The centralised account, worth an estimated £4 million, will include all aspects of GWR's radio activity, including its range of branded Classic FM CDs and Classic FM promotions and events. The Classic FM record label has sold more than a million CDs since launch.The review does not, however, include the recently launched spin-off Classic FM TV channel.
At present, the Classic FM account is held by Media-edge:cia. Advertising and media for GWR's local stations - including the regional franchises Chiltern FM and Wyvern FM - is handled on an ad hoc basis.
"This is the first time we have reviewed our media planning and buying with a view to giving it structure and provide the best levels of service," a GWR spokeswoman said.
GWR's flagship Classic FM station is the UK's biggest commercial radio network and the latest Rajar figures reveal a 0.2 per cent growth in listening share both year on year and quarter on quarter, to 4.7 per cent.
Despite Classic FM's success, GWR has not been insulated from the advertising recession, and its most recent financial results have been disappointing.
In the six months up to September 2002, GWR's operating profits fell 24 per cent on the same period the previous year to £5.8 million. Classic FM's advertising revenues had grown by 6 per cent but this was cancelled out by a 6 per cent dip in revenues at GWR's local stations. As a result, GWR announced it would be abandoning its international ambitions.