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.
The dominant monopoly that is Global Radio has expanded its presence on DAB. National duplicates of Capital, Heart and Smooth have been added to the Lincolnshire DAB multiplex and the Hereford and Worcester DAB multiplex.
These services are already available on the D1 national multiplex. Capital UK has a national 80 kbps mono slot, as does Smooth (labelled as Smooth Extra), and Heart has a 32kbps low quality stereo DAB+ slot (labelled as Heart Extra).
The new versions are all in stereo ‘original version’ DAB, with a bit rate of 112kbps, offering slightly better sound quality. These services are exactly the same as the national versions, and do not widen the choice of services available.
Meanwhile, there are rumours circulating on social media that Global are acquiring the Quidem group of radio stations, which broadcast to the Midlands, and include the Touch FM and Banbury Sound brands.
Gold will take over the 1332AM Peterborough and 1557AM Northampton frequencies from Smooth Radio. The change will take place when Connect FM is merged into Smooth Radio’s FM network.
Connect FM was acquired by Communicorp earlier this year, who decided to merge the station into their Smooth East Midlands franchise. As yet, a date for the merge has yet to be announced. Connect FM currently covers Corby, Kettering, and Peterborough.
Meanwhile, Wohnort DAB reports that Connect FM has been relabeled Radio UP on the Herts Beds Bucks local DAB multiplex.
Note: Smooth Radio is almost entirely networked across multiple local and regional licenses, and as such fails the criteria for inclusion on the station guide of this website. Connect FM has not been included due to the plan to merge the station into Smooth Radio. Additionally, Gold fails the criteria, due it being owned by the domineering monopoly corporation of Global.