In a sign of crisis for digital radio, UK commercial radio leader GCap will, as expected, sell its 67 percent stake in the DigitalOne DAB multiplex as part of cost-cutting measures designed to fend off an earlier bid from Global Radio. Recently-departed CEO Ralph Bernard had already protested digital radio costs were too high because Ofcom declined the opportunity to name an analogue radio cut-off date as it did for TV. This morning, nearly two months in to the job, Fru Hazlitt has told the market her “radical but realistic” strategy will cut £8.8 million costs and create £12.3 million profit.
Hazlitt’s statement (full version): “GCap Media will become a leaner and more dynamic company focused on maximising the revenue and profit potential of five key brands on FM and broadband, the platforms that we believe consumers want and which offer the greatest growth opportunities.
“We believe that broadband is the ideal complementary platform to analogue radio given the interactivity that they both provide, creating social networks and communities on-air and online.” She said online operations would break even this financial year and plans to build “communities of interest” around stations. GCap will roll out an enhanced version of Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) Visual Radio later this year and Hazlitt talked up a “great working relationship with Apple” that had led to live streamed radio to the iPod touch.
– GCap will close “non-core” DAB stations theJazz and Planet Rock by March 28.
– It will dispose of its regional analogue licences for Xfm in Scotland, Mancester and south Wales, which only launched in November after a long-running regional rollout strategy, also by March 28 to concentrate “on Xfm