Radio News Beat

As usual I select some news that interests me and hopefully you as well. This is not intended to be a comprehensive news service.

From Radio Today website

Absolute Radio launches 60s and 70s

Absolute Radio is launching Absolute Radio 60s and Absolute Radio 70s.

The stations will be as much about the presenters as the music, with Pete Mitchell hosting daytime on 60s, who will be reunited with Geoff Lloyd, and Richard Skinner taking afternoons on 70s.

The two new stations join three current stations of a similar format covering the 80s, 90s and 00s on various digital radio platforms in the UK.

Absolute Radio 60s will launch on Tuesday 22nd of November on local DAB multiplexes across the UK with the likes of The Beatles, Stones and Motown. Pete and Geoff will be back together after five years apart for a daily show.

Absolute Radio 70s will launch a week later on Tuesday 29th of November on DAB in London, complete with Richard Skinner in the afternoon.

Clive Dickens, COO Absolute Radio: “We know there is considerable demand for both new decade services and continue to invest further in Digital Radio with now over 73% of our weekly audience listening via a digital device”.

Both stations will network Christian O’Connell at breakfast and Frank Skinner at the weekend.
Published on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 12:13 am

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From the Digital Spy site

A BBC local radio executive has challenged the corporation’s director general Mark Thompson to justify why local radio services are facing wide-ranging cuts, while BBC Radio 4 remains “untouched”.

Pauline Causey, the managing editor of BBC Cornwall, expressed concern that her station and others like it are bearing more of the brunt of the cuts than the main BBC Radio networks.

In an email sent to Thompson, seen by The Guardian, Causey said that her station is facing cuts of 14% to its £1.6m budget under the corporation’s Delivering Quality First (DQF) initiative.

BBC services in the English regions must make cuts of £27m a year by 2016, and 56% of that will come from local radio services, which Causey feels is a disproportionate responsibility.

Causey told Thompson: “Last week you told Shelagh Fogerty [on BBC Radio 5 Live] that ‘the level of challenge both in terms of cuts and efficiencies are not disproportionately high in English regions’.”

“You also said we haven’t ended up with local radio at the bottom of the pecking order. Can you please help me understand how this is true?”

Causey’s email echoed concerns among other BBC executives that BBC Radio 4 has escaped the cuts at the expense of local radio in England, and other BBC services.

A BBC source told the newspaper that the cuts to local radio were “significant and much higher than [they] expected”, potentially leading individual stations to lose around ten employees each.

Larger BBC regional radio stations could lose up to 20 people, and presenter Danny Baker has already criticised the proposed scrapping of his show on BBC London 94.9.

The source said: “The feeling is that Radio 4 has got away scot free. They said there was nothing more that could be done more efficiently at Radio 4, which is rubbish.

“It is hard to see how we are going to be able to keep the current level of quality on these reduced budgets. Something has to give.”

The BBC is to cut up to 2,000 jobs and scale back various services as it seeks to make savings of £670 million by 2017. Regional television is also being hit hard, including regional current affairs show Inside Out facing budget cuts of 40%.

A BBC spokesperson said: “It is understandable that staff have strong feelings following last week’s announcements, but news and radio across the UK are not immune from the need to find efficiency savings. We are seeking to achieve these savings at times which will have the lowest impact on audiences.

“The DQF proposals will protect peak-time programmes when the audience is highest and the output is the most distinctive, i.e. breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime programmes; news, weather and local information will remain specific to their stations; and stations will retain the ability to stay local when major stories break.

“There are no plans at present to stop broadcasting An Nowodhow – the Cornish news bulletin – on BBC Radio Cornwall.”

Christmas radio station to launch next month
Published Friday, Oct 14 2011, 13:53 BST | By Andrew Laughlin | 6 comments
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Christmas Tree baubles

© Rex Features
Guardian Media Group’s (GMG) Smooth Radio network has announced plans to launch a temporary Christmas radio station next month on digital, providing listeners with their “Christmas music fix”.

The station, named Smooth Xmas, will go live on November 1 on the Digital One DAB platform, dedicating its entire output purely to Christmas tunes.

The commercial-free station will have presenters and air Christmas features, including Smooth’s ‘Real’ Santa appearing on Christmas Eve. Smooth Xmas will go off air on December 27.

Last October, GMG merged its five regional Smooth Radio stations into a single nationwide network based out of Manchester, broadcasting on DAB and FM in selected areas.

GMG group programme director John Simons said: “This is a very exciting time for the group, Smooth Radio has had a fantastic first year as a national station and Smooth Xmas will provide that Christmas music fix, while introducing many new listeners to the Smooth Radio brand via a targeted seasonal channel.”

Buckingham Palace announced in January that Sky News will produce and distribute the Queen’s Christmas message this year instead of the BBC or ITN.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Danny Baker slams BBC ‘Delivering Quality First’ cuts
Published Friday, Oct 7 2011, 10:30 BST | By Mayer Nissim | 8 comments
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Broadcaster Danny Baker

© PA Images / Ian West/PA Wire

Danny Baker has hit out at the scrapping of his award-winning radio show under the BBC Delivering Quality First cuts programme.

The DJ presents the Danny Baker Show live on BBC London on weekdays from 3pm-5pm.

Baker said on Twitter: “So the BBC London afternoon show – current Sony Gold Holder – is to be part of the Delivering Quality First cuts. The logic of Genius.

“Nothing like having your show axed under an initiative called Delivering Quality First to let you know how valued you are. #CrapOutFirst.”

“Just off up the end of the garden with 3 Sony Gold awards (one current, one not even mine) and a stick of dynamite. #DeliveringDynamiteFirst.”

Before posting a video to a Zane Lowe Radio 1 video advert, he then quipped: “The BBC cuts are essential & I am happy to fall on their sword. I mean, how else are they to fund ads like this?

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