Ofcom has approved requests from Celador Radio for changes to the formats of its two Midwest Radio licences in Yeovil and Shaftesbury.
It paves the way for the station to be rebranded as The Breeze from next Monday.
Locally-made hours have also been cut from 10 per day to 7 (which must include breakfast), with four local hours required on Saturday and Sundays.
A post on Midwest Radio’s Facebook page tonight says: “Midwest Radio becomes The Breeze from Monday 25th June. Familiar voices, and some new ones to welcome… and the chance to win BIG CASH prizes. Oh, and all the local news, travel and great songs just like always :-)”
It appears the station will keep local breakfast and drivetime shows across the two former Midwest licences.
The format changes are in return for Celador promising to provide an ‘enhanced local news service’, which amounts to hourly news during weekday daytimes and peak hours at weekends – in keeping with Ofcom’s guidelines on localness.
The Yeovil licence is in the same ‘Ofcom approved area’ for co-location and programme-sharing as the other existing Breeze stations, but the Shaftesbury one is technically in the ‘Solent’ agreed area. The regulator agreed with Celador that it made sense for programmes to be shared with other sister stations in the West of England since it already has ‘cross-approved area’ permissions to co-locate and programme share with the Yeovil licence.
In its application, Celador said: “Shaftesbury is roughly equidistant between Bristol and Southampton. However, in the West there are already well established programming and news links with Yeovil. Furthermore, in the West we are already providing news and programming for Warminster – Shaftesbury’s nearest ILR neighbor. Given its proximity to our other stations in the West we feel it is more appropriate to request programme sharing and co-location with this region rather than Solent. We are mindful of the station’s Character of Service obligations to provide locally oriented output – particularly local news – and are producing news bulletins specifically for the Shaftesbury and Blandford Forum market.”
The format change request follow Celador’s purchase of Midwest Radio in December last year and recent programme schedule changes. It’s reported that the rebrand to The Breeze could happen next Monday (25th June).
It’s also two years ago today that Celador first announced The Breeze as a new brand for the group, which first appeared in Southampton and Winchester.