Global Radio to take LBC national on D1
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Global Radio to take LBC national on D1

London’s Biggest Conversation is going national on Digital One, and changing its reverse acronym to Leading Britain’s Conversation.

LBC will replace Birdsong from 7am on February 11th on the national DAB multiplex, which has been filling space since Jazz FM left on December 31st.

The station will position itself as the first ever national full news talk commercial radio station, complete with current features including Call Clegg, in which this news was first announced to London.

Global founder & executive president, Ashley Tabor told RadioToday: “LBC has been a pioneer since it began broadcasting as the first commercial radio station 40 years ago, challenging traditional formats and producing innovative shows. Under Global’s ownership last year we introduced a first in UK radio with the Deputy Prime Minister hosting his own weekly show on LBC, ‘Call Clegg,’ giving LBC’s listeners, the public, a chance to hold a senior political figure directly to account for the first time every week.

“From February 11th 2014 Global is investing further in digital radio, and in speech radio, to create the UK’s first national commercial news talk radio station, giving listeners across the whole of the UK a voice and a forum to engage in the issues that matter to them. I’m incredibly proud to bring the winning LBC formula to listeners across the UK and for Global to lead the way in the development of UK media brands.”

The station will continue to be available on FM in London, plus Sky, Virgin and online and has 1.3m listeners nationwide.

1 43 3949 30 January, 2014 Alerts, Industry News Thursday, January 30th, 2014


  1. Bampster

    The “UK’s first national commercial news talk radio station”? So what was Talk Radio UK, then? (Apart from “not very good”.)

  2. Len Groat

    But surely its remit is to reflect London, which it has done for 40 years. So HOW can it possibly have discussions about the whole UK without annoying/losing London listeners, and breaking the remit, or are Ofcom NOT bothered?!

          1. Len Groat

            Still amused that today’s younger generation have no concept of how good commercial radio COULD be, as they’ve only ever heard under-regulated, networked stations ….

    1. Steve Freestone

      Len, LBC has never reflected London. It’s news service was always “national” in it’s policy and not “local”. Maybe LBC’s problems is that it doesn’t play enough Phil Collins or Beatles tracks, Len?

      1. Len Groat

        But with the strap line “London’s Biggest Conversation” + Boris Johnson on I think it was perceived as a London Station? :-)
        I never have and never will play any Phil Collins on ! :-)

        1. Dave

          But the strap line will be “Leading Britain’s Conversation”!

          Steve is right, listen to LBC, hear now many stories outside they cover, using journalists from Global around the country!

          Also there were lots complained when LBC disappeared from regional multiplexes – so why not take advantage?

          PROGRESSION! It’s not the work of the devil

          p.s. Yes, I’m a guest, so what?

        2. Steve Freestone

          Boris is a national celebrity. OK, maybe you’ll play ABBA or some other boring MOR stuff. iPods, mp3s, Len, radio has changed. People want information not an imposed play list (and that’s not just you, Global/Bauer do the same.)

        3. Guest2

          With a Station name of “Solid Gold Gem.AM” I perceived it as a station on an AM frequency serving the “Great East Midlands”. Neither is true. I was wrong as well. :-)

        4. AnnoyingLen

          I see Solidgoldgem.AM has lost popularity again. Your currently ranked over 18million’th world wide… meaning you get around 5 different listeners a month. Why bother with this awful station?

          1. Len Groat

            Thank you for your FIRST post on this topic. How many other accounts do you have with ONE post on here?

            As regards ‘annoying Len’ the only things that annoy me are anonymous contributors who clearly never actually listen to radio stations, or have had any EXPERIENCE in radio.

            We have a LOT more listeners, 2 separate feeds, our APP + an average of 125-250 views of EVERY post on Facebook.

            Probably best to open a tin of Spaghetti ‘Oops for your dinner, then get back to Digital Spy…..

      2. Jonathan Perry

        Not strictly true. When I worked there from 82 – 97 we took IRN on the hour, followed by local news and weather. Working across all of the shows though mainly Clive Bull through the night the output was very local

    2. mb

      Under Ofcom’s rules London-wide FM stations are allowed to drop all local content if they are on national DAB. It’s the same concession that is available to the Smooth stations (and Real Radio in Wales).

  3. MP

    Until last year, LBC was quasi-national on DAB and since Chrysalis owned the station has been on Sky and Virgin Media, while keeping it’s London-centricity.

    However, as it’s rebranding as a national station, I have concerns what remains of the London topics will be diluted. One of LBC’s strength’s has been the place to debate local weather issues or react quickly to breaking news in the capital, such as the Vauxhall helicopter crash.

    Will listeners in Scotland be interested in hearing London’s Mayor debating three-day travelcards?

    1. Darth Fader

      Commercial Radio has to expand to include other parts of the country. Look at Heart and Capital etc…

      A lot of topics I’ve heard on LBC of late are of national interest.

