Radio Predictions 2016

By Martin Phillp
Posted 25 December 2015, 5.58pm gmt
James Cridland

I'll probably get them all wrong, but worth a guess anyway. What are your predictions?

  • Chris Moyles, Vernon Kay and Johnny Vaughan leave Radio X.
  • Dan O'Connell moves to mid-mornings, Ian Camfield to afternoons, Phil Clifton to Drive and Hattie Pearson to evenings on Radio X.
  • Another big name on Radio X breakfast from the radio industry or a celebrity.
  • Chris Evans moves to a 4 day week on R2 during Top Gear.
  • Orion sold to Bauer. Heritage names return to Free Radio sites, with the Greatest Hits format on Free Radio 80s which get their heritage names back and Gem 106.
  • Katie Hopkins gets a regular weekend slot on LBC.
  • Time 107.5's licence is handed in by Lyca Media, to concentrate on their Asian brands, despite a local management attempt to buy out Lyca.
  • Virgin Radio output simulcasts on the soon to rebrand UTV Media (GB) FM stations.
  • The return of late evening/overnight non-sport output on talkSPORT on AM only as a promotional tool to get listeners to get DAB Digital Radio for talkRADIO. DAB continues with the normal sports programming.
  • Anglian Radio and Oak FM sold to UKRD.
  • eagle3 rebrands as Eagle Oldies on DAB.
  • While Smile Sussex rebrands on DAB on the Sussex mux to Oldies Sussex, Smile continues on the small scale trial Brighton mux.
  • The existing Trial DAB muxes are given a 12 month extension by Ofcom.


5 years, 11 months ago

I guess it's time to open up the Media Info Psychic Hotline for some predictions again.

I'm actually going to say that unless something unexpectedly catasprophic happens, I forsee no changes in personnel at Radio X, and little real change in any other way either.

By the end of the year, I predict that at least one of the current DAB stations on the Cornwall multiplex will have disappeared. The current favourite for that, is NJoy Radio, who don't seem to selling a lot of advertising right now. Second favourite is Escape, which is deliberately commercial free, but is in my view only a placeholder for Pirate FM to return to DAB, once Pirate 2's schedule has been appropriately changed to remove the simulcast elements, which is currently most of the schedule.

The OFCOM small scale DAB trial will be concluded and community radio stations will be encouraged to begin DAB simulcasting at their earliest opportunity, with the encouragement of an additional licence renewal as the motivating factor.

If the pattern of the last 10 years is repeated, 2016 will see another round of community radio licences awarded for the South West, and I expect that after Palm got Breeze'd, that the Torbay and South Devon area will see a number of applicants trying their luck. Riviera Radio got refused in 2011, but they are still going, also South Devon Sound might consider making an application. Other community stations that could also apply this time around include NCB Radio, Bude Bay Radio and Lyskerris Radio.

Gold gains a host for "The Gold Rush", their drivetime show.

KISS will finally get removed from the Plymouth multiplex.

Pop Up Radio gets cancelled, as nobody ever uses it.

BBC Local Radio gets a formal format change, with weekdays 0700-0830 and 1700-1800 the only all talk requirements left, and a daytime average of no greater than 50-50 music to talk from 0830-1700, specifying that music should never be more than 50%. There will be no requirement to fulfil any particular ratio of speech to music outside of those hours, but stations will be encouraged to provide additional local sports coverage where possible. Also, the clock will change to match US Public Radio and BBC World Service.

On a related matter, this will be the year that the evening show finally gets cancelled, as the output continues to have little relevance to listeners. A mega-regional service of shows replaces it, with shows covering the North of England from Manchester, Midlands from Birmingham, South & East from Southampton and South & West from Bristol. Weekend evenings already have a similar arrangement, so why does weekday evenings have to have a 'national' service?

Also, in relation to BBC Local Radio, to offset some of the increased cost of providing these extra evening shows, weekends will become more regional and less local. Weekend Breakfast will be the only guaranteed local output with Sport especially encouraged to be shared between stations. Other weekend daytime programming will be up for arrangement between stations.

5 Live will become more like a standard commercial talk radio station in response to the arrival/return of Talk Radio, with the daytime output between 10am and 4pm becoming especially phone call heavy. Also, Morning Reports will get cancelled and the entire 5am hour will become Wake Up To Money.

LBC will cancel The Morning News with Lisa Aziz.

Heart will go against their previous actions and actually signal by the end of the year, that they will create a separate Heart Cornwall breakfast show, finally signalling the full split between Heart Cornwall and Heart Devon. The actual start will not be until 2017, but they will announce the new investment by the end of 2016. The reason for this will be seeing that James Dundon on Drivetime will be getting better numbers than Matt & Caroline at Breakfast in Cornwall, whilst Olivia's numbers in Devon will remain weaker than the breakfast crew.

5 years, 11 months ago

Can someone dig out last year's predictions?

5 years, 11 months ago

Can someone dig out last year's predictions?

Radio Predictions 2015

5 years, 11 months ago

As we near the end of the year, here are some of the successes of that thread:

James Martin said: "Stephanie Hirst returns to radio – possibly on the BBC." - she did, of course, on July 4th, on BBC Radio Manchester.

Martin Phillp said: "Palm 105.5 rebrands as The Breeze" - this happened on September 21st. He also correctly guessed that "The Breeze wins the Portsmouth licence" - it was re-awarded to Celador in April.

Ian Beaumont said: "We will finally see the rules loosened on commercial income for community stations, but there will still be requirements for fundraising from the public and grant making trusts" - we did see some relaxation of the rules in April.

Ian also added: "Pirate 2's RAJARs will come in very low, and by the end of the year there will be concerns about the future of the 5 programmes that are produced exclusively for Pirate 2." - while Pirate 2 has never been in RAJAR, it now only produces an hour of community programming.

