Real Radio introduces networked daytimes
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Real Radio introduces networked daytimes

Up to six presenters are to lose their daily shows on Real Radio as the network starts daytime networking.

Northwest presenters Darren Parks and Debbie Mac will syndicate their programmes across its five-station network from Monday 5th November.

Further cuts are also being made in other departments across the group.

Darren will host the mid-morning show while Debbie will follow in the afternoon slot across Wales, Yorkshire, the North West and North East of England and Central Scotland through a partnership.

The peak breakfast and drivetime shows will continue to be hosted locally in each region during the week, whilst at weekends each station will retain a locally produced late breakfast show and move to networked programming during the rest of the day.

Real and Smooth Limited Group Managing Director Andy Carter said: “Advances in technology mean we know we can produce high quality programming which is relevant to the lives of our audience and maintain the local content that is important to them, such as news, travel and weather.

Our recent experience with Smooth shows that you can grow audience by providing high quality content from a single source providing you continue to offer content that is relevant to their lives.

The move is seen as one step closer to getting the network ready for Global Radio’s re-brand as Heart next year.

0 59 8335 15 October, 2012 Industry News Monday, October 15th, 2012


    1. MB

      Blame the regulator Ofcom for relaxing the rules. No private company is going to spend more on overheads than required. GMG weren’t a company so they didn’t operate the business in the same way.
      Real Wales & Real Scotland are major stations in devolved nations, they shouldn’t be allowed to share any daytime programming with England.
      For the Reals in England it could get even worse. If Global puts Heart 106.2 on the national Digital 1 DAB multiplex they will be able to scrap all local programming on the English Real stations.

      1. Jeff Featherstone

        The Scotland issue is a real one. On a purely commercial level there are real benefits from having a distinctively Scottish station-and real risks in not doing so. Global appear to be unaware of this.

        1. MB

          The question is whether those extra benefits in advertising revenue terms outweigh the costs of having two extra people on the payroll.
          The sums have been done and they show that the audience would have to fall a long way to justify paying the extra staff, not least because most people listen to the radio at breakfast and drive (and the local news and info can be inserted by smart networking).
          Global already run Capital in central Scotland – that station now has the highest reach and share ever.
          Ofcom are wrong to allow it to happen, but commercially it’s a “no-brainer”. There are no benefits to be gained from employing more people than the rules require.

  1. Len Groat

    Surely, ““Advances in technology mean we know we can produce high quality programming which is relevant to the lives of our audience and maintain the local content ”

    SHOULD READ “Advances in technology mean we know we can produce high quality programming which is relevant to the lives of our audience and maintain the local content with presenters 120 miles away who do not know the area it is broadcast at…”

  2. KarlieB

    Global should sell off the Real Radio network to the Lincs FM group, drop the networked daytime stuff – the best solution.
    Lincs FM isn’t a bad station – that’s what Real needs to try and sound like outside of breakfast – personality, a good mix of music and LOCAL references. Local isn’t just mentioning place-names, but things specific to an area, e.g. a popular event on in Newark etc., or a local tradition etc.

    Real and Smooth, if you’re reading this, there’s a backlash against daytime networking [according to British football forums] so keep the status quo of local 6am-7pm Sunday – Friday and 6am-6pm Saturday.

    After all, if 102.2 Lincs FM can be successful without networking too much, surely you can?

      1. Craig Strong

        One day, probably in the not too distant future, there will be no “local” stations, bar community ones, when every inch of the UK is served from studios miles and miles away.

    1. R U Serious

      Are you kidding? 102.2 Lincs might be OK, but have you heard their smaller stations? Badly voicetracked, deathly dull whittering about showbiz, or more often what the DJ had for tea – it could be from anywhere and most likely is. Give me Heart over that crap any day.

    2. Are You On Crack

      Given that Lincs FM Group sold two of their stations earlier this year (including one that Andy Carter himself launched) on the back of several rounds of cutbacks, I doubt very much that they’re in a position to buy the Real network. In any case, the group’s very bizarre Smooth-meets-Capital playlist wouldn’t exactly hoover up in terms of RAJAR.

