Bauer Media are to face a phase 2 investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, following their purchase of Lincs FM Group, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless’ local stations.
The decision deadline is 21st January 2020, with all stations remaining in hold separate until at least then.
Seperatly, Bauer have confirmed they are axing all local drivetime shows across the stations in England (except Wave 105, CFM, and Gem). The Scottish stations also now have Ofcom authorisation to do the same, although it has yet to be confirmed if a similar move will follow.
Bauer Media is acquiring UKRD, the operator of 10 local radio stations including Eagle Radio, Pirate FM, Minster FM and Yorkshire Coast Radio. Bauer has also acquired UKRD’s share of the MuxCo North Yorkshire, MuxCo Surrey & Sussex, South West Digital Radio (Cornwall and Plymouth) DAB multiplexes, and UKRD’s share of First Radio Sales, a national advert selling agency. It is not yet clear if digital station Encore has been included in the deal
Bauer’s recent acquisitions of Lincs FM Group, Celador Radio and Wireless Group’s local radio stations are now in Hold Separate Status, and UKRD is likely to follow suite. This is pending a Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the takeovers, and means that while Bauer can own the stations they can integrate the stations into the group until the takeover has been cleared. This does means that local brands and programmes will continue for a little while longer.
What was Jack 107 in Berkshire has effectively closed. When Celador acquired Jack 107, the output on the FM frequency replaced with a localised version of The Breeze. Jack 107 continued on DAB but was rebranded to Sam FM Thames Valley, in line with the other Sam FM stations in the South West.
In a change most likely initiated before Bauer Media acquired Celador Radio, The Breeze has now replaced Sam FM on the Berks & North Hants local DAB multiplex, with a bit rate reduction down to 56 kbps in mono.
As reported earlier, Bauer Media have acquired both the Lincs FM Group and Celador Radio. Here are further details of the stations acquired.
The following stations have been acquired with the Celador Radio portfolio:
- The Breeze (Andover)
- The Breeze (Bristol)
- The Breeze (Basingstoke & North Hampshire)
- The Breeze (Bath)
- The Breeze (Bridgwater & West Somerset)
- The Breeze (Cheltenham & North Gloucestershire)
- The Breeze (East Hampshire & South West Surrey)
- The Breeze (Frome & West Wiltshire)
- The Breeze (Newbury)
- The Breeze (North Dorset)
- The Breeze (North Somerset)
- The Breeze (Reading)
- The Breeze (South Devon)
- The Breeze (Yeovil & South Somerset)
- The Breeze (Winchester, Portsmouth, and Southampton)
- Sam FM (Bristol)
- Sam FM (Swindon)
- Sam FM (South Coast)
- Sam FM (Thames Valley – DAB)
- Dream 100 FM (Colchester)
- Town DAB (Ipswich – DAB)
- The Beach (Norfolk)
- North Norfolk Radio (Norfolk)
- Radio Norwich 99.9 (Norwich)
- Fire Radio (Bournemouth and Poole)
The following stations have been acquired as part of the Lincs FM Group:
- Lincs FM (Lincolnshire & Newark)
- Compass FM (North East Lincolnshire)
- Trax FM (Doncaster & Bassetlaw)
- Dearne FM (Barnsley, Penistone and the Dearne Valley)
- Rutland Radio (Stamford & Rutland)
- Ridings FM (the Wakefield district)
- Rother FM (Rotherham)
- Suffolk First (Suffolk – DAB)
- KCFM (Hull)
Some stations are to be sold on immediately to Nation Broadcasting, to avoid competition issues. These are KCFM in Hull, and The Breeze (Winchester, Portsmouth, and Southampton) and Sam FM South Coast in the Solent region.
It is yet to be announced what changes will take place at any of these stations, although it is likely that Bauer will merge several into their Hits Radio and Greatest Hits Radio brands.
Nation Broadcasting are yet to reveal what changes they will make to their new additions, but haven’t ruled out an expansion of the Nation Radio brand.
Please be aware that a full article on this topic will follow when I have clearer information.
Bauer Media have acquired two radio groups, Celador Radio and Lincs FM. Both groups run a portfolio of smaller local radio stations.
It is believed that some stations will be immediately sold on again to the expanding Nation Broadcasting. The stations which Bauer will keep are likely to start carrying networked programming, and may be rebranded.
This move is the latest in a long line of tit for tat expansion moves by Bauer and rival Global Radio.
The change of ownership at 2BR has already been covered in a separate post, so here is some of the other stories from the past week:
Juice 107.2 in Brighton is to rebrand as Capital Brighton on the 3rd September. The station will have a complete new presenter line-up, and will take most programmes from the Capital Network in London. All current presenters are assumed to have been made redundant.
Celador have introduced Town 102 to DAB for the first time. The station is broadcasting on the Suffolk local multiplex at 80 kbps mono. Celador have confirmed that Town 102 will continue broadcasting indefinitely.
Meanwhile, Ipswich 102 (also known as Ipswich FM) have commenced test transmissions on the Suffolk local DAB multiplex, ahead of taking over the 102 FM frequency from Town 102 in October. Ipswich 102 is broadcasting at a higher bit rate of 192 kbps in stereo.
A new service has launched on the North East Wales and West Cheshire DAB multiplex. Bliss Radio is broadcasting at 64 kbps in mono. In London, ABN Radio UK has ceased broadcasting on the London 3 multiplex.
Nation Broadcasting have applied for the license currently held by Sam FM Bristol, under the name of Jack FM. Sam FM broadcasts to the Bristol area on 106.5 FM, and is owned by Celador, who have also submitted a bid to renew their license.
Sam FM first launched as Original 106.5 FM in 2007, but previously operated as a Jack FM franchise until 2015. Nation Broadcasting will use the Jack FM brand under license from Oxis Media, who operate the Oxford version of the station alongside national stations Union Jack and Jack 3.
Nation Broadcasting are expanding their network, and recently acquired Sunderland station Sun FM.
Here is the news from the past week:
45 Radio has joined the Norwich trial small scale DAB multiplex,using DAB+ at 48 kbps. This service is aimed at listeners aged 45 and over. Jazz FM has switched to DAB+ at 40 kbps, and is no longer available on all radios.
Flame Christian has ceased broadcasting on the Manchester trial multiplex.
The requested format change for London AM and DAB station Love Sport has been approved by Ofcom, meaning the station is no longer required to provide talk based programmes on subjects such as business.
Celador station The Breeze has retained its license to broadcast in Bristol on FM.
TalkSPORT has retained global Premier League football audio rights, and will provide coverage until the 2021/22 season.
For the first time, an incumbent radio operator has lost its broadcasting license upon routine Ofcom re-advertisement.
Ipswich FM will take over the license currently held by Town 102, to broadcast in Ipswich and the surrounding area. The current license expires on the 28th October 2018.
Town 102 has been operating since 2006, and more recently came under the ownership of Celador. The station as struggled with low audience figures. All programming on Town 102 is currently networked across the Anglian Radio portfolio (which includes 4 other stations and is based in Norwich), with some programmes originating from The Breeze network in the South West of England.
Ipswich FM is backed by Muxco Suffolk Radio, who operate the local Suffolk DAB multiplex. Muxco Suffolk Radio is backed by Nation Radio and Lincs FM. Ipswich FM will be on the Suffolk DAB multiplex.
BREAKING NEWS: Town 102 loses its licence to broadcast in Ipswich. Ipswich FM, backed by local DAB operator MuxCo Suffolk, has been awarded the licence.
Ipswich FM will emphasise on locally produced programming. All programmes on Town 102 (owned by Celador) have been networked.
Information from A516 Digital, via twitter (@a516digital).