September 20, 2014

brmb, Mercia, Beacon, Wyvern to be Free

Orion Media is to rebrand Birmingham station brmb as Free Radio from April this year, along with Mercia, Beacon and Wyvern.

The group says peak time output will remain local on the stations with no redundancies as a result.


It means the four heritage brands, which have each existed at least 30 years, will be lost from the UK airwaves. BRMB launched in 1974, Beacon in 1976, Mercia in 1980 and Wyvern in 1982 and have kept the same names since.

Orion Media bought the stations from Global Radio in 2009 along with Gem 106 (formerly Heart) and Gold West Midlands. Last year, Mercia was moved into BRMB in Birmingham to save costs.

The group says it will continue to provide listeners with local news, sport, traffic and weather information, with ‘continued commitment in 2012 to original and locally based journalism’.

Phil Riley, Chief Executive of Orion Media said: “The decision to change the name of our stations after each one has been broadcasting in their areas under their original names for so long has not been easy or one that we have taken lightly. We have given this a great deal of consideration and undertaken detailed research. The original on air names of each station means a lot to all of us at Orion, and we know and understand the deep affection many people have for those names. However, the radio market has changed dramatically recently and we have to adapt and respond.

“In the last few years, other commercial radio stations have consolidated around network brands, some with few or no presenters or journalists based in their transmission areas. They have used television and other marketing activity to promote these brands and rely heavily on established presenters operating from outside this area to attract listeners. As well as helping attracting audiences, they can use these single brands to sell to national advertisers.”

Phil added: “Free Radio will continue to be an integral part of the areas in which they broadcast, not only providing great entertainment on air but also as a supporter of the communities we serve, whether it’s fundraising for local causes or as host of major events.”

Posted on Monday, January 9th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by .

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=753678222 Chris Tait on Facebook

    what an awful name

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502885948 Simon Conway on Facebook

    Goodbye yet more heritage names in local radio!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001150063180 Paul Bryant on Facebook

    Hmmmm!! Bet that cost a few million in ‘focus groups’ and consultations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1654369217 Wayne Bavin on Facebook

    Networking here we come ! such a shame :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=272700269 Matt Bowling on Facebook

    Crazy

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613700671 Craig Beck on Facebook

    Terrible decision – free radio… means nothing

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001150063180 Paul Bryant on Facebook

    ‘Sugar free’ – means there is something natural missing from the ingredients. Hmmm Audience ‘Free’ Of further ‘freefall’

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689900059 Laurence Scott on Facebook

    Terrible name!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=784578490 Craig Williams on Facebook

    Another one bites the dust…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=739802798 Mark Nicholas on Facebook

    The local is being kicked out of local radio and is in effect West Midlands regional radio.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000519113542 Simon Parton on Facebook

    Bloody stupid name! So much for bringing back “local” in to local radio like Orion said they were going to do!
    Come back GWR all is forgiven!
    R.I.P Beacon Radio.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511028504 Mark McKenna

    amazingly laughable name. Pure comedy.  Gem FM would have been a better bet – sure the G.E.M. doesn’t make much sense, but its a decent name anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1164187170 Mathew King on Facebook

    What stupid name. It’s silly. Plus it will all end up being networked from Birmingham in future.
    Audience figures are dropping, and they will drop even more doing this. No ones going to turn on their radio onto Free what silly name, atleast name it something within the Midlands.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=614318652 Kevin Gover on Facebook

    They just haven’t got a clue…

  • Guest

    well G.E.M stands for Great East Midlands, it serves the area it’s in! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511028504 Mark McKenna

      Thats why I highlighted that in my comment – but strangely enough, Gem is a word in itself.  A bit like heart.  Do you see now? Do you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=701604597 Gareth Jones on Facebook

    The name is, quite bluntly, bollocks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507666620 Simon Trevallion on Facebook

    hmmm April… lets hope this is all a (very) early setup for an April fools joke!!! It was only in. recent months you read the company spiel about heritage & locality… the logo is tosh, the name means nothing, the format? who knows… commercial suicide, an April fool or a Capital style jammy git thing that’s gotta be what we’re dealing with here?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716390104 Ian Perry on Facebook

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507666620 Simon Trevallion on Facebook

    … of course a community or Sallie group renaming to ‘expensive radio’ or maybe ‘costly’ or ‘bling’ could trump the figures in those TSA’s by listener perception alone… ‘free’ means cheap, it looks (with the bird) that ‘free’ will mean easy listening too… gulp

  • TopBanana

    Company boss feels he has to meddle with something and make a big change to make his mark. 
     Surrounded by yes men, he’ll not notice or care about the customers’ opposition to his Big Idea.

