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Full details of the Heart attack

Following on from Global Radio’s announcement about the halving of Heart stations from 33 to 15, Radio Today brings you the bits they missed out of the press release.

And it’s not only Heart which is changing, Gold is also being stripped of all local programmes from June 28th.

From Monday, all afternoon presenters on Heart stations outside of London will host shorter shows as Nick Snaith hosts a new network programme between 1pm and 4pm from London. A local drive-time show will then follow from 4pm till 7pm.

On-Air job cuts will follow as dozens of local breakfast and drivetime presenters will be axed to make way for semi-regional programmes during the seven local hours per regional station per day. It is not yet known which presenters will be promoted or dropped.

Also from Monday, there will be no local programmes on the Gold network. Currently, a locally voice-tracked four hour show has to be made each day, but under new Ofcom rules, this is no longer necessary.

Global Radio’s announcement claimed that local breakfast and drivetime shows will remain – and whilst this is true – the word local for them now means semi-regional. The word local will now refer to the output of one of the new 15 super-stations, which Global say will be true centres of broadcasting excellence.

Whilst Heart drops from 33 to 15 stations, it’s a sad day for commercial radio as it signifies the end of (or reduction of) heritage local radio stations based in over a dozen towns and cities across England and Wales.

Sites which will close before the end of the year are Bangor, Barnstaple, Bedford, Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Colchester, Crawley, Ipswich, Northampton, Oxford, Plymouth, South Hams, Taunton and Torquay. Dunstable will also close once a new broadcast centre in Milton Keynes is complete.

The move for programming staff will start in less than six weeks, with sales staff starting to move by the end of the year.


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