Radio Authority bars Associated radio bid

In a landmark case involving the new cross-media ownership guidelines, the Radio Authority has ruled against a major regional newspaper proprietor which was planning to move into radio in the same region.

In a landmark case involving the new cross-media ownership

guidelines, the Radio Authority has ruled against a major regional

newspaper proprietor which was planning to move into radio in the same

region.



DMG Radio, the radio arm of Associated Newspapers, has been barred from

acquiring an FM radio service in Leicester because the Radio Authority

has decided such a move would operate against the public interest.



The case centres on Leicester Sound, which broadcasts a local FM radio

service in and around the city of Leicester. DMG Radio, a subsidiary of

the Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns Associated Newspapers, is a

publisher of local newspapers such as the Leicester Mercury and several

free weekly local newspapers.



The authority had a number of concerns about the effects of the proposed

acquisition. In a written ruling, it said: ’If the proposed acquisition

proceeded, the most significant independent local radio station and by

far the largest local newspaper group operating in the coverage area

would come into common ownership.’



This is the authority’s first consideration of acquisitions between

newspaper proprietors and licence holders under the cross-media public

interest test provisions introduced by the 1996 Broadcasting Act and

could have far-reaching implications.



Charlie Cox, managing director of DMG Radio, said: ’We need to discuss

with the Radio Authority to what extent this is a precedent. As we

understand it, it says it’s not and we are viewing this as a judgment on

Leicester.



The law suggested we could move into this area, but the authority

interpreted it differently.’



A spokeswoman for the Radio Authority insisted: ’Each case is different

and we will take each on its merits.’



But Yvonne Scullion, head of radio at Zenith Media, said: ’This makes

the whole area of acquisitions a minefield. There are no cut-and-dried

rules by which you can look at an application.’



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).