Guardian Media Group (GMG) Radio has applied to Ofcom to allow it to revamp its flagship London station, Smooth FM, to appeal to an older audience by scrapping its jazz, R&B and blues content.
The broadcast regulator has launched a public consultation into the request, which would allow the station to become an "easy listening" station with increased news and speech content.
The application comes just two years after Ofcom relaxed the Jazz FM format, which allowed the station to relaunch as Smooth FM. The changes in November 2004 saw the station rearrange its schedule to move its specialist jazz programming, a requirement of its licence, to the evening. Under the new format, it would continue to play specialist jazz and draw its playlist from the blues, soul, R&B and jazz genres, but would aim to attract an older audience.
GMG Radio chief executive John Myers (pictured) says: "We do not believe that the changes we are advocating substantially alter the character of the service for Smooth FM, which already delivers an older audience profile than the majority of stations in London."
Industry sources suggest that the decision to change the format may indicate that the group is readying itself to make a bid for the Saga radio stations, which the company is currently reviewing.