Special Feature: 2013 radio predictions

It’s that time of year when we dust off our crystal balls and make a cheeky prediction about the next 12 months in radio. But before we do, let’s look at last years.

We predicted “A large local heritage station announces plans to change its name in an attempt to create a new national brand.” A week later Orion Media announced Free Radio would takeover BRMB et al. Spooky?

“Celador might announce plans for further “Breeze” branded stations. Andover Sound, Newbury Sound, Midwest Radio will all be under the spotlight, with a purchase of More Radio in Swindon a possibility too.” Spot on.

Absolute Radio reduces the bit-rate of Absolute Radio 80s to take Absolute Radio 70s national to compete with Smooth Radio 70s.” Oddly, Absolute 80s lowered its bitrate last week but it was more of an error than an effort to make our prediction come true. Still no Absolute 70s nationally though, which must be annoying seeing as Smooth 70s is doing so well.

The owner of a community radio station tries to “sell” the station for profit, only to find out, it isn’t possible.” We know of a couple of these cases but couldn’t possibly comment in public.

Ben Cooper announces major changes at BBC Radio 1 – except at breakfast.” Half correct – I don’t think anyone predicted Moyles would be a distant memory within 12 months.

A second national DAB multiplex is advertised by Ofcom. Channel 4 keep quiet.” We’re still hopeful!

Global Radio asks for a format change for Heart stations in the North West / North Wales to become a “rhythmic-based music-led service for 15-29 year-olds supplemented with news, information and entertainment” cluster. Capital North Wales perchance? Maybe we can re-use this one for 2013?

After spreading to Preston last year, The Bee grows again as another frequency is added to the UKRD-owned Lancashire station. It’s almost like we knew?

Two more commercial radio stations close.” Sadly, Dune FM and a couple of DAB commercial stations ceased in 2012.

The world’s first 24 hour radio station launches – playing nothing but radio jingles.Wollop

MuxCo consider launching local multiplexes “sometime in 2013”.” We’ve been guessing this one for five years. We’ll stick it in the 2013 predictions and see what happens.

So.. on to 2013

2013 will be all about the brands. An important year for Heart. Real Radio will disappear. Gold will have a new schedule, whilst Smooth Radio survives Globalisation. Kiss will grow digitally, chasing Capital’s tail nationally. Space on a Digital Two national multiplex will be in demand as both Heart and Magic go fully national.

Below are our collective thoughts – some completely made up, some we think might happen and others are just ridiculous. All you have to do is work out which ones are which!

January 2013

Kiss removed from local multiplexes, goes up to 192 kbps on Digital One.

Planet Rock sold to a new consortium.

Heart removes all sung jingles and starts using ‘Power Intros’ instead.


Steve Penk buys 2DayFM, rebrands as Revolution Australia.

BBC Local Radio’s new playout system Vilor develops self-awareness.

Prison Radio announces new line-up, remarkably similar to an old Radio 1 schedule.


“Smooth Spring” launches on Digital One.

Absolute Radio sold for £10m.

Jazz FM drops to 32kbps on Digital One.


Competition Commission gives the green light for Global Radio’s takeover of former GMG Radio without any major conditions.

D-Love arrested by police for false advertisements.

Digital Two is advertised by Ofcom. Channel 4 suspiciously quiet.


Heart teasers appear on Real Radio stations in Scotland, Wales and England.

Real XS Manchester and Glasgow sold.

The Wanted; banned from Capital after thanking Heart at the Sonys.


Chris Moyles launches paid-for podcast, available via iTunes.

Heart appears on Digital One.

Smooth Summer replaces Smooth Spring.


UKRD adds another station or two to its portfolio.

Magic London appears on Digital One.

Real Radio Wales wins Station of the Year at the Arqivas, just weeks before a rebrand.


BBC tenders bids for the new networked local radio Late Show.

Celador expands with a surprise purchase.

The Guardian’s Radio Review, now written by guest posters from DigitalSpy, includes continuous mentions about the sound quality on DAB.


Details of a digital radio plan announced. FM and DAB will co-exist and new generation of Hybrid Radio will take centre stage. All national stations/brands to be digital-only by 2030.

Danny Baker hired by talkSPORT.

BBC switches off BBC Radio Stoke to see if anyone notices.


Leaked Digital Radio UK documents show ad agency suggestions for companions for D Love were abandoned as unsuitable. P Love, G Spot the Dog, Special K and M People.

iPhone 5S released with FM radio, claims to change the world.

BBC Local Radio’s new playout system Vilor wins Gillard award for self-hosting the Mark Forrest show.


Gem 106 re-branded to Free Radio East Midlands.

Interest shown in the Lincs FM Group.

Jazz FM drops to 16 kbps on Digital One.


Sony Radio Awards categories are cut down once again. Best corporation, best news coverage and best commercial national brand are the only remaining categories. Outrage that the BBC take the majority of Golds.

A song all about radio will make Christmas number 1.

MuxCo consider launching local multiplexes “sometime in 2014”

We’ll come back to this post in 12 months to see if any of these come true.. and feel free to add yours below. See you in 2013!

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