Who needs the One if you’ve got a big Heart? 

16 September 2008 tbs.pm/942

The nationisation of local radio is taking a step up a gear, with Global Radio announcing plans to rebrand 28 of its local stations under the Heart brand, whilst Power FM becomes Galaxy.

And it’s not just the names going – most of the content will be syndicated too, with stations like Fox, GWR and Plymouth FM losing all but their breakfast and drivetime shows.

Global’s plan is to build seven “pillar” brands which it will sell on a national scale – Heart, Galaxy, Classic FM, XFM (now with a whole two stations – XFM Scotland is set to become Galaxy), LBC, Gold and a brandless “Hit Music Network” which will consist of, amongst others, Capital FM and Leicester Sound.

It’s the biggest cull of regional media brands since ITV went all generic a few years ago. And whilst lovers of localness will not be keen on the move, the writing has been on the wall for some time.

In recent years the big radio groups have been far more interested in setting up quasi-national networks rather than investing in their locality and building on the concept of stations based around where people live. And with Global having put a lot of investment into the Heart brand, it’s not surprising that they want to use it as much as possible.

Quite what the listeners will make of this nationwide programming will remain to be seen. But one thing is certainly for sure – there’s also going to be a hell of a lot of radio presenters struggling to find new jobs…