Ofcom approves 2BR’s upcoming change to Capital

Ofcom has completed an assessment of 2BR’s output saying its rebrand to Capital will not require any variations to its licences.

Global bought the Lancashire station from UKRD in July last year, and has just announced it will be merged into Capital Manchester.

The 2BR licences, which are for the Blackburn, Burley & Pendle and Preston, Chorley & Leyland areas of Lancashire, all broadcast as 2BR and share the same programming.

Ofcom said 2BR was exceeding its requirements to broadcast 10 hours a day of locally made programmes, as all of its output was broadcast locally from studios in Accrington, with the exception of evening programming, which comprised continuous music and was produced at UKRD’s Minster FM studios in York.

Produced by a team of three in-house journalists, separate local news bulletins for each of the three different licence areas were broadcast, with the content of the bulletins tailored to each locality. On weekdays, local news bulletins of approximately two minutes duration were broadcast at the top of the hour between 06.00 and 19.00, with headlines at 07.30, 08.30 and 17.30.

This represented an over-delivery of local news by 2BR, since the station Formats only require local news to be provided at peak-time. At weekends, local news was provided hourly between 09.00 and 14.00, in accordance with the Format requirement.

Local traffic and travel bulletins were broadcast every 20 minutes during weekday peak-time, with hourly bulletins also provided up to 22.00. Local weather forecasts were broadcast every hour during live programming, and local ‘what’s on’ information was broadcast three times per day.

Regular community engagement (such as on-air appeals and local “hero” awards) were also a regular feature of 2BR’s output.

Under new ownership, the station will reduce locally made hours to three per weekday, and share those with Capital Manchester. The rest of the output, 21 hours per weekday and 24 hours each Saturday and Sunday, will come from London.

During peak-time programming, Capital Lancashire will feature twice-hourly traffic and travel updates and hourly weather updates, with ad hoc updates during the rest of the station’s output.

There will also be localised presenter links to promote local events and happenings. Local news bulletins, of approximately 90 seconds duration, will generally be compiled from Global’s regional newsroom in Manchester, and broadcast from 06.00 to 19.00 on weekdays and from 06.00 to noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Two separate local bulletins will be produced – one for the Burnley & Pendle licence and the other for the Preston and Blackburn licences.

The new owners also plan to introduce a specialist dance remix show “The Capital Weekender with Ministry of Sound” on Friday and Saturday nights.

Ofcom said: “Based on our assessment of the station’s output in the three months prior to the change of control, we do not believe that the 2BR licences were broadcasting any programming not already reflected in the existing requirements of each station’s Format which would, in our view, have a significant impact upon:

• the quality and range of programmes included in the service;
• the character of the service; and,
• the extent to which local material and locally-made programmes are included in the service.

Therefore, we are not proposing any variations to the licences.”

Capital Lancashire will launch on April 8th after two weeks of teasing starting March 25th.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Similar Stories
  1. Nathan pick says

    Wheres the choice gone in radio I’m sick global all it ever does is stick capital or smooth it heart on what was once good radio some music over n over its boring I do not listen to any of global or beaurs station I’ll stick with my LOCAL community station amber sound 107.2 it smashes capital heart n smooth

  2. Radio Geordie says

    It must have been a hell of an assessment.
    I bet it went something like this:
    What Global want = We give them it.

    1. Mr Boltar says

      I’m genuinely beginning to wonder if some brown envelopes are being passed to people in Ofcom given whats been happening recently. The deriliction of duty is just staggering.

  3. Adrian says

    How you can say that things like the character of the service won’t change when local output is being reduced to three hours on weekdays and nothing at weekends is beyond me.On top of that the station is changing the age group it is aiming at from one playing 40 hours of music to just current and recent hits.They don’t seem to worry that bulletins are are being cut from 2 minutes to 99 seconds although I thought there was supposed to be an enhanced news service when local programmes are dropped.How can you get much meaningful local content with national and world news and probably weather too in 90 seconds?.The stuff about over delivery of local news should be something to be proud of and any decent regulator should, in my opinion, encourage ,anyway there will not likely be any over delivery from now on.

    1. Adrian says

      Correction-I meant 40 years of music,the playlists between UKRD and Capital cover rather different eras so it will be a bit of a change for current listeners-almost unrecognisable one would think!.

  4. Mike Rose says

    This started as 3 stations each covering 2-3 towns each and it is therefore no wonder that they had to amalgamate into a bigger 2BR…to start with. So this was inevitable because, once again, too many licenses were in one place and couldn’t survive covering such a small area. If, back in the day, in Lancashire’s case, they had extended Rock FM’s coverage, for example, rather than hand out these extra piddly little licences, the spectrum wouldn’t be the shape it is today.

  5. Michael V says

    ‘launch on April 8th after two weeks of teasing starting March 25th.’

    Correction… After two weeks of massacre takes place. Distroying the character of the service of 10hours a day of local content & sacking majority of the staff.

    Sorry to sound so abrupt, but there was no review/ investigation. Just let them have it just to shut it down, as it’s merging into Manchester’s Crapital. It should have been sold to someone else. But then the parent company clearly didn’t care.

    What gets to me the most is it being sold to someone who’s merging it in with another service. That’s just a shutdown.

    Rant over.

  6. Philip Hawksley says

    So over-delivery is a bad thing? Anyway, no need to worry about Global making any failings in that direction.

  7. Lee says

    This would only be a news story if Global announced they were keeping the local content and output at the current level! We get the same old stories out of Global and OFCOM – just so boring, boring, boring. Another station to close and more profits to add their £500 million made last year from Global’s radio division. I would hate to work for Global not knowing if my job was next to go. They seem a dreadful outfit.

  8. wysol says

    Global could have turned 2BR into Radio X but with a hybrid playlist of Capital and Radio X, kept Mike & Tatum on breakfast 6-10am and local drive 3-7pm, with networking 10am-3pm and 7pm-6am when automation is normally on.

    No-one can complain; you get Rsdio X’s rock alongside Ariana Grande and Little Mix! If it works for the Americans this way surely it can for 2BR…

    Makes more sense than Capital!

  9. Nick says

    Glad to see global take over these stations. They will only die out eventually if it wasn’t for Global.

    1. Ted says

      So let them hand back the licenses then

      1. Nick says

        Are you saying you would prefer no radio station at all ?

    2. ME says

      I take it you work for Global just to even out the backlash!?

  10. Radio Rental says

    Global will be able to tightly target the younger audience in Lancs while Rock FM shoehorns 90s tracks into their supposed ‘Hits’ format, where as 2BR already crosses over with Heart, Smooth and Capital, so it’s a no brainer.

  11. Joe Smith says

    Alternative headline – “Ofcom roll over for the big boys as always”

  12. Smitty says

    Probably late in the day to say this; another local station down the Swanee…

  13. Red says

    2025-2030 2 major commercial networks, 2 main studios, no local opt outs, “nationalisation” complete….

Comments are closed.