Global expands in Lancashire after buying 2BR

Lancashire-wide station 2BR has been sold by UKRD to Global and is set to become part of one of its national brands.

2BR broadcasts from Hyndburn to central and east Lancashire on four frequencies, including Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn, Preston, Chorley and Leyland.

Ashley Tabor OBE, Founder & Executive President of Global, said: “This is a great acquisition for Global, further widening the reach of our brands and deepening our commitment to UK radio on all platforms. We look forward to welcoming new listeners across Lancashire.”

Global recently bought Lancashire-based The Bay and rebranded it as Heart earlier this year.

2BR has just celebrated its 18th birthday on-air just last week, having launched in Burnley and Pendle in East Lancashire on 99.8FM on July 25th 2000. It took over frequencies in Preston (Central Radio) and Blackburn (The Bee) to grow over recent years.

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  1. Rob Charles says

    A few more people losing their jobs! Capital Lancashire.

    1. Radio Geordie says

      Spot on.
      It was never going to be Smooth or Heart as they’re already available in the area.
      It’s more likely though that 2BR (which sits between the Capital Manchester & Capital Liverpool transmission areas) will be merged bringing three stations under one name – Capital North West.

    2. Mike Rose says

      …or Heart Lancashire & Cumbria broadcast from Lancaster with CFM being bought next?

    3. Trevor Cooke says

      The big radio factory ship sails on munching all the small juicy fish…….

  2. Joe Smith says

    Sad news

  3. neal says

    Clearly is absolutely nobody with any guts whatsoever to stop this complete takeover by Global of the entire universe. Suppose slightly in their defence who are these existing owners who just forever roll over and allow these stations to be taken over in the first place. As the youth around me keep saying I need to move with the times! The times when obviously nobody gives a stuff about quality music radio and existing radio station owners instead of fighting to keep what they have achieved take the money and run away. What sad times these actually are commercial radio wise. I for one cannot believe how such boring repetitive formats continue to attract the audiences they do. Thank God the BBC is still hanging on by a thread although you have to dig deep around their stations for the best output. If you miss the likes of Bob Harris’ weekend radio 2 show highly recommend Iain Anderson BBC Scotland Sunday/Monday 11pm and the brilliant Eve Blair on BBC Ulster Mon To Fri at 11pm Pity they clash but there is i player. There are others around too. Take the time to explore and you will be well rewarded. You may also finally get the point about how letting a couple of companies who are only interested in the £ signs and sod all else really is not as great as you think it is. Guarantee you will find nothing like the shows I’ve mentioned in the commercial world proving it is totally about profit and not the listener!

    1. Sandra says

      Remember, we are a commercial business

  4. Adrian says

    It is sad and i’m no fan of Global.It is worth mentioning however that the UKRD stations mostly carry the same music logs and provide only non-stop music during off peak hours.I hate to hear of more people losing jobs but I’m not sure how this will make much difference to programme choice in the area apart from less local hosts.The comment from Neal is understandable but unfortunately these specialist programmes are even now being shunted into graveyard slots by the BBC who should be,providing a real,alternative (apart from having no adverts) during the whole day instead of playing pop music at times very similar to commercial radio.For example .iain Anderson on Radio Scotland used to be much earlier and on through the week not just two days around midnight and Johnny Coppin’s excellent folk and roots show in the BBC.West area has just been moved to 12midnight on Sunday night followed by a show for Brass fans at 1am!.People with these specialists interests should be catered for at a sensible time especially on local radio stations where they. are supposed to be increasing output in the evenings.The BBC seems to have a policy like commercial radio had in the nineties – push specialist shows to a time when nobody will listen,then scrap them so we’ll end up with many genres not being heard on UK Radio.Bob Harris was replaced on Radio 2 by a disco/ dance show and this appears to the way things are going so whilst hating what’s going on in commercial radio I am also saddened by what the. BBC is now doing!.

  5. Sj says

    I agree that it’s a very sad day for the staff and part of me mourns the loss of these individual local brands and services. But I’m much happier with the choice of listening I have now compared to 20 years ago. Local FM choice is increasingly irrelevant. I listen to lots of different station formats from all over the world, I love Spotify and I get my speech content from the BBC and podcasts. The biggest losers from consolation, other than the staff of these stations, are radio anoraks!

