When is local radio not local?

If you have tuned into Northsound 2, today (or Northsound 1 after 7 pm), you may have wondered what happened to the familiar voices and why the DJs are talking about Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow as much as they are about Aberdeen.

The reason is that only a limited number of weekday programmes on Northsound 2 are coming from the Aberdeen studios. Following the breakfast show, Aberdeen is switched to a networked programme which covers the AM frequencies of Northsound 2, plus Radios Tay, Forth and Clyde.


The baton comes back to Aberdeen for the late show at 10 pm, when it is Aberdeen’s turn to host the pan-Scottish network output.

While Northsound 1 retains its local programming for most of the day, it, too, switches to network output in the evenings from 7 pm.

It appears the moves are part of a cost-cutting exercise by the stations’ German owner Bauer. Local news will be retained on the networked programmes, until the evening when the stations switch over to a news service from Sky in London.

In these days when most local radio output is music and chat, it may seem unimportant where a programme is broadcast from. It may even seem unimportant where the news originates.

But, surely the appeal of local radio is just that. It is local. We lost our local TV station when Grampian TV was swallowed up by STV, so naturally we may still be sensitive to losing our distinctive local media.

It will be interesting to see how Northsound 2’s listening figures compare with the major Aberdeen local station Original FM as a result of this switch.
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