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Bauer rebranding 53 stations to The Hits/Greatest Hits

The majority of its acquisitions last year

CI
cityprod West Country (West) Spotlight
BBI45 posted:
BBI45 posted:
But if they don't need to provide local news under current regulations, then why will they be continuing to do so? Bauer says the reason why they're making these changes now is to ensure commercial viability in the aftermath of COVID-19. If this is the case, then why would they spend more money than they need to on local news?


Because local news is actually the one thing that listeners most want from their local radio station. Survey after survey has demonstrated that. Besides, the alternative is having BBC local radio as your only provider of local news on radio.

I'm aware of that. My point is that I thought that OFCOM requires local news to be maintained and that is why stations aren't being consolidated left, right, and centre. Not that Bauer was keeping individual bulletins by choice.


As I often get reminded by people who don't seem to understand my positions on local radio, these stations are still commercial operations, and as such, they will choose to do things that actually work for them. Local information, especially news, is one of those things that listeners want and do listen to, so, as long as that continues to be the case, they will continue to do it.
BB
BBI45 Central (East) East Midlands Today
BBI45 posted:

Because local news is actually the one thing that listeners most want from their local radio station. Survey after survey has demonstrated that. Besides, the alternative is having BBC local radio as your only provider of local news on radio.

I'm aware of that. My point is that I thought that OFCOM requires local news to be maintained and that is why stations aren't being consolidated left, right, and centre. Not that Bauer was keeping individual bulletins by choice.


As I often get reminded by people who don't seem to understand my positions on local radio, these stations are still commercial operations, and as such, they will choose to do things that actually work for them. Local information, especially news, is one of those things that listeners want and do listen to, so, as long as that continues to be the case, they will continue to do it.

We seem to have gotten a bit confused. Just to put it simply, does OFCOM require that each license produce local news, or would a single bulletin per OFCOM region technically fulfil the requirements, even if listeners don't like it?
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AN
all new Phil Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
BBI45 posted:

Because local news is actually the one thing that listeners most want from their local radio station. Survey after survey has demonstrated that. Besides, the alternative is having BBC local radio as your only provider of local news on radio.

I'm aware of that. My point is that I thought that OFCOM requires local news to be maintained and that is why stations aren't being consolidated left, right, and centre. Not that Bauer was keeping individual bulletins by choice.


As I often get reminded by people who don't seem to understand my positions on local radio, these stations are still commercial operations, and as such, they will choose to do things that actually work for them. Local information, especially news, is one of those things that listeners want and do listen to, so, as long as that continues to be the case, they will continue to do it.

No no. Local information and news is what people *say* they want. In reality they couldn’t give a toss. Time and time again, radio stations merge, morph into a national brand, lose their localness and people complain. They then continue to listen after they change. Local radio is dead. Sorry.
JO
Jon Central (West) Midlands Today
BBI45 posted:
BBI45 posted:
I'm aware of that. My point is that I thought that OFCOM requires local news to be maintained and that is why stations aren't being consolidated left, right, and centre. Not that Bauer was keeping individual bulletins by choice.


As I often get reminded by people who don't seem to understand my positions on local radio, these stations are still commercial operations, and as such, they will choose to do things that actually work for them. Local information, especially news, is one of those things that listeners want and do listen to, so, as long as that continues to be the case, they will continue to do it.

We seem to have gotten a bit confused. Just to put it simply, does OFCOM require that each license produce local news, or would a single bulletin per OFCOM region technically fulfil the requirements, even if listeners don't like it?

From what I understand they’re only required to provide news from the wider approved region on a particular station. As CityProd states they may decide its in their commercial interest to keep news more local.

BBI45 posted:
Bauer says the reason why they're making these changes now is to ensure commercial viability in the aftermath of COVID-19. If this is the case, then why would they spend more money than they need to on local news?

Don’t believe all the PR stuff about it being a reaction to COVID-19 it may have accelerated this process but it was always likely to happen. They stated that in the Radio Today interview and later contradicted that was the reason in the same interview.
BB
BBI45 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Jon posted:
BBI45 posted:

As I often get reminded by people who don't seem to understand my positions on local radio, these stations are still commercial operations, and as such, they will choose to do things that actually work for them. Local information, especially news, is one of those things that listeners want and do listen to, so, as long as that continues to be the case, they will continue to do it.

We seem to have gotten a bit confused. Just to put it simply, does OFCOM require that each license produce local news, or would a single bulletin per OFCOM region technically fulfil the requirements, even if listeners don't like it?

From what I understand they’re only required to provide news from the wider approved region on a particular station. As CityProd states they may decide its in their commercial interest to keep news more local. Don’t believe all the PR stuff about it being a reaction to COVID-19 it may have accelerated this process but it was always likely to happen.

I am aware that the COVID-19 line is likely to be a bunch of guff and that it was going to happen at some point, but I was under the impression that OFCOM still required news to be delivered on a local level, which is why many former ILR stations that are now owned by Global still have local news. I'm certainly not going to complain about local news being retained, but it's slightly unsettling to think that there are no rules stopping Bauer from scrapping local news if they wanted to.

