Britain's only local talk radio station outside London could soon feature music, if a format change request submitted to Ofcom is accepted. City Talk in Liverpool has asked to include music in certain peak-time dayparts.
The request submitted by the station’s owners, Bauer Radio, has proposed all-speech programming at peak times – weekend breakfast, weekend late breakfast and drivetime – but a mixed music and speech format during other weekday daytime hours. The proposal Format would allow City Talk to share programming with Bauer’s other two stations in Liverpool, Magic 1548 and/or Radio City 96.7.
In a statement, the station confirmed that Ofcom’s decision last week to waive the two-year change of format rule, has lead City Talk to review their commercial proposition and despite audience success believe that a change of format would cause a significant spike in their audience reach
Travis Baxter, MD Radio (Strategy and Development), Bauer Media, said: “We believe the proposed changes will keep a significant part of the original character of the station intact while maintaining the current competitive dynamic in Liverpool and increasing listener choice overall. Introducing music and other elements to the format which listeners have clearly said they would like added to the output will secure the future of the station and listener choice in the City for the future.”
Ofcom, believing this change would significantly alter the station’s Character of Service, is seeking stakeholders' views on the proposals. The closing date for responses is 31 March 2009.