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February 27, 2019

Global Radio to expand news operation but slash local programming in restructure

By Charlotte Tobitt

Global Radio will enlarge its news teams across the UK but cut the number of hours of locally-made programming at its regional stations as part of a restructure designed to help it compete with BBC radio.

The broadcaster will launch UK-wide national breakfast shows on Capital, Heart and Smooth by the end of this year, which it said will enable it to offer “true national competition” to BBC Radio 1 and 2’s morning shows.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom also gave Global the go-ahead to reduce the number of hours of locally-made programming at more than 50 stations from at least ten hours a day weekday daytime, to at least three hours.

However the number of local news bulletins will remain the same, running at least hourly during weekday daytime and at peak times on weekends, with UK-wide and international news at other times.

Global Radio has taken advantage of regulation changes made by Ofcom in October last year, when it reduced the minimum number of locally-produced content hours from seven to three and widened the geographical areas in which local content could be made.

The overall news team at Global, which owns LBC, will be enlarged, Press Gazette understands, with roles created as part of “refreshed structures”.

Global has more than 100 journalists at 22 broadcast centres in England, Scotland and Wales who produce up to 5,000 on-air bulletins every week for LBC, Heart, Capital, Smooth, Classic FM, Gold and Radio X, according to the company’s website.

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Speaking to staff yesterday, Global founder and executive president Ashley Tabor reinforced the company’s “commitment to local news, travel and its national news operation”.

Tabor added: “Whilst the new deregulation will mean some significant changes at an operational level, these bold steps enable Global to lead the way in launching the UK’s three largest national commercial radio breakfast shows.

“We’re really excited to combine the best national talent with our unique ability to include great local content in network shows on Heart, Capital and Smooth.”

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