Global forced to sell Capital FM or Real Radio

THE Competition Commission (CC)has ordered Global Radio Group to sell either Capital FM or Real Radio in Scotland following last year’s takeover of Guardian Media Group’s radio operations.

The watchdog fears Global could force up the price of advertising and also wants stations sold in Cardiff, the East Midlands, the north-east and north-west of England, north Wales and Yorkshire.

The company said: “Global notes the CC’s report and will now consider the report more fully, and announce next steps in due course, including entering into a period of discussion with the CC to finalise the stations that may be disposed.”

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An interim report in February had hinted at yesterday’s decision.

Global – which also owns the Classic FM, Heart FM and LBC brands – entered Scotland in 2000 when it took over Beat 106, which was later rebranded as XFM, Galaxy and eventually Capital.

Real Radio began broadcasting north of the Border in 2001 after buying Scot FM from The Wireless Group. The company later bought five licences from Saga to create the Smooth FM brand.

John Collins, a broadcasting lecturer at Reid Kerr College, said: “There aren’t any rumours doing the rounds, but if someone was to buy all seven stations then they would need to already have the money, as it would be difficult to raise it in the 12-week timeframe for the disposals. It won’t be Bauer, because you again would have competition issues, but it could be someone like Phil Riley’s Free Radio, because he ran Gold under licence from Global.”