Ashley Tabor explains CC tribunal fight
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Ashley Tabor explains CC tribunal fight

Global Radio Founder and Executive President Ashley Tabor has been defending his decision to take the competition commission to court.

Speaking during his interview on stage at the Radio Festival in Salford on Tuesday morning, Ashley said he is still delighted that he made the decision to buy GMG Radio. “Absolutely I am,” said Ashley.

He explained the only area the Competition Commission has a problem with is local sales, but is not convinced a local radio station is the only marketing choice for a local business.

“Does a local company only chosen between the local radio stations or can they choose between outdoor, television, local press, bus sides, not to mention online, Facebook, Google etc. That’s why we’re challenging it and that’s why we think there’s been an error.”

On DAB, Global Radio is supportive of the digital radio future. “It’s very important we have a positive decision from the Government on the DAB switchover in December, Ashley said on the upcoming announcement in December.

“What we need is for the Government to say DAB will be the predominant radio listening platform in the future. That will unlock the funding to take it forward.”

Discussing his network of local stations, Ashley said “How local is delivered is what matters.”

He went on to say: “It is possible for a DJ to be in the area and not say a word about the local area, and that ticks the Ofcom box. What matters is what the presenter says, not where they physically are.”

Interviewer Torin Douglas said he was asked to pose the question: “Would you like to own all of commercial radio if you were allowed?”

“The answer everyone expects me to say is yes but I’m actually not sure what the answer is,” said Ashley.

Follow action from the Radio Festival today with sponsored by Arqiva.

0 18 1546 15 October, 2013 Industry News Tuesday, October 15th, 2013


  1. Len Groat

    Douglas: “Would you like to own all of commercial radio if you were allowed?”

    Tabor: “The answer everyone expects me to say is yes but I’m actually not sure what the answer is”

    Well that speaks REAMS to start with…..

    If Capital’s London audience vacillates by a percentage point they get all excited and claim they are ‘No. 1′ again – but IGNORE the 8 times larger audience on the BBC stations!

    Tabor: ” that’s why we think there’s been an error”

    No! The ‘error’ is in micro-broadcasting an unhealthy youth-led musical diet of (good-looking) heavily-hyped artists with nothing to say, rather than broadcasting a bigger variety to adults.

    To achieve this micro-broadcasting Global have effectively closed-down what was local radio. They have made skilled local broadcasters with local knowledge redundant, and replaced it with ‘local’ content broadcasting digitally from London by dj’s who have never even lived in the areas they broadcast AT !

    Ofcom and the government gave in to pressure from the big groups from the GWR days onwards. They now need to finally put the brakes on to stop this destroying the industry, all for the sake of pandering to under 30s who are in any case turning away from radio right NOW to media that let’s then choose a bigger variety of music!

      1. Len Groat

        James Martin : Specsavers!!

        I was CLEARLY talking about ‘Capital’, their (glossy) flagship station, which gets 90% of their attention / PR / advertising budget – I don’t recall a ‘Gold Summer Ball’ !?

        And to use the language of this forum I don’t think Global “give a stuff” about Gold, as it wallows around the bottom of the tank with its small 2% audience reach in London…..

        1. James Martin

          Yes. Iust have dreamt about the Gold Weekender. Given your emotional attchement to Gold East Midlands I’m surprised that slipped past your radar.

          1. Len Groat

            That’s very kind James but I’m 64, ‘retired’ and am already on a perfect radio station: free-choice oldies,JAM, PAMS and TM jingles! And we are not just limited to UK but ‘the world’. We don’t care how many people listen, we are just after ‘quality listeners :-) Now, what is it called? Oh yes !

    1. GloBore

      I really don’t give a stuff if a commercial radio presenter is broadcasting from London, Salford, Leeds or Timbuktu, except in rural areas where commercial radio still plays an active part in the community We have the community radio model for Dave Doubledecks to play a random selection of music on a pseudo ILR format in areas where there is competitive commercial radio. Otherwise the CR model works perfectly fine for underserved groups, such as the youth or ethnic minorities.

      While it’s sad that some presenters have had to retrain in other industries, it’s the same for those who don’t work in broadcasting.

      The world has moved on and that’s the same for broadcasting.

      1. James Martin

        Yes. Content is king. I’d rather have a polished slick marketable product emanating from outside the TSA rather than an Alan Partridge tribute act within it.

    2. Darth Fader

      Yes, young people are using Spotify, Pandora, iTunes etc and don’t really listen to commercial radio as the ads are boring. Ben Cooper at Radio 1 is aiming for Capitals target market and Global are sitting back at the moment and letting it all happen, instead concentrating on taking on yet more stations. Time to update the content i think!

  2. John B-S

    Oh dear. Ashley is buying up radio stations the way a child would buy sweets or toys. It is all rather sad as they all end up sounding much the same. The lack of real competition in commercial radio is very unhealthy.

    1. MB

      Bauer & Celador are also buying up stations, and Bauer put in a bid for Real & Smooth.
      GMG wanted to get out of radio and sell these stations, that’s business..

  3. There is no error

    “Does a local company only chosen between the local radio stations or can they choose between outdoor, television, local press, bus sides, not to mention online, Facebook, Google etc. That’s why we’re challenging it and that’s why we think there’s been an error.”

    Ashley — if that’s the way you feel then you should have NO problem allowing full competition, ie, an unlimited number of FM stations on the air, duplication of format, no restrictions on community radio, etc. That would be TRUE competition. The truth is: FM radio signals are few, and so, they must be regulated. Anyone can start a newspaper, outdoor adverts, an online social media site, and these can be UNLIMITED. Your company owns FM facilities which are LIMITED in number, and that is why you argument won’t wash. Clear Channel used this same lame argument in America trying to say they should be able to own an umlimited number of stations in a market as there were also newspapes, local press, bus sides, etc. They lost.

    1. MB

      In a digital world the “restricted FM licences” argument just won’t wash. Anyone can start a commercial radio station today and broadcast on the internet, DAB or digital TV. Shortly there will be local TV stations for local advertisers to buy slots in all of these areas.
      There are a multitude of media options for local advertisers in all seven areas and the FM licences being discussed will probably be shut down at the end of this decade anyway. The original decision doesn’t reflect the reality of the multi-platform radio market today.

      1. There is no error

        Yes, anyone can start a station on internet, DAB, or Digital TV, but NO ONE CAN on FM. If you’re argument was valid then Global would have no problem giving up their FMs to only be on DAB and Digital TV, but the fact they are challenging the ruling shows how valuable and important FM is at the present time, so valuable they don’t want to give ANY of them up. It is this value placed on FM that shows how it is detrimental to allow one entity to own all these FMs. In the future your argument may be very valid but rulings are not based on ‘what if’ or ‘probably’ but based on the facts as they stand now.

  4. headphones

    Why don’t Global dispose of Real, keep the Smooth stations, sell off Real and Smooth assets in Scotland, keep the Capital network.
    Real is a better brand than Heart anyway; there’s a distinct lack of male-focused brands, save for Real XS.

    I could see Heart 106.2 becoming Jack FM London possibly…

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