The Radio Authority’s decision to award the Yorkshire regional licence
to Kiss FM looks set to spark a fresh debate regarding the concentration
of airtime sales.
Kiss picked up the licence last week after a hotly contested 13-way
battle for the region. Sales for the station are set to be handled by
the Capital Radio-owned London sales house, Media Sales and Marketing.
However, the decision is certain to re-ignite the row which blew up in
March when Emap handed its entire sales portfolio to MSM (Campaign, 1
At the time, protests centred on the fact that MSM and Capital had
effectively cornered 61 per cent of national radio revenue.
Industry critics pointed out that the Yorkshire win will further
increase MSM’s dominance and are worried about the consequences for
other sales houses.
One source said: ‘The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising always
maintained that the issue of concentration of airtime sales had to be
resolved. It hasn’t been resolved and it hasn’t gone away. What is the
next phase?’ Paul Davies, the managing director of MSM, said: ‘I
can understand that there will be certain concerns, but initially the
sums of revenue will not be huge.’
Others have questioned whether yet another dance music format will offer
advertisers satisfactory commercial choice.
Kevin Deakin, the managing director of the radio sponsorship broker,
Creative Media Sales, said: ‘For new licences to be successful, we need
to get new advertisers on to radio.’
Previously, Emap’s decision to award its sales to MSM prompted the
Incorporated Society of British Advertisers to refer Capital/MSM to the
Office of Fair Trading.
However, the OFT decided to take no further steps. The Radio Authority
then stepped in and asked Capital to supply a written undertaking that
it would not abuse its dominant position in the radio sales market.