Monday, 3 June 2013

More cuts at Bauer Radio

After recent decisions at Bauer to close their Birmingham station Kerrang! Radio on June 14th replaced by a relay of Planet Rock on DAB and the earlier decision to close TFM Radio and merge output with Newcastle's Metro Radio along with the regionalisation of local breakfast shows on Magic AM, Scotland now takes the turn for cuts with the decision to network the Breakfast show on all but one AM station in the group.

Clyde 2, Forth 2, Tay AM, West Sound and Northsound 2 will all share a new breakfast show presented by  Robin Galloway, a presenter well known for his wind-ups on Real Radio a few years ago. To give Bauer credit, the presenter should be able to convert those who'll miss local breakfast shows.

According to the Bauer presser, those presenters who lose their breakfast gigs will be offered a new show on the networked station schedule elsewhere and will feature a new topical phone-in regarding Scottish independence.

Considering Bauer sell their local stations under the 'Place' banner, based on their locality, networking is creeping in via the back door, yet rivals such as Global's Gold have networked everything on AM from London since the rules changed with the exception of Wales which continues to have a four hour 'national' show from Cardiff from noon-4pm weekdays on it's licences based in Cardiff and Wrexham.

UTV Radio continue to provide local programming on their AM stations during daytime hours, although Signal 2 and Swansea Sound take networked programming from their FM stations during evenings, while Pulse 2 is largely automated off-peak.

Can we see Bauer merging more station output in the future?  Wave 105 appears to be the exception to the rule of standalone stations being revenue earning successful stations being the market leader in the Solent market, yet the company could save money by relaying Magic 105.4 from London.   Yorkshire's Radio Aire and Hallam FM could also become one station.  Aire in particular has suffered from poor Rajar in-part due to poor reception issues in Leeds.  At one point, the sister station Magic 828 had more listeners than Aire despite being an AM oldies station.

Bauer should also consider bringing in a unified brand name for their AM stations in Scotland.  The nation's radio output is of course different to England due to the lack of BBC Local radio, yet it'll be an easier sell to advertisers, rather than than the mix of local brand names the networked greatest hits output currently has.

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