Media Lifeline: GMG Radio

The future of cheesy music is assured as GMG unveils record profits in 2006.

1973: Guardian & Manchester Evening News makes its first major investment in radio when it acquires a 10 per cent stake in Greater Manchester Independent Radio, the owner of Manchester's Piccadilly Radio. GMEN hopes the acquisition will complement its ownership of the Manchester Evening News.

1995: Guardian Media Group, which has steadily been building radio interests over the years with several local radio company investments, takes a minority stake in Golden Rose, the owner of Jazz FM. However, it is not keen on running every radio company that comes its way. A year previously it had sold the radio interests of Thames Valley Newspapers, which it bought from Thomson Corporation, to Emap.

1999: Guardian Media Group launches GMG Radio as a standalone radio division. It is led by John Myers (pictured), a former chief executive of Century Radio. GMG then expands with five licences in Glasgow, Yorkshire, South Wales, Manchester and London.

2002: Guardian Media Group becomes the majority owner of Jazz FM. Having previously held 18.5 per cent of Jazz FM's shares, GMG buys out Clear Channel's 30.9 per cent stake. It also acquires the shares in Jazz held by Roger Parry, the executive director of Clear Channel and a non-executive director of Jazz. In June 2005, GMG rebrands its Jazz station in London as 102.2 Smooth FM.

2006: GMG Radio announces record profits for the first three months of the financial year. Revenues at both its Real Radio and Smooth brands rise by 26 per cent to June. Carolyn McCall (pictured), the chief executive of GMG, says it's a "great start to the new year".

Fast forward ...

2009: Desperate to build its dominance of laid-back, cheesy music, Emap tables a bid for GMG Radio so that it can pair Smooth FM with its own Magic FM. However, Ofcom, concerned about easy listening falling into the hands of one radio group, refers the acquisition to the competition authorities. Separately, Richard Wheatly, the chief executive of the Local Radio Company and a former boss of Jazz FM, acquires GMG's local stations.