CN Radio are set to network up to eight hours of programming daily, including daytime, across five of their radio stations in the midlands. Oak, Rugby and three Touch stations will join together for more shared programmes, after Ofcom gave the green light for the changes last week.
New station Touch FM Banbury has escaped the changes for the moment. The Format change request, submitted to Ofcom, asks for a slight reduction in local originating hours for the five stations, from 18 hours to 16 hours daily.
Because of the network show, Rugby FM will drop local news bulletins at 9pm.
In approving the request, Ofcom says: "The cut in the required number of locally produced hours is a small one, from 18 to 16, leaving a significant obligation with regard to localness.
The cut will also facilitate live regionalised networking where local voicetracking has been used in the past. Likewise the obligation to end local news on Rugby FM at 2000 instead of 2100 still leaves the station with a significant number of local bulletins to broadcast. It is felt acceptance of the request would not bring about a significant change in the character of service, and it is, therefore, agreed.
CNRadio is the latest in what is expected to be a long list of local radio operators asking permission to drop daily local programming in favour of a networked off-peak show. Emap's Kiss already does it during the daytime, UTVRadio has a northern network of eight stations during evenings and overnight, and The Local Radio Company/GCap Media have been networking evening shows for years.
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