Bauer moves Rock FM programming to Manchester

Bauer is to close Rock FM’s studios in St Paul’s Square, Preston, and move all remaining programming to Manchester.

Sales staff will stay in the city, moving to a new office facility at the end of February.

The only radio programme to broadcast from the converted Church now is the breakfast show with Joel Ross and Janine (currently covered by Gemma Cutting) on 97.4 FM. This will use a studio at Castle Quay in Manchester instead. The AM service, Greatest Hits Radio, already takes all output from the network.

St Paul’s Square is a redundant Anglican parish church and has been the home to the station since it launched as Red Rose Radio in 1982. It was built between 1823 and 1825 and bought by Red Rose Radio in 1981 for £35,000 to convert into a radio station at a cost of £778,000. It is a designated Grade II listed building.

Graham Bryce, Group Managing Director for the Hits Radio Brand Network said: “We are working to bring better and more vibrant working environments for our teams. With the current Rock FM building in Preston in need of repair, we felt the time was right to look for new modern office accommodation for our staff there, while allowing our broadcast team to benefit from a bigger and better-resourced broadcast environment.

“There will be no noticeable change for Rock FM listeners. They will still have the same great line-up of presenters including Joel Ross and Janine (Gemma) at Breakfast, Mike Toolan, Sarah-Jane Crawford, Wes Butters and Gemma Atkinson, plus all their local news, traffic and travel and other local information we know they love.”

Last year, Preston’s only other commercial radio station, most recently known as 2BR and broadcast from Accrington, also closed its Lancashire based in favour of networked shows from Manchester and London when it rebranded to Capital.

The building has been home to many radio professionals over the last 38 years, and many videos have been made about the space. Check out some from YouTube below.

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  1. Rob Charles says

    I lived in Stockport before getting the call from John Myers to host the breakfast show after Carl Greenwood left. In 1997 Tom Hunter said that once I finish on Rock FM I would move over to the AM. So with this in mind I moved to Whittle-le-Woods in Chorley. Love Lancashire and it’s such a shame that the building will close. Still have those great memories of working with some great people. By the way in 1998 John Myers took me to Century 105, so commuted the other way on the M61 to work.😕

  2. Michael Bolton says

    We all knew this was coming and the rationalisation of Bauer stations and property is going to roll on as it did with global.
    Times and broadcasting change but many will feel sad on hearing this news.

  3. Tom M says

    Very sad to see the end of an era for St Paul’s after nearly 40 years of radio broadcasting from there. However, since the network changes introduced by Bauer, I have long suspected this move would happen, especially with only 1 show a day being broadcast from there and all their AM output being networked from different locations.

  4. Nic says

    Why don’t you broadcast from London? This is killing radio. Ofcom local content rules are a damn joke.

    1. Anthony says

      Too right Ofcom local content rules are one big joke – the IBA wouldn’t have let independent local radio slip too far this way – fact.

      1. mb23 says

        The IBA didn’t regulate when 10,000 stations and many podcasts are available on the internet.

        1. Anthony says

          There are too many stations on AM and FM and DAB copying one another and competing for listeners, period and the IBA was abolished in the 1990 Broadcasting Act which has led to the wholesale destruction of commercial tv and radio and the sorry aborition of airwaves rubbish and flotsam and jetsam we have today. Deregulation / privatisation and big media group ownership and corporatisation of national identity commercial radio and tv has been a total utter failure.

          1. mb23 says

            It hasn’t been an utter failure though. 36 million people are tuning in to commercial radio every week, and they are tuning in for the extra digital stations (Planet Rock, Jazz FM, talkSPORT 2 etc.).

            That choice wasn’t available when the IBA were around. London only had one commercial music station and that was never going to please everyone.

          2. NEAL says

            For God sake how many more times are people going to keep going on about how bloody great FM/AM Radio is now?! Yes there was only the original Capital in London but boy once they found their feet the station was professional with great DJs and a fantastic variety of music covering all genres not the never repetitive playlists of today with presenters behind the microphone just taking the money and running with no interest in what they are doing or what they are playing not as that’s all there fault as the Corporate suited and booted won’t let them. Amazing the money these station controllers get for just for letting a bloody computer rotate their endless same playlists. We are your Gods and you will bloody well do as you are told. As I keep saying I get there is s demand for this type of radio but not on every sodding frequency that’s out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Rob Charles says

      Watch this space regarding the breakfast show on the Hits & London…

  5. Rod Hardisty says

    I spent 12 happy years in this building from 1982 to 1994. Yes, as a business decision it will save money by moving to Manchester. We all guessed this would eventually happen but I can’t help feeling sad to see it.

  6. Liam says

    Hey ho. (Rolls eyes). Not sure how they will get the same great content?

    I don’t think the people of Preston will want to hear about the presenters journey into work to castle quay or about the people he bumped into on the way, who won’t want a mention on the radio as the passengers on the tram from Altrincham to Manchester are not even in the tsa.

