Rebranding in autumn for Signal 107
The Signal 107 local radio stations covering Wolverhampton, Kidderminster, Telford and Shrewsbury and Oswestry, are to be rebranded as Greatest Hits Radio from early in September.
The change affects the majority of the local radio licences bought by Bauer from UKRD, Wireless, Lincs FM and Celador in February last year.
Greatest Hits Radio will take in 49 out of the 56 FM licences that it bought, also including Signal 2 in Stoke-on-Trent.
Signal 107 operates from Mander House in Wolverhampton city centre and its DJs include breakfast host Dicky Dodd.
It was created in 2012 as a result of the merger of three stations – The Wolf (which had been broadcasting since 1997), The Severn (previously known in Telford as Telford FM) and The Wyre.
Only four stations, including Signal 1 in Stoke, will keep their names but they will become part of the Hits Radio network. Each will have a local breakfast show.
The remaining three – Lincs FM in Lincoln, Pirate FM in Cornwall and Sam FM in Bristol – will remain as stand alone stations.
The enlarged Greatest Hits Radio network will operate with nine separate drive time shows across seven regions with the West Midlands covered by the Central show.
Digital-only stations acquired as part of the purchases last year will all be closed – including Signal 80s which covers Staffordshire.
Bauer has also confirmed that it will sell national and regional advertising for all stations formerly represented by First Radio Sales from this week after recently acquiring the portion of FRS from Wireless that it didn’t own.
Bauer says the integration of the stations it bought last year into the ‘Hits Radio Brand Network’ will mean it becomes the largest commercial radio network in the UK, with the highest listening hours of any commercial radio brand.
The group also says that it will continue to provide local news, travel, weather and other information broadly at a ‘local multiplex level’ as part of the drive to ensure each of the acquired stations has a path to a digital future. Advertising will be available at a local licence level.
Dee Ford, the group managing director radio at Bauer Radio, said: “Audiences love and trust radio. Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world. This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”
Bauer says the changes mean that some staff roles will be put into consultation for redundancy and freelance contracts will be reviewed.
The group says it is fully committed to supporting all affected employees throughout this period and will be working closely with them over the months ahead.
It is estimated that the current total of approximately 200 on air presenting roles across the former Wireless, UKRD, Lincs and Celador stations will be cut to around 40, with greatest hits and hits stations only requiring one regional show from within each of the Ofcom-approved areas.
Some buildings could be surplus to requirements at a later date as fewer studios are required. Bauer plans to operate regional broadcast centres and says it will maintain a local presence in many areas for news gathering and sales operations.
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