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Bauer to give Midlands FM frequency to Absolute Radio

By | Published on Thursday 16 July 2015

Bauer Media

Bauer Radio is changing the service it pumps out on the FM channel it controls in the West Midlands, so that from September people tuning in will hear Absolute Radio rather than sister station Planet Rock.

The frequency was originally used by another Bauer radio brand – Kerrang! Radio – but was switched to Planet Rock after the media firm acquired the previously digital-only station in February 2013. Bauer then went on to buy Absolute in July the same year.

Absolute has only ever been available on FM in London, being an AM and DAB service across the rest of the UK. Bauer is now capitalising on a recent relaxation of station format rules instigated by media regulator OfCom to use the Midlands FM frequency for Absolute.

According to Radio Today, since Bauer switched the Midlands channel from Kerrang! to Planet Rock it has lost about a third of its audience, so the media group will be hoping that Absolute will win some of those lost listeners back.

While the majority of programmes airing on Absolute in the Midlands will come from the London-based service, there will be some local programmes and coverage of local football teams. Ads will also differ to allow regional advertisers to appear.

Confirming the switch, Bauer’s Group MD for National Radio Steve Parkinson told reporters: “As well as offering more choice to radio listeners in the West Midlands, this will unlock fantastic opportunities for Absolute Radio and Bauer as a whole, allowing us to drive market share and increased commercial revenues”.

It’s thought that Absolute has become a priority service for Bauer, and the firm may well be looking to ramp up the brand amidst rumours rival Global Radio is planning to move Xfm more into Absolute territory with a Chris Moyles-led revamp later this year.

Planet Rock – like Kerrang! Radio – will continue to air online and digitally.