Ofcom under fire for allowing TFM move
An online petition, Facebook Group and more have been set up following the axing of local programmes on TFM Radio by Bauer.
The station started broadcasting the same output as Metro Radio today, after Ofcom gave the OK for the two stations to become one in all but name.
22 members of staff have re-located and a further four have entered a period of consultation, although Bauer claims it is looking to place them within the company.
Yorkshire MEP Timothy Kirkhope is demanding an investigation. He said he would be asking Ofcom why they did nothing to prevent TFM’s owner Bauer Radio closing the local offices.
And he said the radio licence for the Tees Valley should be re-advertised in the wake of the closure.
Mr Kirkhope said he would be pressing communications minister Ed Vaizey to investigate why Ofcom did not stop the merger.
“This is a worrying pattern which is developing around the country in which local and regional stations are being merged and amalgamated and I feel quite strongly about it,” he told the Northern Echo.
One local business director said: “I believe Ofcom might make a terrible mistake, which could be open to legal challenge, if it allows this change without consultation.”
An Ofcom spokesman told RadioToday: “Ofcom understands and supports the importance of local radio, while also ensuring the future viability of the commercial radio sector. Following changes introduced by the Government in 2010, radio stations can co-locate and share programmes within set areas.
“Ofcom held a full public consultation on the boundaries of these areas in 2010. TFM and Metro Radio are both within the North East of England area and are therefore able to make these changes.
“It’s important that stations merging in this way continue to provide local content which is relevant to the whole of the combined area, and failure to do so could potentially be a breach of licence.”
Meanwhile, fans on TFM’s Facebook page are not taking the news easily.
Comments such as “I will never listen to TFM again and I will be removing TFM from my facebook, the owners of TFM should have realised how passionate Teessiders are about local issues and a local presenters. Shame on them” and “Time to unlike tfm and find a teesside radio station”.
Twitter is also alive with negative comments about the move. “Listened to Tfm aka metro this morning to give it chance, totally Newcastle centric that’s not local radio! Bad move by owners?” and “Omg gutted there was no ‘Local’ TFM Radio this morning! Mornings now will have to be BBC Tees #notlisteningtoMetro” were typical of the tweets.
We’ll bring you more reaction on this move by Bauer Media as we get it, here at RadioToday.co.uk