Global requests new Ofcom boundary changes

Global has requested a number of changes to the new regional boundaries affecting some of its radio stations.

The new larger regions, published by Ofcom recently, allows radio stations within them to share all programming and studio locations. The regulator, however, said a station may also share its locally-made programmes with one or more other stations which are not in its approved area. “Any Format change requests seeking such permissions will not be approved as a matter of general policy, but instead will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be subject to consultation,” Ofcom says.

Global has asked Ofcom for permission to share programmes beyond the approved areas – and delay any decisions till the new year.

In an email to staff on Friday afternoon, seen by RadioToday, Founder and Executive President Ashley Tabor said he and the board would like to take Christmas and the New Year to consider the implications the new Guidelines have for the company fully, and does not want to rush into any changes.

Ashley told Globallers that Ofcom has made ‘some slightly odd choices’ on where boundaries sit in their newly defined regions, which he’d like more time to consider.

He added that the requests have been put in so the company has options, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will act on them.

Under the new approved areas, the current nine Capital stations in England could operate as a national station with a token three-hour show in four new areas: North West, Midlands, South, and West of England. One of Global’s options could be to ask for permission to add Brighton (now in the ‘south’ region) to network with the Southampton output, (now in the West of England region).

Similarly, the 19 Heart stations in England could operate as a national service if added to national DAB, with a three hour opt-out during the daytime in just five regions – East of England, Central, North West, South, and West. These five regions could be cut further if requests to change the boundaries are successful.

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  1. Adrian says

    If Brighton was allowed to share with Southampton that makes it East Sussex all the way to Cornwall.What is the use of a three hour so called local programme ,probably around Midday,in such a large area,it’s too big to do anything meaningful in local terms and surely it will only be mainly music with a few links anyway.A local station that is not putting out it’s own programme at breakfast time might as well not bother IMO.

    1. Les says

      Local shows only do local travel and local news. It will still work and be more local compared to a national station.

  2. Michael V says

    Here we go again. Yes the industry has been asking for this. But listeners have not. I really hope that now ofcom has announced that it will expand Small Scale Multiplexes, the build out will happen as quickly as possible. Community radio is looking even more important these days. I really hate Global & hating ofcom even more as they don’t care about consumers. That’s my thoughts.

    1. Les says

      ” …Yes the industry has been asking for this. But listeners have not….”

      Some listeners like me do want it. Your opinion is not necessary those of everyone!!!


    Whats that thre sound of – Global pushing the envelope just a little bit more. TBH they will want to reduce the numver of varient show they have to do and studios / buildings to a minimum. I’m not sure the listener comes into the considerations. The new areas and rules are so broad that what is regarded as local by OFCOM is an irrelevant joke – the services will be national ( which may be a good thing) its all about advertising boundaries too i guess. 2018 is not going to be a good year for staff at many of the larger groups – sadly and will we see lots of “local” closures Aire, Viking, CFM, Red Rose, Tay, Forth, Northsound etc etc.


    Whats that the sound of? – Global pushing the envelope just a little bit more. But Bauer will be watching with interest and preparing its reponse too I guess. TBH they will want to reduce the number of varient show they have to do and studios / buildings to a minimum. I’m not sure the listener comes into the considerations. The new areas and rules are so broad that what is regarded as local by OFCOM is an irrelevant joke – the services will be national ( which may be a good thing) its all about advertising boundaries too i guess. 2018 is not going to be a good year for staff at many of the larger groups – sadly and will we see lots of “local” closures Aire, Viking, CFM, Red Rose, Tay, Forth, Northsound etc etc.

  5. Chris Lake says

    What a lovely word “share” is. Much nicer than “impose”. Just like “security intervention” is nicer than “murderous armed invasion” when describing the actions of a country no-one is allowed to criticise.

    Powerful things, words…

  6. Neal says

    As I made the comment elsewhere on this site.We are Ofcom/Global. Your culture will adapt to service us.Resistance is futile you will be assimilated. Their power and destructive force of local radio in this country actually make the Borg look like fairies! Please don’t tell me yet again that true local radio could not stand on its own two feet in the UK anymore and to get with the times.The point those of you with that view just can’t understand is that these two runaway forces do not and have never wanted us to have that option they simply want to crush anything that has independence from them. Just a pathetic money driven bunch who care sod all about Radio just about clobbering anything however small that may stand in their path. The actions of total megalomaniacs who have combined forces to give each other unlimited and totally unchecked power. I know it’s all over. I so do get that. Just regularly driving between London and the West Country make that so painfully obvious to me but for god sake stop saying it’s purely down to economics because it bloody well is not! For all of you out there who would rather have what we have now over the true professional DJ’s I grew up with congratulations you have your wish. The saddest part is that if these big boys had been/were properly regulated there may have been room for both. But hey I’m just a dinosaur who cannot understand why a lot of the time those with the least common sense or thought for anyone or anything but themselves end up with the most power.

