GMG in bid to launch ad-free radio station

Guardian Media Group’s (GMG) radio division has proposed the UK’s first advertisement-free commercial radio station, Smooth FM, in its bid for the East Midlands FM radio licence.

The company is planning the Radio 2-style station for the over-40s market. It would be funded through sponsorship of 80 per cent of the station’s shows.

GMG Radio’s chief executive John Myers is confident the proposition is workable. He adds: “GMG wouldn’t have put the bid together if it didn’t think it would work. We’ve been working on the plans for a long time.

“Radio 2 has been chipping away at commercial radio and we think we’ve put together an application that can make a profit. It’s the next stage of commercial radio.”

The station will have 27 staff in total – seven of which will be freelance DJs – only five of whom would be sales people, so as to keep costs to a minimum.

GMG is one of 18 consortia bidding for the East Midlands licence, which targets 2 million listeners. The application deadline was Tuesday (5 February 2002) and a result is expected in July.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here