Connect FM Binned as Station is to Merge with Smooth East Midlands

National station Smooth Radio will take over Connect FMs frequencies, as Ofcom has given permission for Communicorp to merge the station with the East Midlands version of Smooth Radio.

Although bordering the Smooth Radio coverage area, Connect FM broadcasts via two licenses to Peterborough, Kettering, Corby, and Wellingborough in the East region. An Ofcom consultation received no responses.

The move means that Connect FM will not only rebrand, but will network with Smooth Radio 24/7. There will be no locally produced shows, with the breakfast show being shared with the existing Smooth Radio East Midlands station, and all other output from London.

Smooth Radio East Midlands is owned by Communicorp and operates under franchise from Global Radio, who produce and control most of the output on the station.

Smooth Radio fails the criteria for inclusion on the Station Guide of Scott’s Radio Site, due to the lack of local content on the local licenses the service occupies. Scott’s Radio Site regards Global Radio to be an acquired dominant monopoly, and excludes all of Global’s brands from inclusion on this website.

Love Sport to Broadcast Nationally

London based sports radio station Love Sport is to broadcast nationally on DAB, having recently reduced its AM/MW coverage area to North London in a frequency swap.

The station has announced that it will broadcast on the SDL national DAB multiplex by the end of the year. This will require an existing service to switch to DAB+, or a replacement of an existing service, as this multiplex is currently full.

The station will compete with Talk Sport, which was originally founded by Kelvin MacKenzie, who is the current chairman and chief executive of Love Sport.

Quidem Becomes Franchisee

Quidem has agreed a franchise agreement with Global Radio, which will see the loss of the Touch FM, Rugby FM and Banbury Sound brands across the Midlands. It is yet to be confirmed which of Global’s brands will be used, although it seems likely that the Capital brand will be used on at least some of the stations.

As part of the deal, Quidem are moving from Bauer owned First Radio Sales (sales agency for national advertisers), to Global’s in house sales agency. Global will also be proving all news bulletins going forward, with existing news staff being offered a transfer to Global.

The exact number of redundancies is also yet to be confirmed, although this is expected to include 3 presenters and 5 account managers. Quidem is currently loss making.

The deal will not widen choice for listeners, as ‘regionalised’ versions of Global’s main brands Capital, Heart, and Smooth already exist on DAB digital radio in the area covered by Quidem on FM.

Radio Atlantis Expands

Radio Atlantis, the current oldies offering from Cyber Radio, has expanded into Lincolnshire.

The station now has a slot on the Lincolnshire, using a DAB+ slot with a bit rate of 32 kbps. The new slot allows the station to broadcast across Lincolnshire, Humberside and parts of East Yorksire.

Radio Atlantis can also be found on the Surrey and Suffolk local multiplexes, and some of the small scale trail multiplexes, including Norwich and Manchester.

BBC to Celebrate Beatles Anniversary with Pop-Up Station

BBC Radio 2 have revealed plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Abbey Road Album, with a pop up radio stations.

BBC Radio 2 Beatles, revealed on last nights OJ Borg late night show, is to run from 26th to 29th September. The station will feature live shows from the Abbey Road studios in London. The launch of the station will be simulcast on BBC Radio 2.

The station will be broadcast on the BBC National DAB multiplex, and will also be available on the BBC Sounds online platform.

Malta Trials HD Radio

Malta is trialing new high definition (HD) DAB+ radio services. Bay HD, Net HD, One HD, and XFM HD have been added to the 12A multiplex, which broadcasts to Malta from a transmitter at Gharghur.

The new services are all broadcasting at a bit rate of 192 kbps in stereo DAB+. The 12A multiplex is also broadcasting BKR NAT HD at a lower bit rate of 128 kbps, along with two other test channels.

The 12A multiplex is the least full of the three multiplexes which broadcast to Malta, and has mostly been used for test and trial services.

Chorley FM Closes and Hand Backs License

Chorley FM, a community radio station for the Chorley area of Lancashire, has closed abruptly, and have handed back their license to Ofcom. No reason has yet been given for the closure.

A police investigation had been launched In March after allegations that a director at the station had been sexually assaulted whilst working at the station. The complainant, Sam Martin, chose to go public after making the complaint to the police.

It is alleged that the board of Chorley FM ignored complaints, instead suspending Sam Martin without pay. She later resigned. The board of Chorley FM had subsequently changed.

Whilst it is not known if the two events are linked, the investigation may have contributed to the stations closure.

North Cotswold Community Radio Appeal for Volunteers

North Cotswold Community Radio, a community radio station based in Chipping Campden, have announced that they are at risk of closure due to a lack of volunteers.

The station launched in 2007, broadcasts online with a variety of programmes specifically for the North Cotswold area. They would like to hear from anyone with an interest in broadcasting on the station, or working behind the scenes.

For details on how to contact the station, see their website at nccr.co.uk.

Bauer Axes Yet More Local Programmes

Bauer have are axing all local programmes on the FM version of Westsound which broadcasts across Dumfries and Galloway. The station will now become entirely networked sharing all programmes with the Bauer City 2/Greatest Hits Radio network.

Meanwhile, Viking FM will move to co-locate with Hallam FM in Sheffield. The soon to be only remaining local show, the breakfast show presented by Alex Duffy and Ellie Brennan, will be broadcast outside of the coverage area from 2nd October.

Bauer have stated the Viking FM move is to allow for access to better equipment and a more vibrant working environment. In reality, the move is to reduce fixed studio locations in order to cut costs and increase profits.

Hallam FM, Viking FM and West Sound fail the criteria for inclusion in the station guide of the website, due to the lack of local content they provide, and being owned by domineering corporation Bauer Media.

Spectrum Radio Network Advertise London Frequency

Spectrum Radio Network have advertised availability on the 1548 MW/AM frequency which covers North London. This frequency is currently occupied by Love Sport, and it is not yet clear what will happen to that station.

Spectrum also have a London wide DAB slot, and two London DAB+ slots available. For those and the MW frequency, Spectrum are offering part time slots, to allow for smaller stations to come on-air for a reduced cost.

For full details visit their website at spectrumradio.net/airtime/.