      1. MP

        Obviously Darth, which is why LBC are expanding their coverage to attract national advertisers.

        However LBC has just under 1.1m listeners within the London area TSA, those who also listen for local news, travel and weather updates.

        If Global decide to dilute those core local elements, all the hard work building up the 1m+ reach in London will have gone to waste for national topics and news.

  4. Darryl Meades

    Good news. 5Live needs some sort of competition. I’ll be listening.

    Will LBC will still be able to opt-out on 97.3FM if they need to provide a separate service for London?

  5. Darth Fader

    I live in Hampshire and it means i can dust off my DAB Radio and not rely on the internet to listen. Great competition for 5Live.

  6. Gareth Hart

    A welcome addition which makes a change from the usual pop and rock stations which tend to clog up the DAB multiplex space. Does seem a complete u-turn from recent events where LBC was taken off local and regional multiplexes on the basis of very low listener figures and a move toward being London centric.

    Another consequence of this is that I suspect the requirement for a “jazz, soul and blues” station has been removed from Digital One’s licence. The relevant bulletin from Ofcom shall confirm that in due time but its another blow for niche and specialist content on DAB which is being squeezed off the spectrum by large radio conglomerates and identikit radio services.

    1. JerseySpence

      Here’s a point? Wasn’t there an announcement on Radio Today last month or so that there was to be a replacement service for Jazz FM? I wonder if this has now fallen by the wayside?

  7. Jonathan Perry

    It will mean that London will lose out on local issues being debated. Hopefully BBC London 94.9 can build on that.

  8. John Hastings

    BBC 5 Live has done a very good job with news coverage over the last 20 years, but it is welcome news that they will now have a national rival in LBC. Global do (sadly) have their knockers – but for this, they should be applauded.

  9. wilsonyorks

    Glad to
    hear that we will be able to listen again to LBC in Yorkshire. I’ve missed it
    since it disappeared from the Yorkshire DAB transmitters. Good move to rename
    it as ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’. Perhaps some of the other Global Radio
    studios around the country e.g. Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds &
    Manchester could be used so that guests from outside London could be available
    to answer listeners’ questions. Perhaps LBC News 1152 & London 1 DAB will stay as the London-focused station.

    1. Radio Geordie

      What would make sense to me, is that the breakfast & drivetime programmes stay local on the FM service only. The DAB service could switch to broadcasting the AM news service at these times – The best of both worlds.

      One thing that would be a problem though, is football commentaries (if they have any) wouldn’t be allowed to be broadcast nationally as between them, BBC Radio 5 Live (and Sports Extra), Absolute Radio & talkSport have those rights.

      1. MP

        I can’t see them removing Nick Ferrari and Iain Dale just to meet the format requirements of the London FM licence sadly. The only part of LBC’s output outside of news, weather and travel they should consider not broadcasting on D1 is the Ask Boris segment of the breakfast show which deals with questions from listeners who live with the GLA area.

      2. John Hastings

        LBC do not have football commentaries and never have done (that I know of anyway). The only sports output they have is “Scores”, hosted by Ian Payne between 2.30 & 6pm.

    2. MP

      A slight correction Wilson, LBC News 1152 is on London 3 at 48kbps mono.

      Global’s policy has been to keep local variants of national brands for advertising reasons in FM TSA’s, such as Smooth Radio on London 1, so I’d expect LBC’s London feed to continue on London 1 and 97.3 FM with split London ads, travel and news to meet the FM format requirements.

      1. wilsonyorks

        MP: According to the website both LBC stations are on London 1 CE Digital multiplex.

  10. Wireless Wally

    Whoever came up with ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ as a name for a radio station needs to think again. I’ve been trying to say it all day and it just doesn’t work – for me anyway. If I do listen from February 11th (and as a Londoner I don’t know if I want to listen to debates about bus fares in Middlesborough etc), I’ll just stick with ‘The LBC’ as old folks used to call it when it started. And what will regular advertisers be doing? ‘The Big Red Building on Golders Green Road’ will mystify many.

  11. Stevieg

    A very backward step. Listening to birdsong is infinitely more relaxing and informative than listening to the ranting of rent-a-mouth Ferarri.

  12. james

    re wireless wally i guess commershals will be split on regional transmiters . regards the name branding why not just drop 97.3 and just call it lbc and leave it as that ! ill be tuned in i love lbc dose any one know if there will be any split shows for verious regions ?

  13. Microbe

    WOT! LBC is no longer London any more? Ah Well! will have to go to BBC London 94.9 to continue to find out what London is all about from now on!

  14. Radio Listener

    In a years time it will be back to London’s Biggest Conservatives 97.3FM and Global would have replaced it with Heart +1, the same 10 tracks, every hour.

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