2BR has now ceased broadcasts, ahead of the extension of Capital Manchester to form Capital North West. All programming will now be from Manchester.
Despite the programming sharing, Capital North West will be know as Capital Manchester and Capital Lancashire on air. This is despite the Lancashire part having no local programmes, and the Manchester part only having 3 hours local programmes on weekdays, with no local programmes at the weekend. Both stations will carry a limited amount of local news provision.
On DAB, as Capital Manchester was carried on the Lancashire DAB multiplex, the existing service has been relabeled Capital Lancashire. The 64 kbps mono slot that 2BR occupied is now being used by Gold. Both Capital and Gold are owned by Global.
Note: As both Capital and Gold are owned by Global, who have a monopoly over the commercial radio market, both stations fail the criteria to be included in the Station Guide on this website.
Additionally, Capital North West (Lancashire and Manchester) fails the criteria, as the local licenses it occupies are being used for a near national service.
In the past few days, it has been announced that Global Radio have acquired Lancashire local radio station 2BR from UKRD. 2BR currently broadcasts in Central and East Lancashire on four FM frequencies, from studios in Hyndburn. The station also broadcasts on Lancashire DAB (64kbps mono), and recently celebrated being on-air for 18 years, having first launched in July 2000. The station has grown since it first launched, with Central FM and The Bee merging into 2BR.
So what does this mean for listeners? Initially, the station will carry on unchanged, but Global has a history of rebranding stations into their national brands of Capital, Heart, and Smooth. As Heart is already available in the area, as Heart North West (formerly Real Radio) and Heart Cumbria and North Lancashire (formerly The Bay), it seems unlikely that 2BR will become Heart. There is a possibility that some or all of 2BR frequencies might be used to plug gaps in the coverage of the existing Heart stations.
Capital, although with a more hit music based format than 2BR, could launch on the frequencies, as Capital is not currently available in the area. Smooth Radio, with a limited coverage of the area may expand it’s coverage area.
Either way, a rebrand is almost certain. Local output will drop to 7 hours weekdays (Breakfast and Drivetime), and 4 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Most current presenters are likely to leave the station. Significant change is on the cards.