GMG ready to join 'big four'

A big four will emerge as the owners of commercial radio after the communications bill, predicts John Myers, chief executive of GMG Radio, writes Julie Tomlin.

Smaller groups will be bought up by the top three radio groups, with a fourth buying up “what the others don’t want”, said Myers at the Radio Academy’s Speech Radio conference last week.

Ownership rules will be relaxed when the communications bill becomes law later this year and Myers, who joined GMG Radio as chief executive in 1999, said the major players were already “positioning themselves for the big bang”.

GMG Radio owns the successful Real Radio stations in South Wales, Scotland and Yorkshire, which mix talk, sport and music, as well as Jazz FM.

It trails groups such as GWR, Capital and Scottish Radio Holdings, which between them own 70 radio stations, as well as a number of digital multiplexes.

But throwing the company’s hat into the ring as a contender for the top four, Myers said GMG Radio was “up for it”.

He argued that few of the 19 groups currently controlling UK radio “have any real cash”.

By contrast, GMG had “huge cash resources and the ability to find new cash”, said Myers.

Julie Tomlin

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