Free Radio to reduce local breakfast and drive shows

The West Midlands will get two Breakfast Shows and one Drivetime show across all Free Radio stations in the latest changes by Bauer.

The four stations all currently provide separate peak-time programmes but they will be significantly reduced from July 8th.

JD and Roisin on Free Radio Coventry & Warwickshire will continue to present the breakfast show in C&W but will also now broadcast across Free Radio Herefordshire and Worcester.

Dan Morrissey will take the helm at Free Radio Birmingham and the show will also broadcast across Black Country and Shropshire.

And Free Radio Coventry presenter Andy Goulding will be hosting a new Drive show across the West Midlands broadcasting across Coventry & Warwickshire, Black Country and Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcester and Birmingham.

RadioToday understands staff were told about the changes and reduction in presenter roles yesterday.

These changes are in addition to all of Bauer’s stations in the Hits Radio Network dropping all local weekend programmes, with the exception of Radio City.

Gary Stein, Group Programming Director, Hits Radio Network said” “We are driven by the needs of our listeners and advertisers, and these changes have come about in order to meet the renewed requirements of audiences in the West Midlands.

Habits and lifestyles are shifting, and in this territory, we saw a desire for a more regionalised broadcast offering, as well as appointment to listen programming on the weekends – all delivering the local news, traffic & travel, and information that our listeners seek.

“We thank our broadcast teams who have made tremendous contributions, and wish them the very best as they pursue new opportunities.”

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31 Comments
  1. Mark Budgen says

    the destruction of LOCAL radio continues

    1. T1 says

      I don’t agree. Free radio destroyed its local radio stations back in 2012. This change does nothing. They already have nothing much local about them.

  2. Len Groat says

    Gary Stein:

    “these changes have come about in order to meet the renewed requirements of audiences in the West Midlands”

    .. so he’s saying LISTENERS to local stations for DECADES want them to be broadcast LESS local programmes???

    1. sj says

      To be fair, have you seen Free Radio’s Rajar from the past couple of years? They might as well network Hits 24/7 for the tiny audience those four stations have got. It’s a disaster.

    2. Adrian says

      Spot on-the needs of our listeners and advertisers?-surely it’s the need or desire of the company to save money-I could hardly believe my eyes seeing that quote.

  3. sj says

    So, Global rolls out national shows in one go on their big brands. What does Bauer do? A weird, non-committal, dipping their toe in the water kind of extra networking. Let’s split the West Midlands in half at breakfast, completely arbitrarily – into two mini regions made up of counties and cities with no synergy between them. They change the breakfast shows when they’ll presumably change them again in a few months when Hits Radio is rolled out?! Nothing they do EVER seems to make sense!

  4. MICHAEL BOLTON says

    I wrote yesterday about Global (love them or loathe them0 being focussed and on thier A game and Bauer lacking strategy, focus and good execution – well rinse and repeat – This is just a bodge that custs a bit, solves nothing, strategically achieves nothing.

    1. SJ says

      Absolutely. Either network it all or keep your local stations. But, from a business point of view, I really can’t see what they’re doing here. What a mess. Global must be laughing.

    2. mb23 says

      Global are the radio equivalent of Apple, everyone else is trying to emulate them on branding and strategy (and mostly failing).

      1. neal says

        What an insult to Apple! At least they actually produce a good product and don’t spend their lives trying to take over the likes of Samsung and others because they can’t stand/don’t want any competition!

        1. mb23 says

          Apple & Samsung have about 85% of the UK mobile phone market between them, so it seems a reasonable analogy. They wouldn’t be allowed to merge, and nor would Global & Bauer.

          1. Ano says

            Sacking presenters to make cut backs just like Global goes, this is not right or enthical. Most commercial stations these days are monsters and money making profit greedy places. Where on air talent are disposed of easy. The industry sucks as these talented people will now be marked and struggle to find work, but know one thinks or cares about that do they!!!!’

          2. Mr Boltar says

            I hate to break the news to you , but in the extremely unlikely even of Apple and Samsung merging the UK/EU courts and governments would have zero say on the matter.

  5. Pat says

    I could understand them merging Shropshire,Hereford and Worcester also Birmingham,Coventry and Warwickshire but not this arrangement,

    1. MusicDJuk says

      I’m sure Sunshine Radio will be rubbing their hands together with glee 😎

  6. whitmoor822 says

    Doesn’t make sense, what about Bauer buying Heart Gloucs as an add-on?

