EMAP plots masthead radio

Magazines like FHM and Smash Hits could be turned into radio programmes for the first time following talks between EMAP On Air, Talk Radio and various EMAP magazine publishers.

EMAP On Air is talking to EMAP’s publishing arms Metro and Elan about how it can put titles like FHM, Smash Hits, Q, and possibly the new women’s magazine Red on radio and so bring masthead radio to the UK.

In March, the Independent Television Commission revised its code to allow masthead TV on cable and satellite. But it is still banned on terrestrial TV. Radio’s governing body, the Radio Authority, says this form of programming does not contravene its code.

Tom Toumazis, managing director of EMAP On Air, says: “This will be a good way of providing quality programming, which this medium needs.”

Paul Robinson, managing director of GWR-owned national commercial radio station Talk Radio, says: “We believe in masthead radio. A speech-based station is a good home for this kind of initiative.”

Talk Radio will not comment on who it is in talks with but has already struck low-key deals with She, Bella, and Good Housekeeping.

Both companies plan to have their shows on air early next year. EMAP On Air comprises 18 city music stations including Piccadilly 1152 and Kiss 100. The combined weekly reach of all 18 stations is 5.5 million. Talk Radio’s weekly reach is 2.1 million.

Media Analysis, page 16

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