Bauer Media has today (May 27) announced it is set to create “the largest commercial radio network in the UK” as Lincs FM, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless local stations – all acquired by Bauer in 2019 – are set to join the Hits Radio brand network.
The Hits Radio brand network currently comprises of Hits Radio, Greatest Hits Radio and Country Hits Radio.
An official press release stated that “most of the stations which joined Bauer following the acquisitions of Lincs FM, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless will rebrand to Greatest Hits Radio from September. In line with Bauer’s heritage stations, a small number will retain their local branding.”
Bauer believes that access to DAB Digital Radio will secure the multi-platform digital future of the stations, and that the integration of local content with nationally known presenters will help the network deliver significant scale for advertisers.
The move comes on the back of the network’s latest RAJAR results. Following the aforementioned various acquisitions, Bauer Media said it posted a record reach in the quarter of 20m. The company’s digital reach - another record - was 14.6m, up 6.2% year-on-year. Listening via a digital device was 74%, compared to the industry average of 59%.
Speaking about the move, Dee Ford CBE, group managing director radio, Bauer Radio, said: “Audiences love and trust radio. Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world. This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”
The press release also confirmed that the changes will mean that some roles will be put into consultation and freelance contracts reviewed.
It continued: “Bauer Media is fully committed to supporting all affected employees throughout this period and will be working closely with them over the months ahead. A period of consultation with employees potentially affected will commence today.”
Graham Bryce, group managing director – Hits Radio Network Brand, added: “We are committed to ensuring the future of radio in local markets and serving the needs of our listeners and advertisers. However, our top priority right now will be to support those affected through this period.”
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