Not for the first time, Brunel FM finds itself orphaned. With the news that its latest parent company has gone into administration, the station stumbles on, as does the speech of some of its presenters. Its last owners have done the job of improving the station’s output, despite some of their sillier attempts at self-publicising — though to be honest it would have been difficult to be worse than it was. No doubt if the parent company hadn’t been so short of money and forced to spread its few good presenters around its stations, things might have been better still and the other presenters more eloquent.
What, of course, the station’s owners past or present can’t do is change the fact that there’s a limit to how much radio advertising one town can sustain. The regulator ofcom sets rules that allow holders of local radio licences to — after the first few years — ditch virtually all their local commitments and effectively become the local branch of a national station. They then let another licence, in an attempt to reintroduce some local element to the broadcasting, for the first few years of the licence…. And so the cycle continues.
Four ‘local’ stations — even if two of them aren’t dependent on advertising — seems to be more than Swindon can sustain.