|Broadcast area||North West, London, West Midlands, North East, Scotland, East Midlands|
|Slogan||Your Relaxing Music Mix|
|Frequency||FM 97 MHz-108 MHz
AM 603 kHz-1557 kHz
Virgin Media: 916
|First air date||As Jazz FM
4 March 1990
As Smooth Radio
4 October 2010
|Audience share||2.6% (June 2013, RAJAR)|
|Sister stations||The Arrow, Capital, Capital Xtra, Chill, Classic FM, Gold, Heart, Jazz FM, LBC, XFM|
Smooth Radio is a forthcoming network of six adult contemporary local radio stations in England and Scotland that will launch in March 2014. Each station will broadcast localised breakfast and drivetime programming on weekdays, with networked shows simulcast from London at all other times. Three of the stations will be owned and operated by Global Radio, with the remaining three owned by Communicorp as a franchise.
Having previously operated under a number of regional licences, Smooth Radio's owners, GMG Radio merged its five English stations into one quasi-national station, launching the brand on the DAB network on 4 October 2010. Most of the output was broadcast from Salford Quays in Manchester, with other programming coming from London.
On 25 June 2012, GMG Radio's owners, Guardian Media Group sold its radio division to Global Radio at an estimated price of between £50 million and £70 million. [a] Global renamed GMG Radio "Real and Smooth Radio Ltd." Several rival radio groups expressed their concerns over the takeover and the effect it could have on commercial radio in the UK. Ofcom launched a review of the sale, and it was announced that GMG Radio and Global would continue to operate as separate entities while the review was conducted. On 3 August the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt instructed Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to examine Global Radio's purchase of GMG, which gave Global over 50% of the UK radio market because of concerns the takeover may not be in the public interest. On 11 October, the OFT concluded that the merger could lead to a rise in local advertising costs because of the decrease in competitors, and forwarded the matter to the Competition Commission, which oversees business mergers and takeovers. On the same day the Competition Commission announced it would publish its findings into the takeover by 27 March 2013.
The Competition Commission published its final report into the acquisition on 21 May 2013, requiring Global to sell radio stations in seven locations.[b] Global subsequently appealed the decision, but this was rejected by the Competition Appeal Tribunal in November. Global announced in December that it would not contest the decision, and would instead begin the process of selling the assets as directed by the Commission. On 4 February 2014, the Radio Today website reported that Ofcom had given Global Radio permission to remove Smooth from the Digital One platform, and to replace it with a service playing music from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Under this agreement, Smooth would continue to broadcast on its regional frequencies, but would be required to provide seven hours of local output per day. On 6 February, Global confirmed the sale of eight of its regional stations—including those with the Smooth Radio brand in the North West, North East and East Midlands—to the Irish media holdings company Communicorp.[c] Under a franchising agreement between the two firms, these stations would retain the Smooth Radio name, but relaunch airing a mixture of both regional content and networked programming from London. Smooth would also take over Gold's medium wave frequencies, except in London, Manchester and the East Midlands. Global announced later that month that Smooth would be relaunched on 3 March, and subsequently confirmed the Gold changes would take effect from 24 March, when the stations would begin simulcasting with Smooth Radio London.
List of Smooth Radio stations
The Smooth network will comprise of 23 stations
FM stations will carry local weekday breakfast, drivetime & weekend afternoon content with networked programming broadcast off-peak from London.
- Smooth East Midlands (owned by Communicorp and operating under a franchise)
- Smooth Glasgow
- Smooth London
- Smooth North East (owned by Communicorp and operating under a franchise)
- Smooth North West (owned by Communicorp and operating under a franchise)
- Smooth West Midlands
AM stations will carry networked programming broadcast from London
- Smooth Berkshire and North Hampshire
- Smooth Bristol and Bath
- Smooth Cambridgeshire
- Smooth Dorset and Hampshire
- Smooth Essex
- Smooth Gloucester
- Smooth Hampshire
- Smooth Herts, Beds and Bucks
- Smooth Kent
- Smooth Northamptonshire
- Smooth Norfolk
- Smooth North Wales and Cheshire
- Smooth Plymouth
- Smooth South Wales
- Smooth Suffolk
- Smooth Sussex
- Smooth Wiltshire
- A financial report released by Global Radio in December 2013 indicates the company paid £69m for its purchase of GMG.
- The stations involved were: Smooth or Capital (East Midlands); Real or Capital (South Wales); Real or Heart (North Wales); Capital or Real XS with either Real or Smooth (North West); Real or Smooth or Capital (North East); Real or Capital (Yorkshire); and Real or Capital (Scotland)
- The eight stations were Smooth Radio North West, Smooth Radio North East, Smooth Radio East Midlands, Capital South Wales, Real Radio North Wales, Capital Scotland, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS Manchester.
- "Smooth goes national on D1". Radio Today. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
- Sweeney, Mark (25 June 2012). "GMG Radio sold to Global for £70m". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- McCabe,, Maisie (25 June 2012). "Global Radio seals £50m purchase of GMG Radio". Media Week. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Global’s GMG Radio takeover cost revealed". Radio Today. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Real and Smooth continue to help heroes". Radio Today. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Radio groups oppose Global domination". Radio Today. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- "Global Radio purchases GMG Radio". Radio Today. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- Rushton, Katherine (3 August 2012). "Jeremy Hunt calls on Ofcom and OFT to probe Guardian's radio deal". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "The OFT grants fast-track to Global Radio". Radio Today. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "Date set for Global Radio’s CC results". Radio Today. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Global/GMG "Final report". Competition Commission. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "Global’s GMG competition appeal rejected". Radio Today. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Global Radio decides not to appeal CAT". Radio Today. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- "Smooth Radio to be removed from Digital 1". Radio Today. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Sweney, Mark (6 February 2014). "Denis O'Brien to buy eight Global Radio stations". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- Martin, Roy (6 February 2014). "Communicorp buys 8 Global Radio stations". Radio Today. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "Global Radio sale – What we don’t know". Radio Today. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- Begum, Shelina (6 February 2014). "Regional radio stations sold". Manchester Evening News (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "Bates and Parsons out as Smooth relaunches". Radio Today. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Global Radio confirms local Gold changes". Radio Today. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.