Britain’s biggest commercial radio group, Global Radio, has announced a reorganisation of its news operation that will see some local bulletins replaced by national news from its new central London newsroom.
The staffing of some local radio newsrooms will be reduced from three journalists to two following the change – but the group said any affected staff would be “offered redeployment with the group” and no redundancies were planned.
The restructure is the result of Global’s £375m purchase of Classic FM owner GCap Media this summer. The group is now looking to merge the GCap operations with Global’s other stations – Heart, LBC and Galaxy.
Under the proposed changes, which are due to come into effect at the end of this month, journalists from Chrysalis and GCap’s London stations will be merged into one central news operation employing 30 journalists.
The central newsroom will provide a one-minute bulletin to all of Global’s local radio stations between 11am and 3pm – replacing the local bulletins that currently air on each station.
Global Radio said the move would give its 94 local journalists a four-hour window in the middle of the day to find off-diary stories – when until now they would have had to stay in the building.
In a memo to staff last night, Global Radio head of news Jonathan Richards said each station had the flexibility to opt out of the national bulletin and go local if a major story broke in the area.
“No local story will be missed,” he said. “In the event of a major local story all stations have the autonomy to break away from the network.
“Should there be a local disaster such as a flood or major crash, additional journalists will be drafted to the scene. This is about raising standards of news for commercial radio.”
Global said local bulletins would still be broadcast on every station during the peak listening times of breakfast (6am to 10am) and afternoon drive (4pm to 7pm).
A company spokesman said: “Our commitment is to provide a first-rate local news service at breakfast and drive, which we know is the most important time for listeners.”
The broadcaster is also understood to be ramping up its online news operations, with journalists encouraged to post breaking local news stories on the station websites throughout the day.