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Bauer seeks to extend Hits Radio network by getting Sam FM Bristol’s licence remit changed

By | Published on Monday 19 October 2020

Bauer Media

Bauer Media is hoping to plough on with the consolidation of its local radio network by asking media regulator OfCom to change the licence remit of Bristol station Sam FM. If successful, the station will rebrand as Hits Radio.

Bauer acquired four rival radio groups in the UK last year significantly boosting its portfolio of local stations. Then earlier this year it relaunched many of the stations it had acquired as local outposts of its Greatest Hits Radio network. Four others retained their existing names, but became part of Bauer’s Hits Radio network, with most programmes coming from a national hub.

However, three of the acquired stations were pretty much unaffected by the big revamp, retaining both their local brand and local programmes. One of those was Sam FM Bristol, which came to Bauer via its acquisition of Celador Radio. However, if OfCom allows a remit change for that station’s FM licence, it will also become part of the Hits Radio network, and actually take the name Hits Radio.

That will require the regulator allowing the Sam FM frequency to switch from being “an adult alternative station playing adult-oriented album tracks, classic rock and predominantly non-contemporary pop/rock hits, with particular appeal for 35-59 year olds”, to “a station playing current hits and the best hits from the past 20 years with local news and information appealing to a 25-44 year old audience in the Bristol area”.

If OfCom allows the change, it will be the second station in Bauer’s Hits Radio network to actually operate under the name Hits Radio, alongside that network’s Manchester outpost. Although the Hits Radio brand also exists on FM in the Southampton and Portsmouth area via a station actually operated by Nation Broadcasting which licenses in the Bauer brand and networked programming.