London News Radio has severed its ties with the Capital-owned radio
sales house, MSM, and is pulling sales for both its brands in-house.
The move comes just two months after Nigel Reeve, the former sales
director of Classic FM, was appointed managing director of LNR, and has
prompted fresh speculation that the LNR shareholder, GWR, is edging a
step closer towards setting up its own sales house.
Reeve said: ‘I spoke to about 20 different media directors, all of whom
said the stations should be sold in-house. You have to have a team that
understands and works with your product and has contact with
programmers. I want a team that will know, live and breathe the
Sources suggest the LNR decision means that MSM will lose approximately
pounds 100,000 worth of profit a year generated through its handling of
sales for the relaunched LBC and the FM station, London News 97.3.
MSM has branded LNR’s decision as ‘hugely disappointing’. The managing
director, Paul Davies, commented: ‘We feel pretty poorly treated. We
built a team structure which meant we would be able to put some
commitment behind the stations and produce results in the long term.
‘LNR is breaking an agreement with us and we are discussing what our
reaction will be.’
He also disputed the figure of pounds 100,000, saying: ‘We weren’t
making money on LNR’s business. We always knew it was a product that
would take some time to turn around.’
Reeve denied GWR was poised to set up its own sales house, saying there
was ‘no connection’ between the LNR decision and the wider GWR picture.
However, one radio buyer said: ‘I have to believe that it will
LNR sales will officially move in-house on 1 January next year. Sources
also suggest that a relaunch of the FM brand will be completed by that
date as well.