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Ofcom say no to Smooth

Ofcom has rejected GMG Radio's request to drop jazz music from it's Smooth Radio stations in London and in the North-West, after the results of a public consultation.

Despite the decision, GMG Radio still plan to relaunch Jazz FM on digital radio in London, the north west and the West Midlands.

GMG wished to remove an obligation to play 45 hours of jazz music on each FM station in return for providing 24 hour a day jazz services on DAB in London and the North West.

While welcoming GMG’s decision to provide jazz services on DAB, Ofcom felt it could not link consideration of a change to analogue radio services to a proposed change to DAB services.

Ofcom received 42 responses to its public consultation on the matter. 14 were in favour of the requests being granted, while twice as many were against.

The tone of many of the responses against the change, was that GMG knew what they were buying when they bought Jazz FM, and that they had been allowed enough change.

The only radio group to respond was Bauer, owners of magic 105.4, who felt the changes amounted to "format-creep" and would restrict choice in the market.

GMG Radio Group programme director John Simons responded: “We’re disappointed at the decision which is a frustration as it’s clear to see that this genre of music no longer sits comfortably alongside Smooth Radio’s new sound, which the listeners love.

“We will encourage Ofcom to continue lobbying the DCMS to change the existing legislation."

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