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Global plans to consolidate radio operations in U.K.

The owner of LBC, Heart, Smooth and Capital will centralize some of its news programming in an effort to cut costs.

The owner of LBC, Heart, Smooth and Capital will centralize some of its news programming in an effort to cut costs.

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Global Media and Entertainment will streamline some of its radio broadcasting operations across the United Kingdom by moving resources to a handful of major metropolitan areas.

The move will impact radio journalists at nearly a dozen stations across the country, and around 40 journalists could be laid off as a result.

The strategy will impact radio stations in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Fareham, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Yorkshire and Wrexham, with news production outsourced to hubs in Glasgow, Manchester and Lancashire.

Radio stations that broadcast programming under a number of Global-owned brands will be affected by the move, including affiliates of Capital, Heart and Smooth.

Journalists at the affected stations were told of the plan during an all-staff meeting held with senior managers this week. Some reporters complained that the local communities they once served would receive news reports from journalists located hundreds of miles away.

“This is a huge decimation of local radio news provision for listeners to Capital, Heart and Smooth networks across the country,” one employee told a British media outlet.

A spokesperson for Global declined to comment about the specific strategy, but affirmed that the broadcaster is “constantly reviewing our structure and processes.”

The move comes at a time when major media brands in the United Kingdom and elsewhere are grappling with a downturn in the advertising market, brought on in part by a pullback in marketing spend by major companies. The brands that are still advertising are increasingly shifting their budgets toward connected products like streaming video, podcasts and social media platforms.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).