    1. Les says

      Move on with the times. Your stuck in 1987

      1. Mike Rose says

        …and 1977…

    2. mb23 says

      The number of people listening to local commercial radio is declining, it’s now down to just a fifth of the breakfast audience. Overall radio listening is up, but there is a move towards national stations.

      Digital radio has allowed people to listen to star guests being interviewed on the London versions of Heart & Capital (including the Spice Girls this week), as these are now available on Digital 1.

      There are still some great local commercial radio stations, but the regulation to force all breakfast shows to be local isn’t appropriate in 2018.

      1. Pat says

        Yes,that Spice Girls interview was truly not be missed-If it had been on my local station I would turned off.If you are saying breakfast shows shouldn’t have to be local due to declining audiences (and if the local content is being reduced is there any wonder?) they might as well all close down as that’s the time of the day most listen.As has been said a three hour opt out for areas of millions of people is an insult and in the middle of the day a total waste of time-it’s unbelievable that Ofcom could allow such a thing.

        1. mb23 says

          They have specified 3 hours because that’s the minimum the current legislation will allow. As soon as the legislation is changed they will abolish this and only specify a local news and information service.

  7. D says

    Ofcom. Total waste of space and energy and everything. The bend over and take it up the arse at every possible decision. No one seems to give a shit about the jobs lost and certainly no one cares about listeners, which by the way is why ofcom exists in the first place. Run by idiots. Dictated to by greedy dick heads. And most of the industry praises it all because they still want their consultants fees. Bollocks. Total bollocks.

  8. Michael V says

    Yes, people are listening to national radio more… Because they don’t have much choice, in some areas, no choice.

  9. John Bullass says

    Agree with some of the comments above Global/Bauer are choking the market smaller more caring stations going under don’t like networked shows never have done if it all goes down London we’ll have no choice

    1. mb23 says

      There are 40 national DAB stations, 10,000 internet stations and hundreds of community stations. There has never been so much listening choice.

  10. Lee says

    Global will get there way. I would lay money on it. OFCOM are a toothless and such poor regulator. God I hate Global and OFCOM for destroying my local radio. most people listen to national brands now because there is little or no alternative in many areas. I can travel most of the country and could listen to Heart, Heart 80s, Capital, Capital Xtra, Smooth, Absolute, etc etc. An absolute (pardan the pun) bloody disgrace! So much for variety! And most of it in sub-standard sound quality like 80gbs, something DAB was not invented for. God help us.

    1. Adrian says

      The only way to go is internet radio,there are so many choices with all genres available.There are various apps available which can help you find the music you want.I quickly found 20 odd favourites,and in most cases I can see what is playing on each at any one time.You won’t be surprised to know that a lot of them aren’t from the UK but it’s a whole new world if you haven’t exprerienced it.You may as well give up with what you can get on DAB and FM.I was tempted by BBC locals but they these days have a pretty limited playlist and are apparently about to be helped by the ‘experts’ at Radio 2 so that’s not looking good either.If you want variety you can get stations with many thousands of tracks on tune internet-it’s the only way now for me.

      1. Neal says

        Dear Adrian. I know you have said the choice of station is very subjective but provided this site will allowed it would be good to know your top 20 stations. Totally agree with your comment that FM radio is dead in this country. DAB initially had so much potential but the same people responsible for screwing up FM have screwed up DAB too!!

  11. Adrian says

    OK Neal,I’ll give you my current list.I would say that it changes regularly and is not in any particular order of preference,I am merely a listener and do not run any station nor have I ever presented on one.Currently my favourites are: Laurel Canyon Radio (USA),Acoustic Outpost (USA),Nova Classic Rock (Netherlands),EKR Group Of Stations (UK),Zenith Classic Rock (Eire),Solid Gold Gem Am / Serenade Radio (UK),Folk and More plus other stations in the Laut Fm Group (Germany),Soft Rock Radio (USA),Radio Caroline (UK),Positively Charged (USA),Love Songs Cafe 16 (USA),Acid Flashback (USA),Classic Country 1630 (USA),Vita Radio (UK),Ocean Beach Radio (USA),Mystery Train Radio (UK),1 Gold (UK) / WILD Radio (USA),Feel Good Rock (USA).Some are non-stop music,some have presenters,some of them have commercials,some are a mixture of non-stop music and presenter led shows.Hope you enjoy one or two of them.

    1. Neal says

      Many thanks Adrian. Will not guarantee every track will appeal but outside of the UK 92.5 The River from Boston and Paradise Radio are two I have come across and have to say if it’s been a stressful day Eve Blair on BBC Radio Ulster weekdays 11pm to just before midnight is well worth a listen. Thanks again for the quick response.