  6. Adrian says

    Yes local fm is increasingly irrelevant because of dab and internet but ALSO because most of them sound the same-you can have several versions of Heart and other stations with very similar music cluttering up the FM dial when once you did have a variety of output depending on where you were.Now they are virtually all playing the same songs around the clock why bother with a local station that voicetracks and runs non-stop music for hours on end when you can have a more polished sound.The local news that is provided these days is often pretty worthless,very short and often a local take on national news and surveys.My main point is the individuality of the local stations was provided by the distinctive programming they used to offer.Now they are just largely jukeboxes with local requirements cut to the bone you may as well listen to a national station if your local hasn’t already been swallowed up of course!.

  7. Michael V says

    Absolutely no one cares about the future of radio. I’m sure there has been interest from other companies but Global enjoys destroying everything. They’ve got all their services on National DAB. Bang Capital on one of the two multiplexes & hand all the FM & AM licenses back to ofcom. I’m sure there’s someone who wants to give the listeners what they really want. Local radio…

    1. Sj says

      The audience will almost certainly go up with a Capital rebrand. They’ll market it well and the listeners will follow. It’s happened almost everywhere Global has rebranded a local station. I think it’s a minority of people who care about local content on a music-based station.

      1. Billy Bobster says

        Not in Liverpool.

        1. mb23 says

          Capital Liverpool has had a huge increase in the latest figures. The reach has increased by 51% in the last year.

    2. David says

      +Michael V

      Global will not hand the local AM and FM licences they’ve poached from all the ilrs back to Ofcom, nor will Ofcom do anything to force Global to do so even when there’s 24 hour networking, 24 hours UK national news and weather bulletins, all national travel reports and all national ad breaks all coming from London on all of Heart, Capital and Smooth. Global really would not in the IBA era have been able to buy up all these ilr stations to the detriment of the listener in the way they have been allowed to do so by Ofcom now.

      Global have got Ofcom by the balls sadly. It would never have happened in IBA era. IBA are far superor regulators to Ofcom.

      1. mb23 says

        There are a few differences between the IBA era and now e.g. 10,000 internet stations, Spotify, Apple Music. That’s the competition for commercial radio that didn’t exist in the 1980s.

        Anyone can start a local station for Lancashire on DAB or the internet if they want. Digital listening is over 50% of the market now, and small-scale DAB will make this cheap and easy.

        By the way it’s the Government that told Ofcom that radio is over-regulated and to do something about it (because of the increasing competition from the internet).

  8. Rob Charles says

    A bit Ironic an add on this page for the Radio School! So Global make the job market smaller.

  9. Adrian says

    Some of the listeners might stay with the station but a change to Capital will surely bring in a mainly new audience of younger listeners-the current output is aimed at an older age group -can’t see Capital playing Katrina and the Waves,Alison Moyer or Genesis!.

    1. David says


      Yes whatever replaces Katrina and The Waves, Alison Moyer, Genesis and many others from a grand era is certainly going to be a load of junk that’s for sure.

      Just so typical of Global really. Buy stations over and completely alter the output, and drive thousands of loyal listeners away.

      Indeed why not close the station down instead as there will be 3 or 4 other Capitals along the FM dial in the area where 2BR is playing the same music 24/7 in the same order in exactly the same time 24/7, and it will all be the exact same output 24/7 on all the Capital stations on FM eventually (same said for Heart and Smooth). But of course it won’t close down. Global are only in it to totally stifle competition and Ofcom are just allowing them to run amok to the detriment of the millions of listeners who once had a lot more choice of programs.

      What’s the point of a choice of 6 Hearts, Smooths and Capitals on FM on the dial in your area in many areas in the UK once they are all completely UK national stations with no local breakfast and drive, and no local news weather travel and ads either.

      1. Radio Geordie says

        As I’ve stated earlier, 2BR sits right between the two Capitals in Manchester & Liverpool. 2BR will be relaunched as Capital and merged with the other two with all output coming via Manchester on all three services.

  10. David says

    Everybody’s getting very fed up with more and more broadcasting coming direct from London.

    It seems to be from London or nowhere now. What a dismal state of affairs.

    In Ireland, Australia, USA, Canada, France or indeed every other respected country , there’s no plan to turn every local commercial radio station into national commercial ones that there seems to be a desperation to do here in the UK.