      If anything I see the Yorkshire stations going to UKRD or similar, and Global taking on KCFM and 102.2 to create Heart Hull & Lincolnshire.

      1. KarlieB

        Lincs FM Group COULD, and, I mean, COULD buy Real Radio – and also include Heart 106.2 for £1.
        After all – how many other firms got sold for £1?
        Remember the MG-Rover debacle where it got sold for a tenner? That’s what GMG’s the radio equivalent of.

        Yes, Lincs FM does have a lot of voicetracking, but so does UKRD… however, on the whole, they have a varied playlist, and literally more music variety than Heart.

        1. Yep, you're on crack!

          Are you SERIOUSLY trying to tell me Lincs’ Hits & Memories (Read: let’s play Gangnam Style next to some obscure minor Five Star hit with a link about a lost parrot in the middle) format would be an improvement on 106.2? One of the best performing stations in London? Are you seriously trying to suggest that? Cheesey DJs, dated imaging and music programming researched only by the Guinness Book Of Hit Singles? I’m speechless.

          1. R U Serious

            You couldn’t be more right. The Hits and Memories format is frankly bizarre and the whole thing is really shoddily voicetracked, the output sounds robotic and incredibly cheesy and vacuous. Every time I listen, I find myself shouting at whichever poor sod is doing four shows at once – “who gives a shit!”

            Please, please bring on UKRD.

          2. Not On Crack

            Bang on old chap. I’d say of all the potential competitors to the extended Heart network, Trax/Rother/Dearne/Ridings have the most to lose in all this. They need Heart Yorkshire like a hole in the head.

          3. R U Serious

            They need to quit all the crap voicetracking, and pretending to be four stations, and just network the lot – one name across all transmitters, properly researched music, one set of live shows and maybe they’d stand a chance.

            The current crap is just sitting there, waiting to be executed by the Heart firing squad.

          4. Not On Crack

            @8f8ff21a67437febebc70afd19364e95:disqus: I think that’s the best shout, providing they sort their splits out properly and retain bespoke news, travel etc. Smart Networking, as Tabor would say (but simply claimed ownership to an idea Steve Orchard had invented years ago!)

          5. R U Serious

            I’m not usually the sort of person who plays fantasy stations, but if I was them, I’d be looking seriously at Jack. It fits a gap in the market around Heart/Capital/Hallam, it’s cheap, and it’s proved popular in other markets where it’s been introduced. Just my 2p!

  3. Brian Clough

    As local people are very proud of ‘their local station’ it looks like yet another damning blow to all the areas affected…and the presenters.REAL bad news!

  4. Phil England

    Real Radio in Wales is a national station – programmes for it should come from Wales not from the North West.

    I just hope Global realise that Real in Wales is National, and will let the station have most of its output coming from within

    1. Fanny Bhatta

      I must admit,I think that Mancunian presenters are going to go down particularly badly north of the border.

      1. Jon Kirkman

        When GMG networked Rock radio (Now Real XS) the Manchester Jocks did not go down well in Scotland and the same was said for the Scottish jocks in Manchester. I does seem stupid to think that just because people like something in one area they will like that in the other area. Sure there will be some similarities but that is all Poor management really nothing more :(

  5. Jimbo

    Advances in technology? Networking technology has been around
    for a very long time now. What exactly have Real Radio been working with? Carts
    and vinyl?

    As usual we are furnished with a ‘radio nonsense’ quote about being able to serve
    the audience better. Wouldn’t it be slightly more refreshing to be told
    something that maybe more closely resembles the truth here?

    So something along
    the lines of “this is what the mother ship would want and it saves us rather a
    lot of money in wages”

    I’m purely having a direct go at the person/people who keep coming us with such
    pathetic justifications for blatant cutbacks when the actually reasoning behind
    the decision will purely be down to saving money. Say it, go on be honest.

  6. Jimbo

    Advances in technology? Networking technology has been around
    for a very long time now. What exactly have Real Radio been working with? Carts
    and vinyl?

