Global Radio sale: What we don't know yet
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Global Radio sale: What we don’t know yet

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

1 13 5124 07 February, 2014 Industry News Friday, February 7th, 2014


  1. MP

    Smooth will also broadcast on two Welsh AM stations in Cardiff/Newport and Wrexham which will have to provide four hours of programming from within the nation on weekdays. Gold in Wales currently opt-out of network between noon-4pm.

  2. Denny

    Great work RT – explains a fairly complicated arrangement simply and concisely.

    More of this please.

  3. Dave Wiggy Wiggins

    global could have put this station heart 102point four Gloucestershire and gold 774 am Gloucestershire for sale because later this year 2014 heart 102 point four Gloucestershire and gold 774 am Gloucestershire licence do come up for sale so global might have put these 2 stations heart 102point four Gloucestershire and gold 774 am Gloucestershire up for sale now

  4. Radio Geordie

    Real XS in Glasgow will become XFM.
    That’s the same XFM that FAILED when it broadcast in the area as a regional service.
    Work that one out!

    Would it not have made more sense to turn it into a GOLD service?

    1. Guest

      They will almost certainly apply to Ofcom to network it all from Manchester or London on the basis that it’s a specialist music station. Ofcom have said they will consider such requests.

      1. andrewbowden

        Xfm London and Manchester have separate weekday drivetime and breakfast shows, with the rest being shared. Seems likely they’d do the same for Glasgow.

  5. Dave Wiggy Wiggins

    global heart 102pointfour Gloucestershire and gold 774 am Gloucestershire licence should be up for sale later this year2014 it is true I do think some other radio groups like bauer media and utv and other radio groups should know this now

  6. RStein

    Re: Formats for the ex-Marcher licences – Ofcom said in their Annual Plan they will consult on music formats this year and then have a new framework in place potentially by the summer. Global could potentially wait for this. Although I’m sure they could argue in the case of 103.4/97.1 that “Adult Contemporary” is now covered in the formats of the two Real regionals and although not a format requirement Dee is AC.

  7. Lucio Buffone

    hi dave wiggly wliggins im going to by heart oneohtwopinotfor glocesterershire and turn it into the hot fm better musak mix

  8. James Vincent

    So… Global has sold. But still get their way? Hang on. Capital South East Wales to stay the same. I was hoping we [and other parts of Britain] would get something new.
    There is something wrong with Ofcom. Someone needs a good kick. Rant over…

  9. Asterick Jones

    Good summary. What do you think’s going to happen with Heart Cymru and it’s welsh language songs and output? Will they just do that on a Capital station rather than a Heart station? Also in the Wirral, 97.1 (ex-Buzz97.1) was part of the same Marcher group, is this also destined to be a Capital?

    1. mb

      That’s correct, they will all be Capital stations and the Welsh language programming will stay. Capital Cymru sounds a better name anyway.
      Global will need to apply for a format change to remove the “classic hits” element from the format, but they won’t get it through if they try and remove the Welsh language shows.

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