Rock formats appear to be the 'in' trend on UK radio at the moment. Despite the closure of Kerrang! Radio on FM in the West Midlands on June 14th, we see two new rock stations competing for a mainly male audience joining Absolute (and it's Classic Rock digital spin-off), Real Radio XS, XFM and recent Bauer acquisition Planet Rock.
TeamRock Radio launches sometime in June and is already test transmitting on DAB nationally. The team mainly consists of former GMG Radio people including John Myers, Billy Anderson and on-air presenters such as Moose, Dewsbury and Rachel Houghton who worked on GMG's Real XS. They also have former Planet Rock presenter Nicky Horne, Metal Hammer Editor-in-Chief Alexander Milas and erm...former Bid TV assistant Sophie K.
Going by their test transmissions, TeamRock will playlist a broad range of new and classic rock genres and will playlist Metal for the first time on daytime commercial radio. Unlike other commercial stations, TeamRock won't air spot advertising, instead going for sponsored slots. Heat Radio when operated by Emap did this which led to mid-mornings being sponsored by Ford and afternoons by Diet Coke, yet reverted to spot advertising under Bauer ownership.
A surprising entry into the already saturated rock market is a new outfit which promises to combine sports talk and rock. Eklipse Sports Radio, based in Glasgow will broadcast on DAB Digital Radio in Scotland's central belt with a "tightly formatted rock station interspersed with sports news and interviews" from mid-June.
It'll be interesting to see how this outfit will be able to compete with the might of Clyde 1's sports phone-in and Saturday football output and with Real Radio XS, which in itself may be sold although the recent Competition Commission review into Global Radio's merger with GMG Radio doesn't include Real Radio XS's FM frequency in Paisley as a station they have to sell.
Incidentally Kerrang! Radio will also relaunch on June 14th as a digital only station which Bauer claim will be closer to the editorial of the magazine targeting younger listeners with new music. This will put it in direct competition with TeamRock, while classic rock station Planet Rock will be broadcasting on FM for the first time in the West Midlands, replacing Kerrang! at 1pm on June 14th.
I can't see all of these Rock stations surviving, so will be interesting to see which stations can survive. TeamRock may acquire the Real XS FM licences in Manchester and Paisley, considering Eklipse Sports Radio have decided not to acquire a FM outlet from the Global/GMG divestment and Bauer who have been rumoured to have been negotiating purchasing Absolute Radio from it's Indian owners TIML Radio, which would give Planet Rock additional FM coverage in London and national coverage on AM in addition to it's current national DAB slot and digital satellite coverage.
Considering Planet Rock was until earlier this year an independent station losing money which it's previous owner had subsidised with their own money, the potential for this station under Bauer with FM coverage in the West Midlands alone is staggering. The older male with disposable income surely led to Bauer's decision to dump the Brummie Metal kid for his father.