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Smooth NE to launch in Jan 08

Another star will be born in North East England on 8th January 2008 at 8am. GMG's Smooth Radio brand is being extended to a sixth region on FM as the licence won by Saga goes on air. Smooth have hired UTV regional programme director Kevin Howard as the PD for the new station.

The Smooth Radio brand was brought in earlier this year to replace the North West and London Smooth FM stations, as well as the old Saga stations in Glasgow and the East and West Midlands. Saga had been awarded the North East licence prior to the deal which sold their radio assets to GMG earlier this year. Smooth's aimed at listeners aged 40+ and plays a mix of easy listening from the last five decades — from Abba to The Beatles, Rod Stewart to The Carpenters and Diana Ross to Simply Red.

The new station – on 97.5 FM – will broadcast from brand new studios in Gateshead. Sister station 100-102 Century FM is moving into the new building too after 14 years at Church Street in the town.

GMG Radio Chief Executive John Myers — known to many across the north-east as former Century breakfast host John Morgan, said: "Launching a second radio station in the north-east on the back of a very successful Century is something we are really looking forward to. Our new Smooth service is aimed at those who want a wider mix of music and a softer style which we are confident will bring new listeners to commercial radio and take audience away from the BBC."

Smooth NE's Programme Director Kevin Howard, who's previously been at stations including Signal Radio, Peak FM and Marcher Sound, added: "I'm really excited to be joining Smooth Radio at such an important time. The latest listening figures for the brand across the country were very impressive and I’m sure that the new Smooth Radio in the north-east will replicate that success next year."


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