Major brand swap for Bauer's local stations
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Major brand swap for Bauer’s local stations

Magic will disappear from medium wave radios from next year, as Bauer Media announces a major shuffle of its Place portfolio brands.

Bauer is promising the launch of “two new local services in each major city to complement the highly demanded ‘Place’ stations”.

London’s Magic 105.4 ‘adult contemporary’ output will go national on the Digital One multiplex from January, replacing Absolute Radio 90s. As a result, the ‘oldies’ version of Magic will go to make way for ‘Place 2′ stations in each of the areas of northern England where Magic currently broadcasts on AM. Bauer says these stations will be rebranded in line with the ‘Place 1′ station in each area, so in Liverpool: Radio City will stay on FM and DAB, and Magic 1548 will become Radio City 2, targeting a 45-64 year old audience.

In addition a ‘Place 3′ local station will go on DAB (eg Radio City 3), offering current hits to a younger 15-25 demographic. This will be a ‘local version’ of The Hits Radio. The Hits will stay as a brand on digital television and on DAB in London.

The change affects the English stations in Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. Four Scottish brands – Clyde, Forth, Tay and MFR – will also get a ‘Place 3′ Hits Radio station.

Place 2 stations will use the strapline ‘The Greatest Hits for…’, while the Place 3 stations will have ‘Today’s New Music’.

At present, the Magic AM network of stations in the North of England has three regional breakfast shows – one for the North West, one for the North East and one for Yorkshire. The remainder of weekday output comes from Magic in Newcastle along with some weekend programming. Presenters including Tony Blackburn and Mike Read currently do weekend shows on the Magic AM stations from London. RadioToday has asked how programming will work and where it will be presented from for the ‘Place 2′ stations but Bauer is unable to comment at this stage, other than saying that it will remain broadly the same as at the moment.

Bauer says the changes will “help drive strong audience growth but also offer advertisers a coherent, simplified and scaled national and local brand proposition.”

Magic, KISS and Absolute Radio will be the group’s main ‘national’ brands (replacing the ‘Passion portfolio’ which has been dropped), complemented by heat radio, Planet Rock and Kerrang! There are no planned changes to the Absolute Radio decades stations or Absolute Classic Rock, other than Absolute Radio 90s moving from D1 to local multiplexes around the country.

In addition, KISSTORY will go on DAB across ‘several cities’ including London and Birmingham, while KISS FRESH goes onto DAB in London for the first time.

Commenting on the new strategy, Dee Ford, Group Managing Director said: “This strategy marks a new era for Bauer Media’s radio brands. Our aim is to accelerate our significant lead in digital listening, growing our audiences both nationally and locally whilst making it easy for customers to access those scaled valuable audiences. Significant investment in content, talent, marketing and platforms is underpinned with the energy and drive of the Bauer Radio team.”

Bauer is applying jointly with UTV Media to operate the second national DAB multiplex, D2. Interestingly, UTV already have ‘1’ and ‘2’ services in some areas, such as Signal 1/Signal 2 in Stoke and Pulse 1/Pulse 2 in Bradford.

What will happen area by area?

Liverpool
Radio City 96.7 = Radio City
Magic 1548 = Radio City 2
The Hits Radio = Radio City 3
CityTalk 105.9 stays the same

Manchester
Key 103 = Key 103
Magic 1152 = Key 2
The Hits Radio = Key 3

Preston
97.4 Rock FM = Rock FM
Magic 999 = Rock FM 2
The Hits Radio = Rock FM 3

Sheffield
Hallam FM = Hallam FM
Magic AM = Hallam 2
The Hits Radio = Hallam 3

Leeds
96.3 Radio Aire = Radio Aire
Magic 828 = Radio Aire 2
The Hits Radio = Radio Aire 3

Hull
96.9 Viking FM = Viking FM
Magic 1161 = Viking 2
The Hits Radio = Viking 3

Middlesbrough
TFM = TFM
Magic 1170 = TFM 2
The Hits Radio = TFM 3

Newcastle
Metro Radio = Metro Radio
Magic 1152 = Metro Radio 2
The Hits Radio = Metro Radio 3

Carlisle
CFM = CFM
No additional services

Glasgow
Clyde 1 = Clyde 1
Clyde 2 = Clyde 2
The Hits Radio = Clyde 3

Edinburgh
Forth One = Forth One
Forth 2 = Forth 2
The Hits Radio = Forth 3

Dundee
Tay FM = Tay FM
Tay AM = Tay 2
The Hits Radio = Tay 3

Aberdeen
NorthSound 1 = Northsound 1
NorthSound 2 = Northsound 2

Inverness
MFR = MFR
MFR 2 = MFR 2
The Hits Radio = MFR 3

Ayr
96.7 West FM = West FM
West Sound = Westsound

Borders
Radio Borders stays the same

Dumfries
West Sound FM stays the same (already part of ‘Greatest Hits’ network)

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1 49 19539 28 September, 2014 Industry News 1:33 pm 20149 Sunday, September 28th, 2014

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