    It seems to be mass station closure by Global flashing a few thousand dollars in front of local station owners. Ofcom have allowed Global to tickle them on their belly and allow them to do just whatever they want. Firstly, stations being bought over by Global with a few hours per day restrictions to the London based networking, next the restrictions will be lifted, after that the end of local news, weather, travel and advertising and they will all become national too. Ofcom’s loosening radio regulation and eventually removing it altogether a little while after all the other remaining Uk commercial stations are bought over by Global is a total disgrace.

  11. Radio Rental says

    So 2BR goes from having “proper local radio” programmed from Cornwall to having proper programmed commercial radio programmed from London.

    1. Adrian says

      Yeah,I hate the phrase proper local radio,proper variety being repeated over and over again but Global have annoying id’s too.People have to face the fact that local radio is effectively dead in the UK courtesy or Ofcom and the Government because they make the rules and the companies like Global just follow them.They basically say that soon you will be able to broadcast from anywhere in the country as long as you put out local news etc (though this is pretty minimal now and often not very local these days often sounding to me anywhere like it’s been prepared over the Internet out of area from a combination of local and national news sites).You often used to get five minutes of local news bulletins during the day (with extended ones at peak times),now it’s a few national and local headlines,blink and you miss it!.Sun Fm recently acquired from UKRD by Nation already has at least two of their presenters on air,presumably voicetracked or smart-linked from Wales as the presenters can’t possibly be in Wales and Sunderland at the same time,nor for example work at breakfast in Wales and evenings up North.So yes it is simply the case that there is not much local radio anymore,,apart from community stations,but you can’t blame the companies for doing things that the authorities have allowed them to do.

      1. Radio Geordie says

        Which presenters are you talking about?
        As far as I can see, Sun FM has the same presenters that were on the station when UKRD owned it. I’ve never noticed any difference since the takeover other than more oldies added to the playlist. I know this as it’s the station I listen to in the car.

        1. Adrian says

          Rachel Chew co-presents the breakfast show on Nation Radio Wales and also does a Saturday afternoon show on Nation Wales.She is now down as doing 7-10pm on Sun Fm’s schedule weekdays and also the same 2-6pm Saturday shift on Sun Fm as on Nation.Sean Gerrard who is down as presenting 1-4pm next Sunday on Sun Fm (and was also down as presenting 10-3pm daytimes last week-maybe as cover but anyway was down as presenting in Wales on the drive shows as well) presents the drivetime shows on both Nation Radio Wales and London and Saturday afternoon on the 5 Wales local stations so maybe an expansion of this is the shape of things to come.

  12. dan dean says

    All these comments!!!…make me smile. Radio Local was a disaster for about twenty years, which only survived because of the banks, and were all bought and rebranded for them to survive. Truth is ….if the stations that Global bought had not been, then the majority would have gone to the wall over the last ten years due to the financial climate.
    All these people who hark on for the good old days are anoraks, who all shop in Tesco or their ilk who you could argue have had the same if not worst effect on the High St, but that is the World we live in.
    As for quality music….how do you define that?….one man’s quality is another man’s crap. As for today’s listener…they really don’t give a toss if the station they listen too comes from around the corner or around the World….as long as it plays the latest hits and a few 80/90’s tunes that they like, and as long as the dj does not talk too much !!! because they really are not interested in his / her life as they don’t see them as the personalities that they the jock seems to think they are!!!….today’s World is wallpaper and reality TV …not my thing..!!!….but you need to move with the times.

    1. Adrian says

      Yes there were too many stations licensed for areas that were not commercially viable,we now see similar problems with local tv going to the wall.However,2BR has 80,000 odd listeners,it’s the ones with much fewer than that which you could understand being taken over whatever (2BR is a combination of various previous licences already merged).However the more you reduce the requirements for local output and original programming the more attractive the licences become and you end up with the situation today.Ok so maybe nobody cares but that doesn’t make it right-the big companies won their franchises on certain strong commitments-if they don’t want to continue them then why should somebody else not at least be given the chance rather than licences just being extended with no incentives for the incumbent to provide quality local output?.

    2. NIck says

      Well said Dan. The people complaining are usually anoraks who haven’t moved with the times. I think Global makes great radio (for me this is LBC, Radio X, Classic FM, Capital breakfast), they make radio for listeners requirements and can establish a profit. I can’t see what the problem is myself.

