Less than three months after taking over the commercial radio licence for Skipton and the Yorkshire Dales, new owner UKRD says it has already turned around the station’s fortunes.
The group merged Fresh Radio with its existing station Stray FM in January, extending the Harrogate patch to cover areas including Skipton, Ilkley, Grassington, Richmond and the Dales.
UKRD CEO William Rogers told RadioToday.co.uk: “The team at Stray has done an outstanding job with the changes and the response from the local community has not only been great in terms of listeners, but equally so in terms of advertisers and local businesses. The licence has now moved into a marginally profitable trading position in just three months and results such as these are precisely why we are confident about trading going forward. We still have much work to do and more investment to make but the early signs in terms of commercial viability and delivery are good.”
Radio Today understands the profitability has been achieved by saving on premises and presenter costs by sharing all programmes and studio facilities with Stray FM. UKRD say they have employed an additional journalist to cover the extended patch as well as two sales personnel. “Revenues have improved sharply and now stand at levels sufficient to deliver profitability when set against revised costs,” added Rogers.
Meanwhile UKRD says it will pay an interim dividend to shareholders in April this year and it will be marginally increased on what was paid last year.
Rogers added: “We are maintaining our trading position, and profitability is broadly in line with what we were achieving last year, in spite of the difficult economic climate. As a result of our clear strategy of delivering a return for our shareholders, we are continuing to make sure we trade strongly even in testing times such as these.”