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Brighton’s Juice and Exeter’s Radio Exe become more local

By | Published on Friday 26 August 2016

Juice 107.2

Two UK local radio stations have just got more local. Brighton’s Juice 107.2 yesterday announced it was back in 100% local ownership after radio group UKRD – which only bought into Juice last year – sold its share in the company.

The change in ownership will also result in new investment in the business and a management rejig, with returning MD Laurence Elphick saying of the changes: “We look forward to creating a radio station that truly reflects the people, places and sounds of our unique home town – proudly independent, inclusive, open-minded and irreverent as Brighton deserves”.

The station’s founder and director Daniel Nathan, meanwhile, said that the changes at the business were “a hugely positive development and a real vote of confidence in our passionately committed team”.

The developments at Juice in Brighton follow the news earlier this month that media firm Celador has sold its 40% stake in Radio Exe, which means the Exeter-based radio station is now also wholly locally owned. There had been speculation that Celador might want to reposition the station under its Breeze network, but that never happened, and was never going to, according to Radio Exe’s management.

Exe Broadcasting Director Paul Nero told Radio Today: “It’s not always been easy and we haven’t always got everything right, but we’ve watched with interest as supposedly knowledgeable people predicted Radio Exe would be swallowed up into a larger company. That’s never been on the cards. We’ve always made clear that, despite generous offers over the years, right now we’re buyers, not sellers”.

Local radio stations becoming more local is news, of course, because the general trend in UK broadcasting has been in the other direction, ie local stations being bought up by national media groups. Which is something Exeter’s MP Ben Bradshaw – who had a stint as Culture Secretary in the last Labour government – noted when commenting on the recent changes at Radio Exe.

He told reporters: “The trend in British radio has been completely one way: national stations buying local ones and effectively closing them down. I’ve watched the hard work and commitment that local broadcasters have put into Radio Exe and it’s no surprise that they have prevailed in keeping Exeter’s station local”.

Talking of Radio Exe, remember when an anonymous party objected to Global Radio’s bid to trademark Radio X after it relaunched Xfm under that name last year?

Well, as we expected, the objecting party was indeed Radio Exe. But, says the Exeter station, it has now reached an agreement with Global so that Radio Exe and Radio X can co-exist. Now we just need someone to launch Radio Ex, 24/7 bitter dedications to former partners. Sounds like the sort of thing Steve Penk might set up.

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