Global’s regional radio cuts ‘a travesty’

The decision of Global to cut many regional radio shows has been branded a “travesty” by shadow culture secretary Tom Watson.

Local breakfast shows will be axed from Capital, Heart and Smooth stations to provide a more streamlined and centralised service broadcast from London.

Heart will have its 22 regional breakfast shows slashed to one national broadcast, Smooth will lose regional shows, and London output will replace Capital’s 14 regional morning programmes.

The move has been criticised for costing the jobs of local radio employees and replacing regional representation with more programming made within the M25.

Labour’s Mr Watson said: “The loss of more than 100 local radio jobs across the country is a travesty and particularly damaging at a time when local news is already under extreme pressure.

Fabian Society new year conference
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has criticised the move (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“Replacing local voices with London-based presenters will be a terrible loss to communities across the country.

“Radio has unique reach, providing listeners with national and local news and friendly company.

“This announcement is a terrible blow.”

According to Radio Today, the changes will come into effect by the end of the year, with cuts also being made to drivetime shows.

Capital will also be reduced to nine region-specific drivetime shows instead of the current 14.

For Heart, the 23 drivetime shows will be slashed to 10 as broadcast areas are expanded. 

Smooth will be reduced to seven drivetime shows across the country.

It has also been reported that 10 studio sites will close in Brighton, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Exeter, Gloucester, Kendal, Kent, Lancaster, Norwich and Swindon.

Global’s president Ashley Tabor told Radio Today: “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.”

Global includes Radio X, LBC, Classic FM and Gold as part of its broadcast portfolio.

The company has been asked for comment on the threat of job losses.

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