Future uncertain for Real Radio presenters following networking announcement

SEVERAL radio presenters – UK-wide, including in Scotland – are facing an uncertain future, following an announcement that the Real Radio portfolio of radio stations is to network some of its broadcasts.

From the fifth of next month, the Real Radio stations will share output between 1000 and 1600 with Darren Parks hosting the 1000-1300 slot and Debbie Mac the 1300-1600 one.

The regions affected at Wales, Yorkshire, the North West and North East of England and Scotland. In Scotland, Paul Harper currently hosts a four-hour slot (Fraser Thomson is currently standing in for him while Paul is on holiday), 1000-1400, while Steve McKenna hosts a 1400-1900 one.

Both Parks and Mac host shows on Real Radio North West.

Says a media release issued by the stations’ owners: “The peak breakfast and drivetime shows will continue to be hosted locally in each region during the week, whilst at weekends each station will retain a locally produced late breakfast show and move to networked programming during the rest of the day.”

A spokesperson was unable to say what future awaits the stations’ current presenters during the affected slots.

The media release also quotes the stations’ managing director, Andy Carter, as saying: “Advances in technology mean we know we can produce high quality programming which is relevant to the lives of our audience and maintain the local content that is important to them, such as news, travel and weather.

“Our recent experience with [sister brand] Smooth shows that you can grow audience by providing high quality content from a single source providing you continue to offer content that is relevant to their lives.

“The changes to Real provide new opportunities for commercial partners to reach large swathes of the population outside London through a single show.

“Real will continue to be completely local during the all-important peak breakfast and drive times.”

Real Radio owners, Real and Smooth Ltd (formerly known as GMG Radio), were purchased in June by Global Radio. But whether they can merge is still being investigated by the competition authorities.