Glyn Roylance predicted changes ahead for Slough station Time 106.6: "Time 106.6 (Slough) becomes another Jack FM" - there were changes, but probably not the change that anyone expected; the station closed in October after being left without a transmission site.

5 years, 11 months ago

Gotta say James, slightly off on Pirate 2. Pirate 2 produces an hour of community programming, every day. 7 hours a week. When it was launched, it was launched with 5 hours, one hour per weeknight at 7pm. The extra shows are The Youth Show, Saturday at 4pm, and The Farming Show, Sunday at 7am.

Admittedly, I am somewhat surprised that they haven't put Pirate 2 into RAJAR, but Pirate 2 has always felt like a compromise solution, between keeping Pirate FM's high rating shows on DAB, and providing some extra programming. I do imagine we'll see some extra programming added to Pirate 2, including possibly extended news, but I have little real idea what they're going to add. Maybe some sports programming, maybe some specialist music output, but I can't imagine that happening until the original version, Pirate FM, possibly renamed Pirate 1, returns properly to DAB.

5 years, 11 months ago

Ah, you lot beat me to it this year!

I can also take the crown for this:

"Free Radio refocuses its proposition to try and take back “ownership” of Birmingham. A slightly hotter, tighter and younger sound arrives on FM. "

Onto 2016:

  • Radio X produces significant RAJAR increases in the original London & Manchester TSAs. However, there will be a "penis on the page" effect (copyright John Myers) nationally with regards to Chris Moyles in particular.

  • Scott Mills leaves Radio 1.

  • UTV (or what it becomes) refocuses its local stations, possibly introducing a nationwide brand.

  • Neil Fox doesn't return to Magic and instead joins Smooth Radio.

  • Quidem sell up, following this year's disposal of Oak FM.

5 years, 11 months ago

BBC radio one chief spontaneously combusts..... that's all for now

5 years, 11 months ago

ok one more Wessex FM have the total best reach by this time next year currently joint best at 45% with yorkshire coast radio (both ukrd)

5 years, 11 months ago

How well did I do from this time last year:-

"Most commercial radio stations will continue to see their RAJAR’s head downwards, with reach and/or hours listened to, although the new Heart regionals will continue to reclaim the ground lost by the wound-down versions of Real Radio, for which Global (and radio forumites) will bleat about how much more successful Heart is over Real Radio, even though the Heart figures haven’t reached Real’s peak. 5 steps backwards, one step forwards – but that makes for success, seemingly."

I was well off the mark when I predicted this one, at least for Scotland's version of Heart, which instead of seeing audiences rise, they fell to a low (and are still going down), reaching the audience levels of Scot FM in the 90's when it had 50% speech commitments and nothing to talk about.

"Bauer in Scotland: West FM becomes a relay of Clyde 1 (ala TFM and Metro). More programs on the Scottish place stations come from Manchester (and Newcastle). Yet more programs on stations outside of Glasgow come from Glasgow. Radio Clyde records yet another all-time low (although some of the RAJAR’s may see a slight increase q-on-q and y-on-y)."

It hasn't happened to West FM yet. As for more programs from Manchester and Newcastle, they did do this for a short while but by the end of the year the reversed the decision and now there is very little programming on the 1 stations from England and reduced programming from England on the 2 stations, with none in the daytime. Radio Clyde did indeed score an all-time low soon after I had posted that but they have since reclaimed some of their lost audience, which may in part be due to reversing the decisions made on networking from England and also because of programming changes at Heart.

"The “We Never Grew Up” stations will fail to make an impression and will, at best, hold the same (low) level of audience that they always had."

They did worse - with one station being sold off.

"Original 106 continues to be Aberdeen’s second station and may continue to benefit from Northsound 1 & 2’s fall, closing the ever narrowing gap."

Original 106 achieved its highest audience share in 2015 at 11%, beating Northsound 2 (at 4.6%) and behind Northsound 1 (at 16.2%), closing that gap. Northsound 1 continues to have a high reach, whilst Northsound 2 has scored it's lowest audience during 2015. Original 106 can also claim to be the most listened to station in the area, in terms of hours-per-listener.

"More community station closures, with nearly as many closures as openings."

Aye. Soon after I posted that, two of Scotland's community stations handed their licences back to OfCom - and one in Thanet did so towards the end of the year.

"The remaining specialist shows on the Greatest Hts Network in Scotland quietly disappear from the schedules."

That happened very soon after I posted that. We now have a country show and a party/soul music show, for which the playlists are quite similar to the daytime playlists but with the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Rod Stewart and Adele removed.

So here are my predictions for 2016:-

West FM becomes a relay of Clyde 1, just like TFM and Metro.

Small-scale DAB licences get extensions and OfCom promise to licence some more. More power and increased use of SFN's could also happen.

The dispute over the X (or Exe) brand is resolved - amicably.

More groups apply for an FM license in Glasgow than have ever applied for a single licence in any other part of the UK in history.

5 years, 11 months ago

Art, in the grand plan of things with DAB local multiplexes in west central & southwest Scotland, there is going to be a merger of local multiplexes, possibly before 2020. In essence, West FM in Ayr is indeed on borrowed time!

Ayrshire & Glasgow will become Glasgow North local DAB with Glasgow South launching in Dumfries & Galloway (D&G) as a Glasgow South local DAB.

I suspect the Ayrshire DAB encoder, located at the West FM/WestSound AM studio in Holmston Road Ayr, will later transfer to the WestSound FM studio at the Loreburne Centre in Dumfries. The Dumfries located encoder will then be used for the Glasgow South DAB service in D&G!

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