    Nothing new there, really

  • Printing Personalised Balloons

    Good luck in trying to find a domain name containing the words “free radio”. Very very sad.

  • brmb RIP

    WHAT’S WRONG WITH REBRANDING TO GWM – GREAT RADIO FOR THE GREAT WEST MIDLANDS? – WOULD BE A MUCH BETTER STATION NAME AND WOULD STILL HAVE A LOCAL IDENTITY LIKE GEM!

    FREE RADIO: AWFUL NAME AND AWFUL LOGO, VERY DIFFICULT TO SEE FROM A DISTANCE WITH POOR CHOICE OF FONT

    THEY PROBABLY WILL END UP CHANGING THE MUSIC POLICY SO THAT IT’S MORE LIKE HEART AND THEN EVENTUALLY CHANGE GEM TO FREE AS WELL WITH ONLY LOCAL DRIVE/BREAKFAST AND ALL OTHER PROGRAMMES FROM B’HAM.

    THEY PROBABLY CHOSE THE NAME SO THAT ON A DAB RADIO, IT WILL APPEAR JUST BEFORE SISTER STAION GOLD AND RIVAL STATION HEART IN THE A-Z LIST.

    MAYBE THEIR NEW STRAP LINE WILL BE ‘FREE TO DO WHAT WE WANT’

  • Michael

    Looks like a tampon brand

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=621505819 Michael Bolton on Facebook

    Looks like a tampon brand

  • Whiskey Drinker

    I must admit I am 100% behind the idea personally. I think it’s time those old heritage brands were got rid of in favour of a corporate brand and I think “Free” is fantastic as a name.

    By the way, shove me another bottle of whiskey, I am almost run out here!

  • Dear Mark Gardner

    Well, ive lived in Birmingham all my life, BRMB was huge in the 70s and 80s, capital got hold of it and turned it into pap, and every owner has done the same. We all thought that orion taking over with its Made in Birmingham strap to make the station local and relevant would be a breath of fresh air! But it wasn’t, same old bland DJs and bland music and now Bland name, this is just tiny Orion trying to play with the big boys and it will fail big time. Radio1 is the prefered station in Birmingham these days!

  • Anonymous

    Pink logo and the name “FREE” …. has orion been brought out by gaydar radio ???

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1295366920 Ian Shepherd on Facebook

    When the launch team behind the search engine GOOGLE first revealed it’s planned name, how many people thought that would be a disaster?! As a former breakfast host of Mercia, I have many happy memories of great times in the west mids :-) This is 2012 & you can’t live in the past so never judge a book by it’s cover. Good luck to Orion & the team at FREE RADIO. Ian (Shep) X

  • Markmag

    Wow, that really is a dreadful name and logo. Even Celedor would struggle to do worse – and they bought us (Fe)breeze.

    Everything I know about people from the West Midlands tells me this has absolute disaster written all over it. Surely it must be a publicity stunt?

  • http://www.axiam-pc.co.uk Darren Forster

    Really annoys me since they changed to Free Radio – now there is no decent station anywhere in Shropshire, just Free Radio this, Free Radio that and every single one all plays the same tune at the same time, and even the same news and travel. Orion have forgot about the “commitment” to local news, does local to Shropshire mean something that’s on 60 miles away in Birmingham – Free Radio Live – a live event for the people who listen to Free Radio – IN BIRMINGHAM!! why didn’t Shropshire get a Free Radio Live, or Hereford, Coventry, or anywhere else that is under the Free Radio monopoly. Surely it’s a breach of Ofcom’s regulations to monopolise the area so much with just one brand?

    • JB

      Hi Darren, Free Shropshire does have it’s own travel during Breakfast and Drive. It also has its own content and the Streetstars do a lot of activity in the area. Free sponsors race for life in Shrewsbury and will be presenting the event too. Shropshire actually gets more coverage than it got as Beacon with programming and news being exactly the same as Free as it was with Beacon.
      Free also now sponsors OsFest is Oswestry bringing presenters and Streetstars to the area
      And we are raising money with our walk for Kids for hospices and charities in Shropshire too

      • http://www.axiam-pc.co.uk Darren Forster

        Thanks for that information – didn’t know they did all that in Shropshire – for some reason round here (Ludlow) we seem to mainly get all the Birmingham information, although on the RDS FM list in the car we do have about 5 “Free Radio’s” to choose from, so it’s possible that I may have it tuned to the wrong Free Radio – major problem that when they’re all the same name, no way to figure out which is which, at least with separate names you knew straight away from the RDS. I’ve since switched anyway to Sunshine as they seem very local to us and they play some really unusual songs that you just don’t hear anymore!