Real and Smooth
|Headquarters||Salford, Greater Manchester|
|Key people||John Myers (1999-2009),
Real and Smooth Limited, formerly GMG Radio, is a company which owns the Real Radio and Smooth Radio networks. As GMG Radio, the company was the radio division of the Guardian Media Group until it was bought in 2012 by Global Radio, however pending regulatory review of the merger the company is being run as a separate entity.
On 12 July 2004 GMG Radio relaunched ejazz.fm, a dedicated jazz website. In January 2005 it launched a service, named Hear It, Buy It, Burn It, to permit users to legally download music from its station's websites. In February 2005, Myers announced that they have scrapped plans to launch Channel M Radio, a 24-hour news and talk station for Manchester due to commercial viability issues. In March 2005, the Guardian Media Group rejected a £115 million bid from the Chrysalis Group for the GMG Radio division. In June 2005 London station 102.2 Jazz FM was rebranded to 102.2 Smooth FM after disappointing RAJAR figures. At the same time, ejazz.fm was renamed to jazzfm.com and initially appeared on DAB in Yorkshire, South Wales and the Severn Estuary and on Sky Digital. On 18 October 2006, it was announced that GMG Radio had bought the two Century branded stations from Gcap Media. The Century brand was originally launched by Myers and Simons in North East England in 1994, whilst they were at Border Television.
In August 2006 GMG sold its share in Rolling News channel DNN. The five regional stations on DAB were then closed down by Chrysalis to be replaced by LBC. On 18 December 2006, it was announced that GMG Radio had bought the four Saga Radio branded stations. GMG rebranded the Saga stations along with its existing Smooth FM stations in March 2007 to Smooth Radio. On 6 October 2008 jazzfm.com was relaunched as Jazz FM across a number of DAB multiplexes in the UK, using space on local and regional multiplexes from existing GMG Radio stations as well as launching on digital television platforms. In November 2008 GMG was awarded with the last analogue licence in the UK (covering north and mid Wales). They intend to operate the licence using the Real Radio (Wales) format basing its studios in Wrexham. On 18 December 2008, it was announced that Century Radio was to be re-branded as Real Radio on 30 March 2009.
In April 2009, the Jazz FM name and branding owned by GMG since 2002 were bought by the chief executive of the since formed Jazz FM Investments Ltd, Richard Wheatly. Jazz FM transitioned from GMG's local and regional DAB slots to a single slot on the Digital One national DAB ensemble bought by Jazz FM Investments Ltd in 2011.
GMG radio announced that out of peak time hours news would be shared by news hubs. As a result there is one in Glasgow, one in London and the largest which is Century Radio headquarters in Manchester, headed by James Rea. Manchester broadcast a "Sky News" type bulletin, in which all GMG Radio stations in northern England Opt in on the hour.
Global Radio buyout of GMG Radio
On 25 June 2012 it was announced Global Radio (the owner of stations such as Capital and Heart) had bought GMG Radio, however the GMG radio stations would continue to operate separately until a regulatory review into the sale is carried out.
On 11 October 2012, The Secretary of State Maria Miller announced Global Radio's takeover of GMG Radio would not be investigated on the grounds of plurality. The Competition Commission was due to publish its final report on 27 March 2013. On 21 February 2013 it was confirmed the decision whether Global Radio can take over all GMG Radio's assets would be delayed, until 22 May 2013, two months later than planned.
On 21 May 2013 the Competition Commission published their final report into Global Radio's acquisition of GMG Radio. Global must sell radio stations in seven areas of the UK. The stations Global will be required to sell are as follows:
On 14 June 2013 it was reported that Global Radio would appeal against this decision by the Competition Commissions to sell off certain stations.
On 6 February 2014, Global agreed to sell eight stations to the Irish company Communicorp for £35 million. These are Smooth East Midlands, Smooth North West, Smooth North East, Capital Scotland, Capital South Wales, Real Radio North Wales, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS Manchester.
- Real Radio North East
- Real Radio North West
- Real Radio Scotland
- Real Radio Wales
- Real Radio Yorkshire
- Real XS (North West)
- Real XS (Scotland)
- Smooth Radio (UK)
- Smooth Radio (Scotland)
- Dennis, Guy (2005-03-20). "Chrysalis bid rejected by Guardian". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Day, Julia (2006-10-18). "Guardian buys GCap radio stations". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Kiss, Jemima (2006-12-18). "Guardian Media Group to buy Saga stations". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Plunkett, John (2007-01-30). "Saga stations to be rebranded as Smooth Radio". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Andrews, Amanda (2009-04-09). "Jazz FM sold to team led by Richard Wheatly". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "Jazz FM goes national on DAB". Radio Today. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
- Global Radio seals £50m purchase of GMG Radio Maisie McCabe, Media Week, 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- GMG Radio sold to Global for £50m Mark Sweeney, The Guardian, 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- No plurality issues for Global GMG merger Radio Today, 11 October 2012
- Date set for Global Radio’s CC results Radio Today, 11 October 2012
- CC delays Global GMG takeover decision Radio Today, 21 February 2013
- Global/GMG final report Competition Commission, 21 May 2013
- Global Radio appeals against order to sell off GMG Radio stations Mark Sweney, The Guardian, 14 June 2013
- Sandle, Paul (6 February 2014). "Denis O'Brien buys eight UK radio stations from Global Radio". Reuters. Retrieved 10 February 2014.