Universal Music Group and satellite TV provider EchoStar Communications Corp. are in talks to launch a new 24-hour music channel, sources tell Billboard.biz.

Universal Music Group and satellite TV provider EchoStar Communications Corp. are in talks to launch a new 24-hour music channel, sources tell Billboard.biz.

The as-yet-unnamed channel -- an intended alternative to the likes of MTV and Fuse -- is scheduled to bow early next year on EchoStar's Dish Network.

Andy Schuon, formerly president of programming at Infinity Broadcasting, is taking a lead role in the development of the new venture, sources say.

Schuon was previously under the UMG umbrella as chief of the now defunct farmclub.com.

A representative from UMG could not be reached for comment at press time. EchoStar declined comment.

The Dish Network -- rival in the satellite television space to News Corp's DirecTV -- currently claims more than 10 million subscribers.

As previously reported, Universal Music Group's ties to EchoStar date back to 2001 via an eight-year programming alliance (Billboard.biz, Dec. 17, 2001).

Plans to move ahead with the EchoStar channel marks the latest in a series of initiatives by Universal Music Group and its labels to drive their own music video programming.

In 2002 Interscope launched an experimental "artist of the month" promotional program with TiVo, the digital video recording and management service. As part of the program, TiVo subscribers received month-long access to a variety of content from a spotlight act, including music videos, band interviews, and performance rehearsals.

Meanwhile, in January of this year, Interscope was reported to be in talks with DirecTV about launching an "uncensored" cable music network called "1AM."