Thanks for the clarity regardless.
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JO
Jon Central (West) Midlands Today
On further reading I may be misunderstanding the rules involving approved areas and it may be the case that they have to keep news more local in order to benefit from the ‘approved areas’ in terms of studio and programme sharing.

Someone in the know should be able to clarify.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/information-for-industry/radio-broadcasters/localness
Quote:
'Enhanced' local news services
Some local stations have committed to providing an enhanced local news service in return for being able to broadcast a greater number of networked hours (i.e. programmes not made from within their licensed, or approved, area) during daytime programming.
BB
BBI45 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Jon posted:
On further reading I may be misunderstanding the rules involving approved areas and it may be the case that they have to keep news more local in order to benefit from the ‘approved areas’ in terms of studio and programme sharing.

Someone in the know should be able to clarify.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/information-for-industry/radio-broadcasters/localness
Quote:
'Enhanced' local news services
Some local stations have committed to providing an enhanced local news service in return for being able to broadcast a greater number of networked hours (i.e. programmes not made from within their licensed, or approved, area) during daytime programming.

That's what I thought. Laughing I guess neither of know exactly.

EDIT: Looking through Bauer's plans and Ofcom's localness rules, it does look like news will have to be produced at an individual license level between 6am and 7pm. By the looks of things, if they wanted to scrap local news for some form of regional news, they'd have to get somehow get dispensation from Ofcom.

Quote:
On weekdays, FM local stations should provide either:

a minimum of 6 hours of locally-made programming between 6am and 7pm if they are providing local news at least hourly at peak-times (breakfast and afternoon drivetime), or;

a minimum of 3 hours of locally-made programming between 6am and 7pm if they are providing local news at least hourly throughout the same period.

In exceptional cases, if a station can put forward a convincing case as to why it should be treated differently, for example, as a specialist music station, and so have to provide less locally-made programmes than these guidelines suggest, Ofcom will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis.
Last edited by BBI45 on 16 July 2020 11:56pm
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LL
London Lite Founding member London London
We still have no idea what the plans are for local news provision in North Yorkshire. Currently there are three stations which have slots on the North Yorks DAB multiplex, all with different local news bulletins.

Under the rules, they could provide one county wide bulletin across all three licences and reduce the DAB slots from three to one, yet the stations provide local news to distinct areas. York (including Northallerton), Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Coast from Scarborough down to Bridlington, which for such a large county isn't going to be able to provide the same level of local news as now.
IS
Inspector Sands
Jon posted:
I’ve got a feeling there are Ofcom defined regions, so for example stations in the North West could all become one station with one set of local news.


I believe they use the ITV regional structure as their defined radio regions, I think Scotland is counted as one however.

As I mentioned a few pages back: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are treated differently and more programming needs to originate from that nation.

Hence the South Wales version of GHR will have more than just a local drivetime and their Hits stations in Scotland also have fewer networked programmes from England.

Heart North Wales is another example, at one point it (or Capital which it was for a while) had Welsh language programming too
IS
Inspector Sands
Jon posted:


BBI45 posted:
Bauer says the reason why they're making these changes now is to ensure commercial viability in the aftermath of COVID-19. If this is the case, then why would they spend more money than they need to on local news?

Don’t believe all the PR stuff about it being a reaction to COVID-19 it may have accelerated this process but it was always likely to happen. They stated that in the Radio Today interview and later contradicted that was the reason in the same interview.

Yes Covid and the economic situation is the reason for doing the changes so quickly - to mitigate the extra losses the economic situation will cause to stations some of which were already struggling.

They bought the stations last year so the networking was always going to happen. In normal times it would have been done a lot slower
AS
Ash101
I was under the impression that under the new Ofcom rules, News could be grouped with the larger areas - as long as each bulletin contains at least 1 news story for each FM patch it’s being broadcast on.

But with stations like Heart & Capital only running 60 seconds of news, they find it easier to split the news out on a smaller basis to ensure they’re meeting the rules within the length they want to run.
BB
BBI45 Central (East) East Midlands Today
We still have no idea what the plans are for local news provision in North Yorkshire. Currently there are three stations which have slots on the North Yorks DAB multiplex, all with different local news bulletins.

Under the rules, they could provide one county wide bulletin across all three licences and reduce the DAB slots from three to one, yet the stations provide local news to distinct areas. York (including Northallerton), Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Coast from Scarborough down to Bridlington, which for such a large county isn't going to be able to provide the same level of local news as now.

You have raised an interesting point. I wouldn't be surprised if they just end up with three versions of GHR with the broadcast area in brackets. I'm expecting a similar approach to eventually be taken with the Derbyshire multiplex, where North Derbyshire will have it's own version from what is currently Peak FM, whilst the south of the county would be covered by the new East Midlands station.
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