Today, Global Radio confirmed it has sold eight radio stations to Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp group, based in Dublin.
Communicorp has been approved by the Competition Commission as a suitable owner of the divested stations, but the sale is also subject to the approval of the Competition Authority in Ireland.
Today we found out what was widely speculated:
- Real Radio stations in the North West, North East, Wales and Scotland will become Heart and run by Global Radio.
- Smooth Radio stations in the East Midlands, North West and North East will stay as Smooth Radio but will be run under a franchise agreement with Communicorp. These stations will have regional breakfast and drivetime shows but take programming from Global Radio-operated Smooth Radio London off peak.
- Heart North Wales to become Capital and run by Global Radio.
- Smooth Radio will replace Gold on AM frequencies across England, with the exception of London, Manchester and East Midlands where Smooth already operates on FM.
- Real Radio in Yorkshire and North Wales will become Heart under franchise agreement with Communicorp.
- Capital South Wales and Capital Scotland will stay as Capital and be run under franchise agreement with Communicorp.
- Real Radio XS in Glasgow will remain with Global Radio and be turned into Xfm
- Real and Smooth Radio CEO Mark Lee will remain in charge and continue to lead the business.
- Hold Separate will continue across the two companies until the deal has been cleared by the Irish Competition Authority.
Here what we don’t know
Timescale: We presume Global and Communicorp will want to start things moving as quickly as possible but no dates have been confirmed for any of the changes. Global is hoping the Irish review will take less than two months.
Real Radio XS Manchester: This station has been sold to Communicorp but details of what this station will become has not been confirmed.
Formats: The format of Heart North Wales is somewhat different to that of Capital. We’ve asked Global and Ofcom for details on how Heart North Wales can become Capital.
Formats: Similarly, if Real XS Glasgow is to become Xfm – a format change will be required.
Digital One: With Gold coming off AM, it’s highly likely that Smooth’s Digital One slot will be taken over by Gold.
More on this story as we get it at RadioToday.co.uk.