Tuesday, July 07, 2009

City Talk not all about the talk

Sorry, I'm incredibly late with this story, but it's worth mentioning now anyway. Back on May 12th, Ofcom allowed Radio City's City Talk station abandon its all-talk format:

Station director, Richard Maddock said that the news was a relief:

“Ofcom’s decision is welcome news as it provides clarity. The team will now look at the business plan, review our current market situation and consider the implications of the Ofcom decision."

“On behalf of everyone at all the City stations, I’d like to thank Ofcom for their decision and also thank everyone that has supported our format change request through the 30 day public consultation period. Our commitment to quality, well-produced speech broadcasting at key parts of the day continues as before and we will continue to work hard to deliver the best talk-focused station.”

"Provides clarity"? As if the idea of an all-speech network wasn't, you know, quite clear in the first place?

The suspicion has to be that Bauer have pulled a fast one, pitching a format it knew wouldn't work (as it's already closed down City Talk once, when it was an AM station) in a bid to win the last licence; having closed down the prospect of serious competition for Radio City, it's now effectively watering down its talk station into a "speech-focused" product.

Part of the talk will be a nightly phone-in - which can be simulcast on Radio City. Two FM networks broadcasting the same thing in one city? Well done with the protecting media plurality, Ofcom.