Quidem enters brand licensing agreement with Global

A number of possible redundancies and a new partnership with Global have been announced at Quidem stations in the Midlands today.

In communication to staff this afternoon, CEO Steve Orchard explained that the business is operating at a financial loss and alternative arrangements need to be made.

New technologies and recent changes in radio regulation mean the company is able to organise its business differently, the CEO says.

Around 13 roles are at risk of redundancy across the company, including five account managers and three presenters.

Quidem is dropping First Radio Sales in favour of Global National Sales, and journalists at the company will be offered a transfer to Global who will be providing local news going forward.

The deal also means all of Quidem’s stations – Touch FM (four licences – Coventry, Warwick, Tamworth and Burton), Banbury Sound and Rugby FM – will take one of Global’s brands in a brand licensing agreement.

A Global spokesperson confirmed the news to RadioToday, saying: “Quidem Group’s six Midlands-based radio stations have entered into a brand licensing agreement with Global.”

Speaking to RadioToday this evening, Quidem Chief Executive Steve Orchard said: “This new arrangement will benefit listeners and customers in our patch. We will attract bigger audiences and help grow commercial radio’s share in the Midlands. Global is a world-class brand for listeners and advertisers.

“We can now offer a stronger, dynamic, more focussed, advertising medium. The new partnership will also allow Quidem to begin the process of putting its services on the DAB platform in its territories.

“Local news and information will remain an important aspect of the new broadcast output and I am pleased that each member of our newsroom will be offered a continuing role in that respect.”

RadioToday’s take

Financial pressure for the remaining small radio groups means deals like this might be more commonplace in the future. Communicorp already operates this way, as did Adventure Radio until recently.

We don’t know if Global attempted to buy the company outright before this brand agreement was put in place – such a deal might have been subjected to the CMA – so this method would be the easiest way for Global to expand one of its brands – such as Capital Birmingham – to the rest of the West Midlands.

It’s never a good time when a radio company announces redundancies, so good luck to anyone involved, and if we can help, just get in touch.

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  1. T1 says

    As Heart and Smooth already exist, could it be Capital for Coventry ?

  2. Sj says

    While it’s terrible news for staff, Touch FM Coventry has a 6% reach. Love them or hate them, you’d bet money on Global quadrupling that with Capital.

    1. Lee says

      How sad. I was one of the team who fought long and hard to get local radio stations into Rugby and Banbury. I guess teams have changed (possibly for the worse I fear). By the way, wasn’t Steve Orchard one of the former GWR senior managers (with Ralph Bernard) who merged their stations with the Capital Group to create GCAP who then sold their stations to Global?

  3. Radio Geordie says

    I doubt the CMA would’ve blocked an outright takeover anyway, as Bauer own the other commercial stations in the area. Even if they did, they could’ve just sold the odd ones to Communicorp on condition they carried Capital.

    1. Global says

      Bauer own Free radio and Greatest hits in Coventry. Global have Heart and Smooth already in Coventry so CMA could well have blocked it.

    2. T1 says

      not true Radio Geordie. Global already broadcast Heart and Smooth to Coventry so it could have been blocked by the CMA. It’s probably the reason why it’s a partnership.

    3. T1 says

      Also Banbury already have heart and no Bauer stations.

  4. Craig Strong says

    A sad day for some of the people that were my former colleagues.

  5. Jamie says

    Really excited for capital coming to Coventry. I wonder who will be on drive? Could it be Rob Ratledge, he would be my choice.

    1. mb23 says

      It will be the same show as Birmingham.

      Birmingham & Coventry have been in the same Ofcom “approved local area” since 2010. That approved area now covers the whole of the Midlands, hence East Midlands and Birmingham are sharing a drive show.

  6. Ian Scott says

    I would take a guess that Global will wait to see what the CMA decide finally on what Bauer can and can’t do. Then, Global will buy Quidem.

    1. mb23 says

      They have issues with the Coventry & Stratford licences, and possibly Banbury because of the overlap of their Heart & Smooth stations. It’s more likely that Communicorp will buy them.

      1. Sj says

        This is what I’d have assumed too. But why, for example, does Communicorp’s Smooth East Midlands do its own breakfast show when it could presumably take the one from Birmingham?

