Celador Radio is not making a profit after five years of trading and building up an 18-strong group of stations.
Speaking at the Radio Academy’s South West Branch event this week, Chief Executive and Chairman Paul Smith CBE said a number of individual stations in the group are making money but overall the group is not.
He didn’t reveal which stations are, but said The Breeze in Bath will probably never make a profit because the coverage area is so small.
“The TSA is less than 100,000 so we’ll never get that station in to profit, but we’d never give the licence back,” Paul told an audience of around 50 radio professionals in Exeter.
When asked about the future plans for the group, which operates stations under The Breeze brand and also JACK fm, Paul said he wants Celador to be the biggest operator of local radio in the South, “and I think we’re probably there,” he added. Celador applied for a number of licences during the 90s and 00s but gained its first radio station by buying Original 106 from CanWest in 2008.
Paul said he’s not ruling out buying other stations to grow the group, but will only acquire stations when they are in financial trouble and therefore cheaper.
The topic of DAB was also talked about, with Paul saying DAB is a problem and FM should never be switched off. He also praised Ashley Tabor and Richard Park for operating a “great radio company” in Global Radio, but added the “regional” Heart stations can never deliver the kind of local content he does with his stations.
Paul also discussed his history in television and radio with Radio Plymouth’s David Rodgers who was hosting the event. He talked about creating television programmes such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and It’ll Be Alright On The Night.
But radio is what drives him. “Celador Radio is driven by passion and one day it would be nice to turn more of our stations into profit,” he said.