The 2nd new licence for the city in as many years. No one could have thought both licences would be awarded to 'rock' stations. Firstly GCap's Xfm, and now GMG Radio's RockTalk. 24 hour local news mixed with Classic, Heavy, Soft and Popular Rock from five decades will occupy 106.1FM within two years.
Guardian Media Group already owns a number of services based in Manchester, including newspapers, a television station and two regional radio stations, Smooth and Century. Ofcom took this into account when awarding the licence, saying: "RockTalk’s business plan was ambitious but justifiable, given the editorial and commercial resources available to RockTalk’s parent company Guardian Media Group (GMG) in Manchester, and GMG Radio’s generally good record to date in meeting audience and revenue targets at the stations it operates."
Ofcom liked RockTalk's proposal because it planned to address the under-represented in the Manchester market; firstly by playing 'older' rock genres, and secondly by providing a comprehensive Manchester-focused news service and, at peak times, significantly more speech content — including current affairs, sports news and interactive debate — than is currently broadcast by (or required of) existing local commercial radio available in Manchester during these key listening dayparts.
All programmes will be produced and presented locally from Manchester. This new licence could also create an excellent brand extension of the recently launched Rock Radio in Scotland.
Ten other bids were received for the licence, including two from Chrysalis who already own Galaxy 102 in the city. Speaking after the award, the Chrysalis Radio chief executive, Phil Riley told the Guardian newspaper he was "bemused" by Ofcom's decision.
"I am bitterly disappointed. I have to be honest and say I think the format that has won is bizarre. Speech during the day and rock music at night – I cannot get my head round why anyone would want to listen to that. I am bemused. Having put in bids for a rock music station and a talk station, they have gone for a format that does both. With two stations and a newspaper [the Manchester Evening News] in the north-west, GMG undoubtedly has the resources, but we have the resources and so does Emap."
John Myers, GMG Radio boss has already said the new station will not be on-air until 2008, as they have got to wait for a bulk order of Harley Davidson's for staff.
External Link: [link=http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radio/ifi/rbl/car/awards/manchesteraward/]Ofcom explains all[/link]
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