Magic AM has axed its 1170 breakfast show for Teesside a month after radio regulator Ofcom stated local programming and news were “unimportant” to the brand’s output. Magic currently broadcast eight stations under the Magic AM name.
The change sees sister station Magic 1152 in Newcastle expand its morning show to the south of the region, fronted by former Metro Radio personality Anna Foster while Teesside host Alan Ross takes early retirement. He joined the Magic station, when it was still entirely regional, in 1999.
Bauer Media, who operate the service, said in a statement, “We believe these changes will not substantially alter the character of the service as Magic is a soft pop station and listener’s choice is driven by its music; the changes will not alter this.”
However it leaves listeners who want local information either listening to the BBC, who play no music during breakfast, or the chart music offering stations in the region which may not appeal to the older listener which Magic aims towards.
It is further cutting back on local content which has seen the eight stations over the years lose all local programming from 10am onwards until 6am the following day. Last April weekend breakfast programming was axed, apart from in Yorkshire, and this further relaxation by Ofcom has stated no regional programming is required at all – which could see breakfast eventually networked. The ruling also sees regional news from Magic no longer a requirement, although national and international news has to remain.
Magic 1152 and Magic 1170 were launched in 1997 as two separate stations on the former Great North Radio frequencies, which had broadcast a regionwide service across both the north and south of the North East region. GNR launched in 1988 on the former medium wave slot for Metro FM.
The axed Alan Ross breakfast programme was described as ‘a show exclusively for County Durham, Teesside, and North Yorkshire – for Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool, Richmond, Middlesbrough, Crook, Northallerton & Bishop Auckland – and designed for everyone who lives and works in the Magic 1170 area – just like we do.’
Features included The Song in the Shower, where listeners chose a singalong song, a quiz around celebrity birthdays and a text trivia game, a daily racing tip and local slots such as a what’s on guide, local traffic and weather.
Magic’s success is according to Bauer Media thanks to the fact “The audience come to the station for its huge variety of music and the local characters who pull the shows together.”
Unsurprisingly Magic 1170 will continue to provide localised adverts to Teesside, which Ofcom haven’t found ‘irrelevant’ to the output. The 1152-1170 Anna Foster breakfast show begins tomorrow (Monday, March 4th).
[Reported by Mike Wakins]