    I can only assume there isn’t any local content anyway so it won’t be missed.

    Roll on more “local content” about what was on coronation street last night or which celeb rolled out of a Manchester/London club a bit tipsy.

    I can’t wait.

    1. AndrewB says

      Keep in mind Global relocated Smooth Lake District from Kendal to Manchester… At least Preston and Manchester are both cities.

    2. mb23 says

      Rock FM has its own breakfast show, which will continue. Listeners won’t even notice.

      The days when people turned up to the studios to meet the DJs and get car stickers are long gone.

      1. Mr Boltar says

        That stopped a long time before the network consolidation. Radio stations seemed to stop wanting the plebs who indirectly paid their bills turning up at the door and became virtual fortresses with a security guard in reception (if there even was one any more and not just a door in a wall) and a very much Don’t Come In vibe about them.

      2. Anthony says

        How do you know they won’t notice? When they talk rubbish about places things and events outside Lancashire’s transmission service area? Who the hell in Lancashire will want to hear about things in Gtr Manchester and how would it benefit Lancashire? Isn’t local radio meant to be ‘by local people for local people’?

  7. Anthony says

    Bauer are the bad guys of radio as is Ofcom who have allowed this unwanted wholesale destruction of radio, I can see listeners turning off and smashing their radios in anger at this move. The 1990 Broadcasting Act and Maggie Thatcher’s Govt are completely 100% to blame for all this commercialisation and corporatisation of local radio, I completely give up. Manchester, and Cheshire are not in Lancashire’s tsa (transmission service area) as is Greatest Hits Radio on 999 kHz AM also from Manchester either, it’s pointless really.

    1. mb23 says

      In the real world there will no angry smashing of radios, there is so much choice now that people don’t care.

      The current radio act is the Communications Act 2003, and that was brought in by Tony Blair’s Government. I suppose it’s easier to blame Thatcher for everything, as she isn’t around anymore.

      1. Anthony says

        Today commercial radio pleases nobody or just a very minute audience of people, the thinking is, few people listen so why the hell should we care about our audience or what we put out, in short it’s just a lucrative bleeding cashcow run by brainless station controller people who don’t give a flying fig what listeners want along with braindead regulator Ofcon who allows broadcast media groups to break rules it sets out – fact. An independent not for profit company ILR (Independent Local Radio) Limited is planning to resurrect dead independent local radio franchises i.e red rose radio / pennine radio / radio aire / viking radio / piccadiily radio etc and bring them back online thru crowdfunding and I hope they do, i’ll deffo listen because it’s how local radio SHOULD BE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE STRAYED FROM!!!!

      2. Anthony says

        And having too much choice is a bad thing too!

  8. Richard E says

    The Conservatives started commercial radio , Labour would of never done so , even bringing in the Maritime Offences Act to stop the Pirates of the Essex Coast !

  9. A J says

    So in the article, they didnt even know the co-host of the breakfast show was now Gemma Cutting and referred to her as Janine

    1. Rob Charles says

      Janine is on Maternity leave So Gemma is there till then as co-host.

      1. MF O'Connor says

        Nice try Graham Bryce….but no one is buying your empty words! “Better and more vibrant working environments for our teams”??? Pur-lease! Gie’s a break, son!

  10. Ade says

    What a shame to cut media broadcasting in Preston

  11. Paul K says

    How sad. What a long way backwards we’ve gone since Alan Beswick on Red Rose had me chuckling into the duvet back in the 60s.

    1. Paul K says

      That should be 80s!

      1. AJ says

        How long before they try and move Radio City out of St. Johns Beacon?

  12. Radio Geordie says

    No real surprise there then.

    It’s ironic though as when Piccadilly was taken off the air by an IRA bomb years back, it was Red Rose who came to the rescue.

  13. Wyzza says

    Only Wave 96.5 remains as FROM Lancashire, even if it’s only local 6am-7pm.

    Wave sounds far better than Rock FM.

    Ian Shepherd and Tatum are good!

  14. "Oldman" says

    I remember Red Rose Radio starting up. Living on the Wirral, Radio City was our listening station but during September/October 1982, I was commuting to Glasgow and back. I was listening to the test transmission from coming over Shap down the M6 to home. They had some good presenters over the years. Saturday Night” Big E” or Claire Anderson from 7pm. Stations under the Bauer Brand should now be called “Bauer National Radio”. At this rate, St. John’s Beacon (Radio City) will be the next. Only time I listen to now is to hear Lee Butler for his 4 hour weekend afternoon show -that is local radio!!!!1 My station now is Signal 1, at least it’s has it’s own presenters during the day (for the present time)

  15. Avid Listener says

    I fully expect Cumbria’s CFM to be moved from Carlisle to either Manchester or Newcastle at some point too, it seems evident that Bauer are moving towards bigger regional “Hits Radio” branded stations rather than smaller local stations like CFM and Rock FM.

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