Oh my god. I was fully expecting there to be more networking, but to completely swing the axe on so many local radio stations is just awful. Given how popular some of the names are, I can't see this move going down well with listeners. I'll give it a chance, but for me, Greatest Hits Radio will never truly replace my local station.
This is no different to what Global has done with their stations, and based on Global's experience the reality is that while listeners might complain at first about loosing the local brands, in the long term they don't care. In fact they've gained listeners. From a TV point of view it's also very similar to what ITV have done, and it's done them no harm.
if it was Global, they'd introduce national brands on every single station by stealth, not the half arsed way they've gone about it by introducing an oldies station on some stations where there's no competition, others keep their name, but take the playlist of Hits Radio, while others like Pirate and Lincs stay as they are!
The former UKRD stations largely had Hot AC formats which covered both avenues. GHR alienates younger listeners who I dare say will listen elsewhere, along with advertisers who target younger adults.