The local radio stations for Swindon and Warminster are to be rebranded as More FM from next month, with the Cheltenham Total Star station no longer sharing any of its programmes.
One Gold Radio Ltd – who currently own the Swindon, Warminster, Bath, Bridgwater and West Somerset licences – will split from their network arrangement with Storm Radio Ltd, who own the Cheltenham station.
One Gold Radio was formed last March by Richard Evans, his father Lord David Evans, Mike Read, Lorraine Banks and Brett Orchard to purchase of the former South West radio stations – they were rebranded to match the Cheltenham station which we’re told agreed to supply network services for a year. Now that period has ended at the two companies have ‘mutually decided not to continue with the arrangement.’
The Wiltshire stations will be rebranding in June to More FM with Richard Evans continuing as the Managing Director, former GWR/Heart presenter Howard Taylor as Programme Manager and Jon Waters (former Sales Manager for Brunel FM) as Station Manager. More FM will be a station focussing more on local issues, news and sport for the Wiltshire area with an emphasis on local programming.
Brett Orchard says he will continue as a 16% shareholder in More FM but will have no technical or creative input to the station, which has been operated separately from Cheltenham for the last 10 months.
Brett told RadioToday.co.uk: “I think this is great news for everyone involved, my heart has always been with the Cheltenham station as the team here have worked so hard to make our station what it is and we are incredibly proud. I am lucky to have such an amazing and dedicated group of people who work with me every day and appreciate their support.”
Brett also confirmed that the split of the two companies was a mutual agreement. “We would like to wish Richard and his team at More FM every success for the future.” he said. “Richard and his team have some very exciting plans for their stations and I am sure they will do their best to create the strong local stations that Wiltshire deserves.”
It is not clear what the plans are for the two licences in Somerset currently operating as Total Star. One Gold Radio also currently hold the Bath licence, although that will be transferring to Celador to become The Breeze after they won the re-advertised licence from Ofcom yesterday.
Brett Orchard added: “Total Star is now back to being a Cheltenham based local radio station. We have 20 hours a day of live presenter led programming, more than any other local station of our size which we are very proud of. We attend countless events and shows throughout the year which is what we believe should be expected from a focussed local radio station.”