    3. neal says

      Dear Dan. The point you miss is local commercial radio used be very high quality with masters of broadcasting at the helm like Roger Scott, Nicky Horne, Tommy Vance, Kenny Everett and Peter Young to name but a few on the original Capital Radio in London. The rot there and what forced the likes of Roger to leave the station were the people who are now behind Global. One man in particular I won’t name here otherwise I know the moderator will step in was directly responsible for the beginning of this repetitive tripe and it’s been downhill from there. So sorry that actually giving a toss that one company is allowed to play God with no form of regulation at all and not wanting the same crap coming out of every FM transmitter I pass makes me an anorak.

    4. Joe Smith says

      Thank you for your contribution Ashley Tabor.

      Meanwhile in the real world.

  13. Dan says

    I’m so tired of whenever something like this happens the same old voice pop on line and bemoan the death of radio. What they actually mean is the type of radio they like. Listening figures continue to grow. The podcast market makes speech readily available for all. The industry makes more money from advertising. It’s all wins.
    But instead we get a whole host of people – many with utterly ludicrous suggestions as to why the sale is taking place (in this case, not due to failure, but due entirely to success – with it being UKRD’s 3rd most profitable station) and painful cries it’s killing the industry. No. It’s just you’re getting older and most of the airwaves aren’t aimed at you any more.

    1. Adrian says

      Yeah,don’t I know most of the airwaves aren’t aimed as me!.Trouble is a lot of people don’t feel that any UK station is aimed at them anymore.Even the BBC’s Radio 2 and local radio are marginalising specialist programmes and ones that older people (though not always older) tend to enjoy.I’m not asking for the moon but the stations that do target older listeners tend to assume that the same few songs rotated every day will do when there is such a vast amount of material available from the 50’s to today.I like hearing new releases and album tracks from many eras with some oldies too but I don’t want lots of pop,dance or heavy stuff.That doesn’t mean that I want to be able to know almost every song a station is going to play today because it will be the same as yesterday or tomorrow only in a different order,nor do I want dj’s with big ego’s or celebrities,just people who are knowledgeable and have enthusiasm about what they are playing.

      c but we don’t all want to be able to know what is coming next because there are only a couple of hundred tracks on rotation.

    2. sj says

      Exactly! It’s called “commercial” radio. They’re there to make a profit. If there was enough demand for the kind of “good old days” ILR stations lots of people here miss, then that’s exactly what Global would be doing. But there isn’t. Most people are happy sticking on Heart, Capital or Smooth and knowing what they’re going to get… and couldn’t care less where the show originates from. Don’t forget you have community radio and BBC local radio if you’re bothered about local content. As for music, you’ve never – in the history of broadcasting – been more spoilt for choice thanks to technology.

      1. David says

        There’s no BBC local radio in Scotland. People will cite Radio Scotland as being as though it’s another BBC local station, but it’s not. It’s a Scottish national BBC station.

        And community radio does not cover everwhere
        in the UK where there was or still is an ilr station, just about. If your area’s still existing ilr gets swallowed up by Global or Bauer, there’s no guarantee that ofcom will award a community radio licence to the area to replace the ilr. So in that case you may be stuck with all national radio stations to choose from on FM or DAB. A truly dreadful state of affairs.

  14. TM says

    Sad news, especially for the 2BR presenting team, most of whom will end up losing their jobs when Global eventually rebrand the station (probably as Capital).

    Also, as is the case with most other Global-owned stations, I expect that only a small handful of shows will continue to be broadcast from Clayton-le-Moors, with the rest of the station’s programming networked from London (that’s if they do not leave Clayton completely and decamp to Manchester!)

  15. Lee says

    To all the staff at 2BR, please collect your P45 as Global continues its unrestricted dominance.

    By the way, i wouldn’t believe the Rajar figures, just watch the trends. One quarter a radio station will lose listeners and the next month it will gain them – surprise! Global seem to gain listeners because they take over stations. I would like to see year on year like for like figures against their predecessors. Does anyone have them?

    1. Mb23 says

      They are available on the RAJAR section of this website.

      Capital Liverpool now has a higher reach than Juice had.

    2. Dan says

      Are you sure you understand employment law?

  16. John says

    Are UKRD in trouble? Within the last two years they have sold Star Radio Cambridge , then Star Radio North East, then Sun FM, and now 2BR. However selling to Global, what a kick in the teeth from a company that prides itself on being proper local radio.

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