The UK's biggest radio group, GCap Media, has grown even larger today with the purchase of the Classic Gold Digital network from UBC Media Group. All 18 stations will change hands, subject to Ofcom approval, for nearly five million pounds. GCap already owned 20 per cent of the network.
GCap plans to merge Classic Gold with Capital Gold to create one single classic hits network. The stations were originally sold to UBC in two transactions by GWR in 2000 and 2002 when Radio Authority rules regarding bulk ownership were more strict. It would take the number of analogue stations owned by GCap Media to 75.
On air, each brand carries network programming 20 hours a day – Capital Gold at breakfast and Classic Gold during afternoon drive. It is not yet know which daypart will remain local on the enlarged network if the sale goes ahead.
Commenting on the deal, Simon Cole, CEO of UBC Media said:
'UBC is now concentrated on building service businesses rather than owning broadcast licences. We expect our network business to grow strongly this year and this, together with the important launch of our music downloading service for radio stations, needs to be management's focus. I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement with GCap that represents good value for our shareholders and allows GCap Media to take on the development of the Classic Gold radio station network.'
Ralph Bernard, Chief Executive of GCap Media, said: “Classic Gold is an integral part of our advertising proposition. Acquiring these stations will enable us to create a single classic hits network with the potential to become a fast-growing national brand as audiences increasingly migrate to digital platforms. We therefore welcome Ofcom’s recent announcement that it is considering the conditions for a switch off date for AM, as this would greatly accelerate the uptake of DAB.”
UBC have most recently joined forces with Channel 4 to apply for the new national DAB Digital Radio licence.
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