NEWS: EMAP PLC CUTS UP TO 100 STAFF FROM LOCAL RADIO OPERATIONS IN SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND by GRANT

GODDARD

www.grantgoddard.co.uk January 2007

EMAP plc is cutting between 50 and 100 staff from its radio division, including up to twenty posts from its eight Scottish stations and up to fifteen from its Northern Ireland operations, both of which it had acquired as part of Scottish Radio Holdings plc in 2005 for £391m. In Scotland, 30 staff have been told they may be made redundant and have entered a 30-day consultation period with management. It is reported that as many as ten jobs will go at both 'Radio Forth' and 'Radio Clyde', up to five at 'Westsound', with the remaining Scottish stations expected to lose two or three between them. Cathy Kirk, Radio Forth station director, said: "In an increasingly competitive marketplace, EMAP needs to be in the best possible shape to safeguard audiences and revenue streams which will position ourselves for future growth." Paul Cooney, managing director for EMAP in central Scotland, said almost the same: "Our stations need to be in the best possible shape to safeguard audiences and revenue streams." A ‘company official’ was reported in The Scotsman to have said: "There won't be wholesale change – we'll just be doing some things differently. We provide local radio stations with the content local audiences want. But there are instances, like the live Robbie Williams concert we broadcast last year, which provided something a 'stand-alone' radio station could not." But Paul Holleran, Scottish organiser for the National Union of Journalists, responded: "It's always a major concern when you have a takeover by a company based outside Scotland who do their sums, come up with new budgets and get rid of jobs." And Scottish MP Stewart Maxwell, media spokesman for the Scottish National Party, said: "Clearly all the guarantees EMAP gave about jobs have turned out not to be worth the paper they were written on. There is now the massive problem in that we could get basic radio reporting instead of diverse, well thought out independent analysis. This is especially vital during an election." One senior source told the local press: "Programming will be next, along with commercial production and, if that happens, that could mean another 50 jobs in Scotland." Westsound Radio managing director Sheila Borthwick is reported to have been suspended, after having resisted the cutbacks. EMAP’s radio division presently employs 230 staff in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, following the announcement of cutbacks to staff last Friday, EMAP’s local managing director Gary Robinson said: "As the broadcasting landscape has changed substantially in Northern Ireland in the past few years, we will be undertaking some changes to ensure the future success of the station. The likely result is some localised changes and, unfortunately, this means that a number of roles are at risk of redundancy. The potentially affected people will now go through a period of consultation."
News: EMAP plc Cuts Up To 100 Staff From Local Radio Operations In Scotland And Northern Ireland ©2007 Grant Goddard page 2

One insider told the local press: "Needless to say, people in here are completely in shock. Of the 35 full-time staff, 15 will lose their jobs. Some of those will be in the news department and the rest will be in other areas. This is not good." In England, the main target appears to be EMAP’s 'Big City' network where some compulsory redundancies may have to be made. An EMAP spokeswoman said: "The notices affect different roles at different stations and cover a variety of departments." She added that local newsrooms would not be closed and that journalists would be retained at each station.

[First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'EMAP Staff Cuts', #773, 31 January 2007]

Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk

News: EMAP plc Cuts Up To 100 Staff From Local Radio Operations In Scotland And Northern Ireland ©2007 Grant Goddard

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