GMG Radio has announced that news teams at Real Radio, Real XS and Smooth Radio are to be scaled back, following a full review of its news resource.
The group’s total of 39 journalists is expected to be cut, but Chief Executive Stuart Taylor said he didn’t anticipate the changes would have an impact on ‘overall listener experience’.
GMG Radio says all its stations will continue to produce ‘appropriate national and regionally produced news programming during peak hours’ and that each studio base will remain staffed with a ‘sufficient number of trained senior and broadcast journalists’.
GMG Radio’s Chief Executive Stuart Taylor said: “GMG Radio’s award winning news team has set new standards in commercial radio journalism during the last 10 years and our stations will continue to provide a high calibre of news programming that is relevant to the listener. The decision to reduce what’s been an extremely well-staffed team has been an incredibly difficult one but if we are to remain commercially competitive during these tough economic times then we have to ensure that we’re operating as efficiently as possible.”
At the moment, the group runs ‘news hubs’ in Manchester and Glasgow, which provide news for Real Radio and Smooth Radio in the evenings and during weekend afternoons. GMG says outside of peak programming hours, stations will ‘utilise an external news provision service where appropriate’. Smooth and Real currently only take IRN bulletins from Sky News overnight.
“We don’t anticipate that the planned staffing changes will impact materially on the overall listener experience,” Stuart Taylor added.
GMG Radio says it employs 39 staff and freelance contracted journalists and the restructure is expected to be completed in March. It has newsrooms in Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds and Cardiff. News bulletins for Smooth Radio have been produced by the Manchester hub since October 2010 when five regional licences in London, East Midlands, West Midlands, North West and North East merged to become a national station but have maintained regional content during daytime hours.
Following the departure of former Group News Editor James Rea to Global Radio last year, GMG announced changes which included a ‘brand news editor’ for each of the Smooth and Real brands.