      1. Adrian says

        Thanks Neal and Iain Anderson on BBC R.Scotland 2 nights a week is a good listen.I used to listen to Cherrie before Eve took over,both very enjoyable shows for late-nights.I have tried those other two stations you mention and they have some great tracks too.Also a lot of the listener funded USA public radio stations usually have a wide range of interesting music shows-thank goodness for the Internet!.

        1. Neal says

          Thanks Adrian. Have come across Iain Anderson’s show. Pity it went down to just two nights a week. Maybe the listener funded route is something that should be considered over here?!

          1. Adrian says

            I had the pleasure of meeting Iain and watching him on air about 11 years ago.He’s been on the radio for 45 years and was a teacher for 10 years before that so probably wants to take things a bit easier now.I agree with you about the funding option.

  12. Pete n says

    Let’s go one better and TURN DAB OFF get back to proper radio without all the LOW QUALITY DIGITAL GARBAGE
    Back to a decent radio service once again

    1. Pat says

      If only Pete N!.The politicians aren’t interested unless they are appearing themselves.The only regional programmes on ITV in England apart from news are now the late-night political debate each month (wonder why that was kept-probably the least interesting programme)it was only a matter of time before the local went out of Radio as well,quality no longer matters.

    2. Nicholas Hartounian says

      You’re trying to get the incoming tide to turn around. Better to work with it. Welcome the transition of pseudo nationals to go national. In fact, encourage it. Accelerate it. Then hope that DCMS/Ofcom moves ahead with DSO without delay. Finally, lobby to have all radio groups, with more than say 5 licences, migrated to DAB. This would free up 90% of the FM spectrum which can be re-licensed and local radio reinvented.

  13. Radio Production Guy says

    What people need to understand is that Commercial Radio is no longer being run with listeners in mind. It is run for the big London Advertising Agencies and their clients who don’t understand advertising on loads of local stations, but do understsnd advertising on one so called National Brand.

  14. The Batch says

    Speaking from the South West or new West region, I honestly don’t believe the general Heart listener considers ‘local’. Heart is well branded and pulls in its target audience with its ‘on brand’ content. Listeners are attracted to its local breakfast and drive shows through its relevant conversation and upbeat music. Not the location of its studios. Having ‘local’ news and travel is achievable from anywhere!

    My concern is for the local talent both on/off air who must be feeling at risk. If these local studios do ever close, it will be a shame for the industry to lose more places for radio talent to train and seek employment. I’m talking presenters, producers, managers, engineers etc.

    These changes (if any change does occur) will bring an opportunity for community radio to attract some new audience, but on the whole, most of Heart’s target audience would migrate to a ‘national’ or very large regional program.

    Other local commercial operators and BBC local should be poised to take advantage of any changes, but to the average radio consumer, I don’t believe ‘local’ is as important as it once was.

    Quality target content with local information is king and technology allows for this to be created anywhere.

  15. Sj says

    The idea of forcing stations to do local breakfast shows in 2018 is ridiculous. If there’s enough demand, they can still do it. But they won’t.

    Because the brutal truth is the average listener just doesn’t care. They listen to Radio 2 and the Global stations not because there’s “no other choice” but because they’re offering what people want… Big personalities or big, clear brands. Frankly, let Bauer and Global do whatever they like.

    It might actually free up some audience for community radio, BBC local radio and the new local multiplexes.

  16. Mike Rose says

    There’s no use debating or guessing anymore. It’ll all go one way short term. Long term, I suspect Global will own every commercial license in the country allowing them to roll out there digital-only services to the UK on FM. This could be a good thing, i.e:- all of their services would be live 24 hours a day and this will allow them to re-hire the best of the talent who will be losing their jobs to fill schedules. This happened when Capital Gold was first networked. A local show per day and the best of the redundant were re-hired for the network once the contracts of the big names ran out (apart from Tony Blackburn who stayed until he decided to move on)

  17. Pat says

    Tell me,why when a station promises to provide better local news in exchange for networking do I never hear the results of it.Most of the so called local news seems these days to be national stories with a couple of local places or county names shoved in and the bulletins are so short it’s a case of blink and you miss it.Ofcom don’t help by saying they expect at least one locally researched story in each bulletin-hardly worth it i’d say.I may be wrong,and apologies if I am,but the local news stories often sound like they’ve been researched on the internet from another part of the country and can be very generic.I could see this demise of local radio coming years ago when I saw the regulator’s comment on a station saying it was over providing in terms of local content and even an implied criticism for doing so.I must say it’s all been done very cleverly with a drip-drip down in content over the years but looks like the end is almost here of anything meaningful in terms of commercial local radio.

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