As part of a major strategy to grow the listenership of Birmingham’s oldest commercial radio station, brmb will be changing its name to Free Radio – Birmingham in April.
The announcement was made on Monday 9th January by Orion Media which acquired the station in 2009. The change of name will not impact on the output of the station with all peak time programming on 96.4FM continuing in its current format. The on air presenter line up including the popular breakfast show hosts Foxy and Guiliano and drivetime presenters Jo and Sparky will remain unchanged.
Orion’s strong commitment to provide listeners with local news, sport, traffic and weather information from its studios in Birmingham will also be unaffected. The station will have a continued commitment in 2012 to original and locally based journalism to ensure it continues to provide a locally focused news service on air covering the news events that are relevant to its audiences.
There are no net job losses as a result of the decision.
Since acquiring brmb, Orion Media has invested in programming, presenters and other on air initiatives and as a result has maintained audience levels in the face of significantly increased competition, whilst increasing local advertising revenue.
In the past two years the station’s annual walk for charity in which thousands of listeners have strolled miles around the city has raised £650,000 for both the QE and BCH hospitals, with this commitment to the local community set to continue
When brmb becomes Free Radio – Birmingham in April, a major marketing campaign will be launched to support the station under its new brand. Orion Media’s other stations serving the Black Country and Shropshire, Coventry and Warwickshire and Hereford and Worcestershire – Beacon, Mercia and Wyvern – will also adopt the Free Radio brand and the respective geographic locator with their own breakfast and afternoon drive time shows as well as their own local daytime news.
Phil Riley, Chief Executive of Orion Media commented: “The decision to change the name of our station after almost forty years has not been easy or one that we have taken lightly.
“We have given this a great deal of consideration and undertaken detailed research. The name brmb means a lot to me personally, not least as I started my 30 year career in radio by joining the station as a graduate trainee so I know the deep affection many people have for the name. However, the radio market has changed dramatically recently and we have to adapt and respond.
“We want to continue to develop high quality and locally focused programming for current and new listeners. Although the name is changing, the commitment we have to provide the best mix of music and presenters along with local news, sport, weather and traffic remains our number one priority. Even when we are in network mode on Free Radio, we will be broadcasting from and ensuring the station serves only the needs of the West Midlands.
“Free Radio – Birmingham will continue to be an integral part of Birmingham, not only providing great entertainment on air but also as a supporter of the communities we serve, whether it’s fundraising for local causes or as host of major events around the city.”