Monday, June 1, 2020

News: Borough to lose Rother FM in Bauer rebrand


From September, there will be no more Rother FM on the airwaves. Instead, Bauer Media is set to create the largest commercial radio network in the UK by merging a number of local radio stations that it has acquired.

The German multimedia conglomerate acquired Lincs FM, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless local stations in 2019, and over 50 stations will join the Hits Radio Brand Network, providing the highest listening hours of any commercial radio brand. Bauer owns the likes of Absolute Radio, Kiss, Magic and Hallam FM.

Access to DAB Digital Radio will secure the multi-platform digital future of these stations in a radio market which is seeing a significant shift towards consumption on digital platforms.

The group said that the move enables the creation of a national network which delivers the optimum mix of local content that listeners highly value alongside content from nationally known presenters, whilst also providing significant scale for advertisers.

Dee Ford CBE, group managing director - radio at 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."


Rother FM will become part of Greatest Hits Radio in September - "offering classic hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s alongside regional drive time and networked breakfast shows."

Trade media reports that some presenter and journalist roles will be made redundant. Bauer confirmed that some roles are being put into consultation and freelance contracts are being reviewed. Bauer added that it is fully committed to supporting all affected employees.

Graham Bryce, group managing director at the Hits Radio Network Brand, said: "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."

Ofcom awarded Lincs FM Group a 12 year licence for Rother FM following a competition in 2006. The winning bid, which beat two other bids, was to create "a truly local radio station for Rotherham with a high quality news and information service that puts Rotherham first, and a popular and distinctive blend of music - a station designed to appeal to adults and children alike."

Awarded a community radio licence in 2007, Redroad FM continues to serve the rural communities of South Rotherham, with a particular focus on young people.

Bauer Media website

Images: Lincs FM Group


Anonymous,  June 1, 2020 at 11:56 AM  

Radio station, another thing to the ever lengthening list of thing Rotherham doesn't have compared to other towns

Anonymous,  June 1, 2020 at 4:07 PM  

Probably down to listening figures the only time I have heard it is in Joblot Radio Hallam in its early years was great but now they all seem bland.I listen to talk radio stations or old reruns of Art Bell tinfoil hat firmly on.

Paul G Flear June 2, 2020 at 3:52 AM  

The ONLY TRUE Local radio are Community Radio stations that offer mixture of great music and local information/identity

Paul G Flear June 2, 2020 at 3:53 AM  

Also presenters that love radio and care about their community

Mr me June 2, 2020 at 11:24 AM  

Paul G Flear. Sounds a bit PC to me, you mean a station that wouldn't report news on things that go against there political leanings? 🤔

Anonymous,  June 2, 2020 at 11:39 AM  

Yes, I think you are right but no listening figures no revenue plus the amount of choice with podcasts internet radio and audible its hard for small mainstream radio to survive.

Anonymous,  June 2, 2020 at 12:31 PM  

No matter what rother fm becomes, we should still have local news, local sport and local adverts on the frequency.

Anonymous,  June 2, 2020 at 12:33 PM  

Why a German company running stations, thought we left EU 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Paul G Flear June 2, 2020 at 2:58 PM  

Mr me Obviously, you have no concept of Community Radio. It does not have any political leanings. If you listened, you would realise they serve the local community with no preset political 'message' nor do they have the financial resources as professional radio stations do enjoy. Must of the time, Community Radio focus on music and not news.

Anonymous,  June 5, 2020 at 4:19 PM  

Curious as to how Bauer has managed to achieve this. As the article correctly mentions, stations like Rother, Dearne and Trax were specifically set up to create local content, offering something different to the likes of the larger networked stations such as Hallam, etc. So effectively when it comes to commercial radio in South Yorkshire, there is now a monopoly.

Simply replacing the local programming with a national brand doesn't seem to fit with the reasons why these stations were set up in the first place.

Of course, it's clear that Rother FM hasn't been viable for a number of years - it's been a number of years since they closed there offices in the town and most broadcasting was done from Doncaster. Perhaps the move to a national brand was inevitable, due to viability.

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