscasts at the top of the hour, he said. Fox will offer a newscast with many of the same personalities and tone as seen on Fox News Channel (search ), he said. Laurie Dhue was scheduled to anchor the first five-minute newscast.

"It's not opinionated," he said. "It's straight news, but it's news fair and balanced, where we believe both sides should get a fair hearing."

The Clear Channel deal and Magee's appointment earlier this year — he was a top executive at Fox News Channel — are important steps in helping Fox News Radio reach critical mass, said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio, which is owned by Clear Channel.

Fox News Radio, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS ), currently presents talk shows with Tony Snow and Alan Colmes. Magee said he expects to expand that lineup, but offered no details. Fox News Radio recently hired 30 people to put its radio expansion plans in effect.

News Corp. is the parent company of the Fox News Channel, which operates