12 months in radio – 2007

Wow — what a year. Who’d have thought Emap and Chrysalis Radio would be no more, Virgin Radio’s CEO would be running GCap, and a German magazine company would be on the verge of taking over Viking FM and West Sound.

As an industry during the last 12 months we said hello to Global and Bauer, said goodbye to Emap and Chrysalis, and was stuck for words when Channel 4 well and truly entered the industry by winning the second national digital multiplex. Stuck for words? You can make of that as you feel fit, but we can’t wait for the 4 digital group to start kicking ass in 2008 when they switch on their new network of speech and entertainment led radio channels.

But before we get into 2008 — let’s take a quick look at things that have happened in the last 365 days. 2007 was the the year of Emap job cuts, phone-in scandals, Co-location requests and take-overs.

The year started off in January when Jon Hewson quit his position as chief executive of CN Radio, Fru Hazlitt resigned from Virgin Radio, SAGA 105.2’s founding managing director Norman Quirk stepped down and Connect FM quit Kettering by making plans to move to Peterborough. CanWest won another licence and launched an Original station in Aberdeen, with Tom Hunter joining the group to head up the Bristol station. River FM closed in West Lothian.

In February, Laser Broadcasting won their first radio licence in Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, UTV Radio gained approval to co-location three northwest stations and BamBam started his evening show on Capital in a mass of publicity.

March saw the on-air names of SAGA and Smooth FM morph into Smooth Radio, and Country station 3c closed down. And whilst NGW and C4 submitted their digital multiplex bids, GCap’s Core turned into a non-stop lifeless jukebox.

In April theJazz gained a full schedule of jazzy presenters, Sir Michael Lyons took over as Chairman of the BBC Trust and Ofcom agreed another co-location request, this time from Tindle Radio. GCap bought back Classic Gold, DRM trails arrived in Devon and Imus was no longer ‘in the morning’ after being sacked from CBS. BBC journalist Alan Johnston was kidnapped.

May was Madeleine month, at least on radio. Can you believe it was seven months ago when we all united to play a song for her? TLRC chairman Graham Parrott quit, Xfm axed daytime jocks and Tom Moloney announced he was leaving Emap. Chris Tarrant was arrested for that restaurant incident and the BBC cleaned up at the Sony Awards.

In June, Capital Disney closed down, Traffic Radio launched on various local digital multiplexes and The Big Listen was hailed as a success for commercial radio. Ian Dickens, the DRDB boss quit, and an RSL station learnt the hard way after a telling off from Ofcom for having their news bulletins sponsored. GMG set up regional news hubs and the sale of Chrysalis Radio was announced, pending approval.

New boys on the block Global Radio start their dig into the industry in July by hiring Richard Park and letting Phil Riley quit. The the £170m take over of Chrysalis was complete. Alan Johnson was released, Channel 4 won the national multiplex and RadioToday spent a few days in Cambridge providing complete coverage of The Radio Festival. Liz Kershaw found herself in hot water and Tony Blackburn got the sack when GCap announced launch plans for Gold.

August was the month which saw Paul Jackson quit Virgin and follow Fru to GCap. The speculation for who will buy Emap started, the industry celebrated 40 years since the MOA, GCap got a hefty fine for the Secret Song breach, and Radio Cleveland was confined to history to make way for BBC Tees. And Ivan Brackenbury went down a treat in Edinburgh.

In September, Andy Kershaw was locked up, Radio 1 celebrated 40 years of broadcasting and Ofcom agreed a co-location request for Bath FM to move to Swindon. Emap’s digital station Heat re-launched, former LBC boss David Lloyd joined Virgin Radio and Richard Huntingford started work at Virgin Radio.

Mark Thompson announced the BBC is to cut almost 3000 jobs and Lincs FM bought Oak 107 FM from CN Group in October. Touch FM Warwick, Coventry and Stratford-upon-Avon gained permission to co-locate with Rugby FM, JACK fm launched and Win 107.2 relaunched as Dream 107.2. Also this month, Global Radio ended separate agreements with Sky (pulling out of Sky News Radio) and GMG Radio (ending a sale agreement).

Ralph Bernard announced he is to step down as chief executive of GCap Media and Xfm launched in South Wales in November. Radio UK Holdings finally decided what they were doing and gave back the Plymouth licence and voice-over artist Emma Clarke hit the headlines all over the world because of some spoof announcements on her website. Ofcom’s The Future of Radio was revealed and Radio Today reported from the NAB conference in Spain.

Finally, in December Bob Shennan quit the BBC to join Channel 4 Radio, Fru Hazlitt was appointed as GCap’s new Chief Executive and Capital binned BamBam. UBC Media launched Cliq, Emap sold their radio stations to Bauer for £422m and Trafficlink was bought sold for £16m.

A sad year for radio as we announced the deaths of many local and national radio figures. It was goodbye and thankyou for the music to Mr Manchester Tony Wilson, IRN’s Ruth Hill and former Virgin Radio and BBC presenter Kevin Greening.

BBC Radio Kent broadcast journalist Jonathan Witchell passed away, One of Wales’ best-loved broadcasters Ray Gravell died suddenly and BBC Radio broadcaster Sheridan Morley also died. The industry also lost Van Hopkins, BBC Leicester’s rugby voice, Sir David Hatch, a former producer of Light Entertainment for Radio, Dr Anthony Clare, a broadcaster and psychiatrist and BBC Essex’s Faith producer and presenter Chris Bard.

Mark Tavener, the writer responsible for the BBC Radio 4 series Absolute Power and High Table, Lower Orders passed away and BBC broadcaster and producer Ned Sherrin, host of Radio 4’s Loose Ends programme also died from cancer.

So what for next year? We could make predictions such as Global buying GCap, and UTV buying TLRC but we’d like to leave them to you. Registered members can add comments to this and every story using our new comments feature. Take it away!

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Similar Stories