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Global Radio to significantly cut back local programming

By | Published on Wednesday 27 February 2019


UK radio firm Global will reduce the amount of local programming on its Capital, Heart and Smooth networks, capitalising on a relaxation of broadcasting rules that followed a consultation by media regulator OfCom last year.

It means that each of three networks will now have a single national breakfast show, rather than local programming going out in the prime time slot. There will still be local shows during drive time, though the total number of local drive time programmes will be reduced.

The Capital, Heart and Smooth networks are made up of what were historically numerous local radio stations, each based in and serving a specific area. Once those local stations were in common ownership they started sharing some programming to reduce costs, though they still all had their own distinct brands.

Then, in 2011, Global phased out the local names so that the Capital, Heart and Smooth brands could operate nationally. Though the OfCom licences for each area still demanded some local programming and news content. As they still do, only less so.

The increased networking of shows – which will also affect Capital, Heart and Smooth stations actually operated by another company, Communicorp – will obviously result in a reduction in the number of presenters and behind the scenes staff employed by the stations. Radio Today reckons over 95 presenters may be affected by the development.

Commenting on the big change, Global boss Ashley Tabor told Radio Today: “Whilst the new deregulation will mean some significant changes at an operational level, these bold steps enable Global to lead the way in launching the UK’s three largest national commercial radio breakfast shows. We’re really excited to combine the best national talent with our unique ability to include great local content in network shows on Heart, Capital and Smooth”.