Ofcom has granted GMG Radio a Format change for its Real Radio stations in South Wales and North and Mid Wales, effectively creating a national station.
GMG Radio’s request was to share all programming between the two stations and co-locate in Cardiff. Requirements for locally made programming has also been reduced to seven hours a day.
In return, GMG Radio has made a commitment to provide local news bulletins at least hourly during weekday daytimes and peaktimes at weekends. The requirement in both stations Formats to provide “regional information” has been replaced with an obligation to provide “information about Wales”.
Ofcom determined that the request would have substantially altered both stations' characters of service (see point a. below), and therefore in accordance with the statutory requirements the proposed changes were subject to a public consultation which ran for four weeks.
The station in North and Mid Wales has not been launched and the deadline to do so is later this year. The latest format change follows GMG Radio’s successful request to remove jazz music requirements from its Smooth Radio stations in London and the North West.
Smooth Radio’s regional services will also merge to create one national service later this year, with programming mainly originating from studios in Manchester.