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BLOG: The beginning of the twist

And so it begins. The biggest radio group in the UK have finally bared their teeth.

A week after their £375 million offer to buy GCap Media was accepted, Global Radio have begun the gentrification of the radio industry. You can justify it any way you like, but the bottom line is that this is grave news for the industry.

Networking won't change the character of these services? Which radio stations have Ofcom been listening to? The strength of the Galaxy stations has always been that they were about lifestyle, not simply the music. I've always heard presenters who know their transmission area, who work in it, play in it and speak to callers every day about whatever's going on in it.

But it's not just the audience who will lose out. Succession planning becomes a thing of the past when you're a PC with just two presenters. S&P revenues will take a hit because you can't fulfill the requests for presenters to present club nights when you have just two on the schedules.

The whole system is a folly, the listener is being taken for a ride. And don't think this is because these stations are losing money. As far as the Galaxy stations are concerned, they have in the past (at least until the last set of RAJAR figures) been hugely successful. Breakfast on Galaxy Yorkshire attracts more listeners than XFM London manages across the whole schedule. Any executives who can't turn a handsome profit from a station reaching nearly a million listeners should resign from the industry.

To network weekday output from Heart London to the Midlands is preposterous. What happens in the event of a breaking news story in London? Somebodies output will be compromised whichever TSA you live in.

And it won't stop there. If anything, Global's decision will only bring confidence to other radio groups. After all, if an AC network can network the bulk of their output, any network can.

The networking, the rationalising of resources, the loss of jobs will not stop here. Global Radio are soon to be the dominant force in radio, and this is the example they are setting to the rest of the industry. These decisions aren't being made with listeners in mind. They're being made with the advertiser in mind. That sort of thinking is putting the cart before the horse.

The 12 presenters and deputy PCs who are being made redundant from Global won't be the last, we suspect. No matter what size radio group you belong to, no matter who safe you feel your job is, don't bet on having it in a years' time. Radio ain't what it used to be.

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