Radio landscape set to change as Global takes over GMG

  updated 18:00

The rumours have become reality as Global Radio has announced that it has acquired GMG Radio. But the move, which is reported to have cost Global Radio around £70 million has angered rival commercial radio operators in the UK. 

It is expected that Global's Heart network of radio stations on FM will be expanded into Mid and South Wales, Northern England and Scotland, where it would replace GMG's Real Radio network.

GMG's Smooth Radio, available in a number of regions on FM and across Britain on DAB could merge with Global's Gold network, which currently airs on local AM(MW) and DAB frequencies. Any combination between Smooth and Gold could drive forward the closure of AM transmitters in favour of stereo FM and digital coverage.

The acquisition has the potential to significantly change the radio landscape, especially on DAB, where local and regional multiplexes contain many potential duplicates should networks merge. For example: The UK wide version of Heart in Northern England in DAB would be replaced by a new regional Heart which would replace Real on FM. In turn, Real's DAB slot would be no longer required.

In the interim, things will stay the same as the two organisations will have to be operated as two separate entities until competition concerns have been addressed by the authorities. Their say on the matter may change the scope of the deal and may result in some stations being sold off, for example in North Wales where the merged organisation operates both Heart and Real on FM.

This evening, rival commercial operators Absolute Radio, Bauer Media and UTV are said to be lodging complaints with the Competition Commission with concerns that the newly enlarged radio group would control over the 50% of the radio advertising and sponsorship market in the UK, and would be too dominant in key markets such as London, where Global ultimately control Heart, Smooth, Gold, LBC, Capital, Choice FM and XFM, plus national network Classic FM. 

In smaller markets such as the East Midlands, the radio giant would operate 3 out of 4 mainstream stations aimed at Derby and Nottingham (currently Capital, Gold and Smooth, but subject to what may happen between Gold and Smooth Radio).

See Also:
Absolute Radio's response to the sale of GMG radio to Global.
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