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Heart knocked out of radio industry, says King's Lynn's KL.FM MD

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Darren Taylor, managing director of KL.FM radio in Lynn has said that yesterday's news that Global Radio is effectively merging dozens of affiliates across the country was "a sad day" for the industry.

UGC. (7504636)
UGC. (7504636)

Heart FM stations in Norwich and Cambridge will no longer have local opt-out providing breakfast and drivetime shows of their own.

Instead they will be broadcasting a national programme with the only differences being news bulletins and local advertising.

Mr Taylor said that the move was counter to everything the UKRD Group-owned KL.FM believed in.

He said: "It did not come as a surprise. Ever since Global came on the scene and bought out GCAP and began rebranding some of them as Heart it has been known this has always been their plan.

"I can see that from a business point of view it makes a lot of sense but it is interesting how it compares to KL.FM's superlocal viewpoint. We have 90 per cent local revenue on advertising and any national spend is a bonus; their model is the complete reverse and they have been moving for sometime to be a national brand but listeners are getting left behind and it is not good for the radio stations they serve.

"But I'm most disappointed with (radio regulator) Ofcom. They have given ground to these people and effectively let 45 stations become one station.

"They are allowed to meet their licence requirements by providing one local news story an hour and that could be a regional story in an area as big as a TV region's coverage."

Mr Taylor said that this was a time of high listenership for commercial radios with home devices such as Alexa smart-speaker technology boosting figures.

He said that FM the station was not interested in becoming a DAB station as that was expensive and the coverage was poor in West Norfolk. But the 'small-scale' digital platform proposed by Ofcom for areas such as West Norfolk where DAB was failing would be something it would welcome.

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