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South Wales stations plan relocation

UTV’s South Wales-based stations The Wave, Swansea Sound and Valleys Radio are planning to relocate to a brand new studio complex based at the heart of Swansea in the near future – if industry regulator Ofcom gives the green light.

The Wave & Swansea Sound have been based at its rustic base in Gowerton, Swansea since the launch of Swansea Sound – Wales’ first commercial radio service in 1974. The building was then intended to be a temporary solution for the station, although it has also seen the launch of its FM sister station, SoundWave (now 96.4 The Wave) in 1995.

Now, UTV Radio plans to move its South Wales stations into premises formerly occupied by Visteon – a car parts manufacturer owned by the Ford Motor Company which has long vacated the site. The new premises would offer the group greatly improved transport links and much needed investment in broadcast facilities.

A spokesman for UTV Radio stated:

"We are looking to co-locate Swansea Sound, the Wave and Valleys Radio into a single, purpose-built facility….. the building in Gowerton has been there for a long time so having a new, purpose-built centre would provide a far nicer working environment”

Whilst no approval is needed for the move for The Wave and Swansea Sound – Ofcom will need to rubber stamp the inclusion of Valleys Radio into the complex, with an MCA of 475,315, it’s expected that the regulator will call a public consultation on UTV’s proposals thanks to new guidelines published as part of the regulator’s “Future of Radio” document which states that the regulator will put co-location requests from stations with an MCA exceeding 250,000 out to public consultation.

Local MP Peter Hain has already written to Ofcom chairman Ed Richards expressing his support for the move – although no timetable has been set for the likely consultation and subsequent relocation of the stations at present.

Ofcom recently rejected a request from UTV Radio to co-locate its Stockport station, Imagine FM in Warrington after an extensive public consultation process.

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