    Unless you format-flip Free Radio H&W to an Absolute Radio-style playlist with some Selena Gomez/Little Mix/whatever, it could work., and provides a USP.

    Why not drop the Mike Toolan network show and network Niall Foster 10am-2pm across the Midlands, he’s a good solid presenter from Global, no longer doing drive due to the changes.

    1. Martin Kong says

      Bauer purchase Celador which has Breeze Glos. Also Global will tell Bauer where to go if they consider that.

      There won’t be flipping formats as Free is part of the Hitsradio Network. Infact Hits Radio will be rolled down the line.

      1. Whitmoor822 says

        Surely Bauer could convert Free Radio into a mix of Absolute Radio/Hits/Wave format-flip, and it would satisfy everyone.

        Absolute 105.2 was popular in Birmingham, GHR isn’t working well at the moment.

        Perhaps Bauer could:

        – Hits Radio 105.2
        – 96.4/97.0/97.2/103.1 Absolute – with Dan Morrissey at breakfast (JD & Roisin in Coventry/Warwickshire), mid-mornings with Niall Foster (was on Heart, good solid presenter!), drive 3pm-7pm with Andy Goulding, and evenings networked 7pm-10pm with someone like, maybe, Myles Galloway (who used to be on Bauer) and David Francis on the late show?

        Would that be far better?

        Absolute seems popular on Alexa from what I know anecdotally.

  7. Richard says

    Don’t listen to any local stations apart from BBC Essex, if 98 % of the output is music, how does that support a local angle these days?
    Bet most of you listen to national stations, anyhow?
    With DAB and Internet, the world ofradio is changing and after all they are a commercial business!

    1. Mr Boltar says

      BBC Essex is pretty grim. Dire presenters and generally amateur sounding. BBC Kent is far more informative and has far better on air talent. I can only assume Kent has a far bigger budget.

    2. Mr Boltar says

      BBC Essex is pretty grim. Dire presenters and generally amateur sounding. BBC Kent is more informative (except the breakfast show which seems to think its a cut price Today) and has far better on air talent. I can only assume Kent has a far bigger budget.

  8. Philip Hawksley says

    By ‘appointment to listen programming’ they actually mean more back-to-back hits.

  9. Benedict Adams says

    it was only 18 months ago that Free Radio Birmingham got their new breakfast show

    doubtful than Dan will get 8 months before its networked from Manchester

    1. MICHAEL BOLTON says

      It was only 12 months that Hits Radio (Manchester) launched thier new national service with a showpiece Breakfast show to much fanfare yet:- From Radio Today this week “Gethin, Gemma and Dave exit Hits Radio Breakfast Show” – general view is it failed locally and nationally so they are back to the drawing board wanting to go national but nothing proven to go national with.

  10. Robin says

    How to resolve conflict of owning both stations in Wolverhampton = shut one.
    Wonder if OFCOM will agree?

    1. MICHAEL BOLTON says

      Global own several in the Midlands so it’s not undooable I could see Hits on 97.2 and GHR on 107.7. But that may be wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to sensible.

  11. Ron Dobbyn says

    With the time difference, try listening on line to 6ix in Perth Australia when you wake up , I know it’s drive not breakfast but you do get good music , and traffic reports you can ignore. Or try Breakfast in Mozambique on LM radio, it’s about the same time as here, and you get great traffic reports from Maputo.

  12. MusicDJuk says

    I’m sure Sunshine Radio will be rubbing their hands together with glee 😎

  13. Steve Beston says

    Such a shame to loose great presenters in Tom Newitt and Hursty and Hereford and Worcester wont feel local anymore. The Free presenters who will be doing breakfast and drive in the new format are good, but why? How long before Hits broadcast a nationwide breakfast show, which is also changing, might as well do it like Heart! Local commercial radio has gone rip 😢

  14. Mr Boltar says

    “and wish them the very best as they pursue new opportunities.”

    Translation: “Hope you don’t mind the dole queue for a while but we have even bigger profits to make”

  15. Simon Parton says

    For goodness sake, why don’t they just hurry up and roll out their Hits Radio station across their network of BC1 stations, instead of this slow and painful death of local radio they are causing? That is the intention anyway so why delay it any longer?
    Decent local radio here in the Midlands died when they closed Beacon Radio, BRMB, Wyvern and Mercia.

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