        1. mb23 says

          The rules state that a company must have editorial control over its local output, so Global & Communicorp are not allowed to share local shows, even within the same approved area.

          The same applies with Smooth NW & Smooth Lakes, and the Welsh Hearts & Capitals..

          1. sj says

            So would Quidem have to produce a local drive show for Capital? I can’t keep up with the rules these days!

  7. AD says

    I wonder if there’s also a secondary strategic move here by Global to put further pressure on the Bauer CMA investigation by taking another customer away from First Radio Sales?

  8. Dave says

    Most if not all the small commershal radio stations have been loosing money for years & there is only so much cost cutting to survive they can do.
    Not suprised by quidem licencing there stations to globel. I guess they won,t be the last. Who will be next?

  9. Joe Smith says

    Global = redundancies

    1. mb23 says

      In this case Global = fewer redundancies than there would have been, because the journalists jobs are saved.

      The Quidem balance sheet is negative and it continues to make losses. Without Global’s intervention the stations would probably have closed.

  10. RathergoodDAB says

    Interesting how they caveat the purchase with ‘operating at a financial loss’ as an attempt to justify their rationale behind the purchase. Oh Global you merciful beast.

    At least they attempt to provide some logic, Bauer is the spoilt child who asks for every toy at Christmas, then finding out that they can’t provide a good enough reason for why they want them or how they are going to play with them.

    1. mb23 says

      Global haven’t purchased anything, they have signed a contract to provide programming and sales. The share capital of the company remains with the current owners.

    2. Ray says

      Quidem lost nearly £200k last year. That’s not sustainable.

  11. Tony says

    Can see Capital Birmingham becoming ‘Capital West Mids’ like the Heart and Smooth brands.

  12. Whitsal86 says

    Could these have different drive shows due to ownership rules

    Radio X would be the best brand for these – no coverage of Radio X in the Midlands.

    If not Radio X, then what about Capital on one license, X on some of the others, e.g. Tamworth and Banbury have Radio X, Rugby has Capital FM snd
    Warwick has Radio X.

  13. Anton Graham says

    At least the journos wll be offered the opportunity to transfer over to Global..these are normally the first posts to go as for some reason they are classed as expensive overheads..Global could have easily have said that they would absorb the news operation of the quindem stations and despatch bulletins from the global Birmingham News Hub, but they are transfering the staff hopefully on their existing T&Cs of employment or better, which is positive.

    1. Michael Bolton says

      True, but as we have seen with both Global and Bauer changes are made in progressive planned phases. An end goal may be in mind but may go through several steps. For example you bring the roles in, then in 6-12 months do a strategic review, restructure and reduce headcount. All quietly once the initial interest and focus had gone away. It’s standard practice in most industries.

      1. sj says

        I think you’re right that headcount will come down over time as a result of this. But journos are usually among the lowest-paid people at radio stations and turnover can be high in commercial radio news anyway. So it’s probably easier and cheaper in the long-run to bring them over and just not replace them as they gradually leave.

  14. Daniel Hopkins says

    Global bought 2 station we will have to wait to see what it will be it normally take a while

    1. Daniel Hopkins says

      MyMistake it 3 station

  15. Mike Rose says

    Touch is loss making (and not even the Orchards/Parks of this world could make it work) because it was dreadful from the start. The stations it replaced did/sounded much better. Moving every one of them into a central hub and pouring even more money down a black hole in the early days, together with an earache of a “wedding-reception” type music policy finished them off. CN (as was) should have sold them to Quidem much earlier than they did or just handed back the licenses and put the public out of their misery. Thank heavens Global are getting involved.

    1. sj says

      I have to say I agree. It seems to be mostly automated, for a start, and it’s hard to tell who the target audience is with the music being so all over the place. The tinpot imaging suggests the stations are trying to play the local card but then there’s very little content or sense of localness to back that up. Even the news bulletins are mostly just the national, Sky ones. But you’ve got to have some sympathy with them. Trying to make a commercial success out of such small licenses must be soul destroying. I’m just relieved the journos are being offered continued employment. As someone here mentioned, they’re often the first to lose their jobs in situations like this.

  16. Sue says

    I guess Foss 107 will be next?
    I Don,t think they are doing that well.

    1. Dave says

      Fosse 107 forgot about that one,
      It is about the last man standing with sunshine.

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