    As usual we are furnished with a ‘radio nonsense’ quote about being able to
    serve the audience better. Wouldn’t it be slightly more refreshing to be told
    something that maybe more closely resembles the truth here? So something along
    the lines of “this is what the mother ship would want and it saves us rather a
    lot of money in wages”

    I’m purely having a direct go at the person/people who keep coming us with such
    pathetic justifications for blatant cutbacks when the actually reasoning behind
    the decision will purely be down to saving money. Say it, go on be honest!

  7. Radio Geordie

    Anyone remember back in the mid-1990s when the Radio Authority asked listeners “What should we do with the 105-108 part of the FM band when it becomes available?”
    One suggestion was for Virgin (now Absolute) to transfer to FM which was backed by the vast majority of its listeners. Other radio companies objected and so the Radio Authority decided that it would accommodate more local and regional services (in other words – listened to the other companies).
    Part of the reason they gave was revenue streams. In other words, National FM licence = an amount of money whilst a mix of local and regional licences = a shit load more money coming in.
    Pity they didn’t have a TARDIS back then. Substitue Virgin for Heart and you’ve got virtually the same thing now.
    In fact, maybe its time to have another rejig of the FM dial. Example:
    88.0 – 94.6 Radio’s 2, 3 & 4 (as now)
    94.6 – 97.6 All BBC Local/Regional services*
    97.6 – 99.8 Radio 1 (As Now)
    99.8-102.0 Classic FM (as Now)
    102.0-104.2 HEART (national service replacing local/regional services)
    104.2-108.0 Commercial local/regionals**
    Community licences slotted in where space is available
    *: Some frequencies could be found within the BBC’s national sub-bands.
    **: Only allowed to network late evening/early morning programmes (10pm – 6am daily). If radio companies can’t make a profit from these services, they don’t deserve to keep the licences.
    If Global want a national licence, fine. But it should be at the expense of all local and regional licences.

    1. MB

      Ofcom couldn’t do that because a) the high power transmitters on 102-104.2 would interfere with stations in neighbouring countries b} all national FM licences have to be auctioned off to the highest bidder (Broadcasting Act 1990). Global might win such an auction but they might not.


      Great idea – now, can anybody tell me where I can buy a radio which only has FM reception between 88.0- 94.6, thus eliminating all that commercial cac that Globule knock out on the cheap :)
      They may as well just employ one presenter for a couple of hours one afternoon to record a few generic “This is F’art” and “Here’s Adele, AGAIN!!!” type clips, then regurgitate them for the next year. Nobody would notice as anybody who listens to this 5hite needs a lobotomy.
      RIP COMMERCIAL RADIO (1973-Whenever your station was GWRed/Globuled)

  8. Radio Geordie

    And now, the end is near……
    That would be one appropriate song for when Real goes. Another one contains the lyrics :
    “You Can Kiss my Ass” (I think the artist may be Pink but I can’t remember what the song’s called). Anyway, the lyric would be Global’s response to the listeners.

  9. Declan McGrath

    imagine if the Real Radio stations forgot to opt out of the network to carry out breakfast/drive time shows. I’l be laughing. Heart has done it with its regional stations. it caused by single over spill with transmitters.

  10. TSA Solutions

    Andy Carter said: “Advances in technology mean we know we can produce
    high quality programming” …with Darren Parks & Debbie Mac?….two originators of the line up in the worst-perforning Real Radio service in the country?… Why didn’t they at least look around the regions for the best and network them from where they are….which by the way Mr. Carter is what Smooth do and NOT “from a single source”… (Bates in London, Peebles in Manchester etc) EG:- Daryl Denham & Elisa Hilton in Yorkshire are two of the best money can buy and now they’re out! I’m sure there were others from Scotland, Wales & the North East that would’ve fitted – instead, 2 muppets. Better still, unless for a good reason, get rid of Regional Radio, it’s done more harm than good (apart from Smooth in the North West when it was just by itself and beating Century & Real when it was just playing soul & the expertise of one Steve Collins, who never fails, behind it)

  11. I want local

    “Advances in technology mean we know we can produce high quality programming which is relevant to the lives of our audience and maintain the local content that is important to them, such as news, travel and weather.”

