Virgin Radio to undergo Absolute rebrand

Virgin Radio has revealed it will be relaunched as Absolute Radio later this autumn. It follows the station’s £53.2 acquisition by TIML Golden Square from SMG.

The rebrand has been triggered by a change of ownership clause in the licensing agreement with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, allowing it to take back the name.

TIML, a subsidiary of Times of India, bought the business with radio consultancy Absolute Radio in May this year. The group is led by Absolute founders Clive Dickens, who replaced Virgin Radio executive chairman Richard Huntingford following the sale, Adrian Robinson and Donnach O’Driscoll.

Meanwhile, the station has also unveiled a new presenter line-up as part of the relaunch, which will be supported by marketing activity from today (September 2). It is bringing in Jo Russell, who is currently part of presenting duo Jo and Twiggy on Trent FM, to replace JK and Joel on its weekend show. The pair are leaving the station. It has also signed Tim Shaw from Kerrang! Radio, where he presents a show with Big Brother winner Kate Lawler.

The new name will be supported a major campaign using the strapline “Discover real music”. It claims the relaunch will involve “the largest multiplatform marketing campaign in commercial radio history”. It has been developed by Albion, which won the £5m business in June.

The station has also outlined its plans to diversify outside of radio into areas included branded properties, music subscriptions, downloads and ticketing.

O’Driscoll, Absolute chief executive, says: “Absolute is a brand that is unapologetic, cheeky and infectious with a long-term brand building and investment strategy behind it.”

He adds that the UK launch is “just the start”, claiming the brand’s ambition is international.

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