Xfm stations outside London have been put up for sale by GCap Media today, as announced in Fru Hazlitt's new set of cost-cutting measures for the company. Also announced, as expected, the new chief executive is to close theJazz and Planet Rock and dispose of the Digital One multiplex.
Of course, these changes may never happen if Global Radio's second takeover attempt is successful, for which they have until March 5th to produce. Otherwise if the stations are not disposed of by March 31st 2008, GCap will hand back the licences to Ofcom. Discussions are currently taking place regarding their sale.
Fru Hazlitt also announced today that Capital 95.8 is to dump the 'no more than two ads in a row' policy, increasing inventory to meet demand from advertisers. "Capital 95.8 will have a new flexible inventory policy with up to nine minutes of advertising per hour and we plan to dispose of our interest in Digital One, reflecting our view that DAB is not an economically viable platform for the Company."
Fru has announced the changes in bid to deliver improvements to profits and operating margins. "GCap Media will become a leaner and more dynamic company focused on maximising the revenue and profit potential of five key brands on FM and broadband, the platforms that we believe consumers want and which offer the greatest growth opportunities."
Xfm London will stay with GCap Media whilst their shareholding in the Digital One multiplex will be sold to Arqiva for a nominal fee. The only GCap station left on the multiplex will be Classic FM.
These changes are a radical reversal from former GCap boss Ralph Bernard who saw digital radio as the future, and who was proud of GCap's developments on the medium and introducing unique brands such as theJazz. Just 18 months ago he [link=http://radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.741]announced[/link] to the city: "As digital radio sales reach the three million mark, I am pleased that not only has Planet Rock been voted Sony Digital Station of the Year but new presenters such as Rick Wakeman have helped the station achieve record reach and share. Planet Rock is a future star of UK radio and one to watch in the GCap portfolio."