LBC News abandons its 24-hour operation

London radio station LBC News has announced plans to scale back its rolling news coverage to just 12 hours a day, after management decided the 24-hour operation was ‘no longer possible to sustain”.

From today, 1 August, the live news station will close down at 7pm and rebroadcast the output from its sister talk station, LBC 97.3, until 7am the following morning. The station, previously known as ITN News Direct, will switch off at 6pm on Saturdays and 5pm on Sundays.

An LBC spokesman told Press Gazette there were no planned redundancies in the newsroom, which employs 15 journalists working across both LBC stations and Heart 106.2.

LBC programme director, Jonathan Richards, said allowing the station to use its sister station as a sustaining service meant listeners would still hear up-to-date news at night.

‘We believe that rolling news does have a place in the London radio landscape,’Richards said.

‘However, the high cost of the service combined with its low revenue potential means that it is no longer possible to sustain rolling news as a 24-hour format.

‘LBC 97.3 is heavily news and information-rich. News bulletins, with weather and travel information, are broadcast every half hour around the clock.”

The station has cancelled its five-year relationship with Bloomberg, which had supplied half-hourly business news bulletins throughout the day, but said it would continue to work with Sky News, which supplies its national and international news.

In the latest set of official Rajar listening results, published last week, LBC News recorded a weekly audience of 291,000 and a 0.8 per cent share of all radio listening in the capital.

Its talk radio stablemate, LBC 97.3, lost 107,000 listeners between March and June – down 15.3 per cent to 594,000 – despite a six-figure marketing campaign to promote its coverage of the London mayoral elections.

Both stations are owned by Global Radio, the new radio group chaired by the former ITV chief executive Charles Allen.

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