Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Smooth Wallpaper Radio
Today is the first day of Smooth Radio coming under the control of it's new owner Global Radio. However the company only owns two of the licences currently in London and the West Midlands as the other licences in northern England and Glasgow remain in hold separate with Real & Smooth Ltd.
Moving the studio to Global's Leicester Square broadcast centre will stem the losses from the London licence, which has continually hemorrhaged listeners under GMG/R&S Ltd due to the clash in format with Hot AC Heart and Bauer's soft AC format Magic 105.4.
Global have made some subtle tweaks to the output today, regular speech features have been removed, such as Our Tune from the Breakfast Show and Lynn Parsons's quiz alongside specialist output on a Friday evening. It also appears that new music that was playlisted under GMG/R&S has been removed, although stubbornly the second to last song played on Smooth from Laser House in Salford was Daft Punk's latest track, which jarred terribly amongst the classic hits.
However The Golden Hour has been saved, presumably as it's heavy on music.
Like other Global brands, Smooth has become more music intensive with longer sweeps and short speed links which has made it an easier listen for those who don't like speech heavy links on music radio. It also compliments Global's sister brands, rather than competing with them. There are tracks which crossover with Heart and Gold, however as Global specialise in 'mood radio', this isn't a problem.
I think Smooth will have more changes once the issues with the Competition Commission are resolved. Global now own two over 50's brands, the male skewed Gold which broadcasts on AM and now the female slanted Smooth which if Global don't have to sacrifice any of the regional licences contested on the more valuable FM frequencies, which surely will either lead to a merger or a sale of the less viable AM station.
To the normal listener, there isn't much to complain about as the regular presenters during the day have stayed with only small changes in overnight output with a shorter night shift and an early breakfast show presented by Global stalwart Nicola Bonn who has presented overnight shifts on Heart.
Anoraks on the radio message boards are not happy alongside a couple of people on Facebook, however I imagine that is due to the company who has taken over, rather than any real programming changes. Niggling about technical problems on day 1 is petty.
It's a big improvement to how the station was sounding last week or even yesterday as the takeover was near and Global should be congratulated on maintaining the brand, however toxic it has been in London.