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.

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