    Put another way: we can have 1 employee on 4 radio stations at the same time and save lotsa cash

  12. Craig Butler

    why dont we have one network commercial radio with voice tracks and jingle ids locally after all thats whats happining…. poor jocks out of work again,,, reminds me of gwr THE BETTER MUSIC MIX ..look what happened there!!! ive just had aradio reunion when the station was LOCAL…. but that will never happen again!!!///// good jocks out of work and turning to community stns….. mercia was mine and enjoyed but gone forever xxx

  13. Yorkshirebeat

    Tehnology killed the radio star. Real has struggled over the past few years for presenters with personality since umberto, Scott and Glenn on drive time full time, Dave sander, Ben Weston and al Kelly. My best of real radio schedule would have to be…

    6am Dixie and gayle(breakfast)
    10 Jonathan morell
    1pmElisha Hilton/Debbie mac
    4pm Scott and glenn( drive time)
    7pm David heane
    2am Dave miller/Steve Jordan

  14. Jack Price

    Really is disheartening to hear about more syndication in big brands. What sort of message does this spell for people like me on community radio stations waiting to break into the industry? It feels impossible enough to get your chance, this confirms it! I do enjoy listening to real radio even though I do feel it is heavily commercialised, the last think I want is more blandness

  15. Keith Hope

    Will it be
    any worse? The music on Real is all over the place and daytime presenters are restricted
    to timed windows of speech.

  16. Fanny Bhatta

    The Real North East line up is pretty poor anyway. Justin Lockwood and Kelly Scott together in the afternoon is particularly bad. I hope they aren’t retained as the drivetime presenters. Since the demise of the Legends, only Gary and Lisa on breakfast are worth tuning in for.

  17. J Addison

    If I wanted to listen to a nationwide radio station I would choose one for myself, I listen to Real Radio Scotland through personal choice, If the station makes these changes they will lose a lot of listeners across each region.

  18. Dave Wiggy Wiggins

    You All Think This Is A Good Take Over Gmg Radio In To Global Radio Think Again Because Presenters Will Loose Their Jobs It Is Not Nice As You May Know So Do Just Think Wright Now It Is Bad I Do Say Now And You All Think It Is Good That Global Should Take Over Gmg Radio Stations Real Radio And Smooth Radio And Real Radio Xs I Do Say Just Let Bauer Media Or Utv To Take Over Gmg Radio Stations Now Not Global And You Will Under Stand Why I Do Say This Now

    1. Declan McGrath

      dave for god sake mate Global are taking over them. its like someone has died the way you say it mate. UTV and Bauer will do the same in the near future. All the gmg radio presents will not loose there jobs because they will be offered jobs on hear, captial,gold,xfm so Dave it’s not the end of the word.!

  19. longwood

    Real sounds a little bland compared to Hallam, but better than Heart, though. Except for David Heane and Jo – the network shows sounded better than the regular [daytime format sounds different]
    At least Hallam has some personality – Steve White, Big John, Scott Makin, whereas the new Heart would probably be lacking in that department.
    Maybe Global could turn the Real stations into a sort of semi-Absolute Radio or Jack FM-style station, personality jocks, if there’s a gap in the Yorkshire/North East market for that sort of thing?
    Been listening to Kiss 92.5 online – that could be the model for Real Radio to adopt?

  20. Sour Grapes

    Has Capital Letters Davy Dave Wiggins Not Got Anything To Say About This Outstanding Tragedy And The Death Of Radio In The UK – Jeezo, that took me twice as long to type as it should’ve done.

