Global Radio's plan to create dozens of Heart branded radio stations across the country is no longer the worst kept secret in the industry.
The latest OFT report over the purchase of GCap Media contains confirmation of Global's plans for mass re-branding. Every station will become part of a refocused brand, either Heart, Galaxy or a network of locally-focused large city stations.
Large scale network programming will become the norm, which, Global say, will benefit listeners and advertisers. Global's strategy is to develop near-national coverage for Heart, and greater coverage for Galaxy. Already Xfm Scotland has been confirmed as the next Galaxy station, with others likely to follow soon.
It has not been made clear at this stage which "large city" stations will retain their name, (whilst refocusing towards the relevant Heart/Galaxy demographic), and which will be totally re-branded. Either way, Global will create national network programming with [i]"quality presenters, and at the same time, retain the local character"[/i]
In the East Midlands, Global proposes to sell Heart 106 – and has the green light to sell to a company/individual who will continue to operate the station under a franchise agreement, with national sales still handled by Global. Even the choosing of presenters would be dictated by Global's programming team.
In the West Midlands, the Office of Fair Trading would like to see the four stations up for sale (Beacon, BRMB, Wyvern and Mercia) to be sold as a package to allow the new owner to compete on the same regional basis against Global.
Global will also be required to divest certain parts of its digital services in Nottingham (Gold Nottingham and one of Galaxy, Xfm or Chill) and Swindon/West Wiltshire.
In London, the OFT is happy for the merged company to own Capital, Gold, Xfm, Choice, LBC, (AM and FM) and Heart because of substantial competition from Bauer and GMG Radio.
Similarly in Manchester as Xfm and Galaxy will come together under the new company. Also, no competition concerns arose with GCap Media acting as a national sales house for GMG Radio.