  21. Martin Crowther

    It’s really sad to see a industry that you have a love and soft spot for get weaker and weaker. I wanted to become a radio presenter when I was younger but the stations have made it harder to get in settle in. Before technology came in your apprentice presenters would do the graveyard slot to get the right experience. Many stations expect you to be able to do daytime radio. I wanted to be a late night, overnight jock as its more personal and you could adjust your playlist a little more. Plus my style suited it more. overnightsHave your own club. (Like Alex lester does) I’ve realised regrettably I didn’t have what it took to get paid to be on air but there are a lot of young ones out there who have but will be missed because of the state of the industry.

  22. sela6

    Surely Global could sell Real Radio Yorkshire to local ownership, and maybe Capital South Wales to UKRD and convert Real Radio Wales to Heart Wales?

    Global will probably have to offload something, depending on the report, so maybe:
    Smooth East Midlands – UKRD to become Star Radio 106.6 ?
    or possibility no.2 for the East Midlands;
    East Midlands Capital stations – individually or as a group, would be a good fit for Bauer to rebrand them back to Trent, RAM, Leicester Sound, give them the same sound as Viking/Aire/Hallam, and take Yorkshire output like Steve Priestley etc. and keep Smooth East Midlands instead?

    Real Radio Yorkshire – maybe for local ownership or to UTV Radio ? Local ownership is a possibility. Capital seems more successful by comparison tbh.

    Capital South Wales – maybe to UKRD to rebrand as Red Dragon again and keep Real Radio Wales?
    Real XS – local ownership for both licences?
    Smooth London – maybe go to Orion Media, or UTV Radio?
    Real Radio North West – keep Capital, Smooth and XFM, but offload Real to go alongside Wish, Wire and Tower? RAJAR performance could be a reason. Alternatively, it could go to Quidem to become Touch 105.4 ?

    Just a thought.

    1. MB

      If Global are forced to sell anything in Wales their offer of providing a 20 minute local news programme on Real (with a dedicated Welsh Assembly reporter) gets withdrawn.
      On this basis alone I would say the Welsh Assembly Government will be strongly lobbying the Competition Commission to allow Global to keep all the stations they have in Wales.
      As for the rest, I think that Global will keep most of it. It’s only 3.3% of the advertising market. If it was TV it would be a different story, but it’s only radio and it’s 2012. You can listen to pretty much anything you like via TuneIn or an internet radio these days.

    2. James Martin

      On the question of the East Midlands, I’m not sure whether this would be permitted without offloading Gem 106, but could Global sell the FM and AM ILR licenses to Orion? Both perfect fits for the Free Radio and Free Radio 80s brands.

      Smooth could quite happily go to Bauer, however to become Magic 106.6.

      1. longwood

        I would have thought Smooth would be a good fit for UTV possibly – maybe Peak 106.6, and since Smooth became regionalized, surely Peak FM could do this under the Ofcom rules? After all Trent, RAM and Leicester Sound became Capital East Midlands due to this.

    3. Radio Geordie

      Bauer are probably going to be the big winners when Global find out what they have to sell. They will almost certainly be selling Real XS, which under the current ‘Two plus One rule’ (two commercial operators & the BBC) would allow Bauer to buy the station’s which would be rebranded as Kerrang. Smooth in London would almost certainly also have to be sold. Again Bauer could buy this licence. As Magic and Smooth are almost identical formats, Smooth would likely be rebranded as Kerrang as well.
      As for Wales, almost a certainty that Capital & Gold in Cardiff would not have to be sold as Nation Radio is the second regional service (and Kiss covering the Severn Estuary area including Caridiff) means under 2+1, Global could keep the Cardiff licences. It’s in North Wales where the current Heart services would have to be sold and possibly revert back to their old names. Again, Bauer are the likley winners although its not likley that they would be allowed to take the licence that covers The Wirral. UTV or UKRD would more likley get that service.
      As far as the East Midlands goes, Global could get away with just selling the Gold licences – possibly to Orion (owners of GEM 106) who would probably would relaunch Gold as Free 80s.

  23. Bright Spark

    Once Yorkshire gets Heart, I pretty much doubt that there would be any dedicated Breakfast or Drivetime programming as it would all come from London. Best thing to do is to retune to another, but non commercial, radio station as Heart will lose out in the end.

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