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Arthur Perkins
Arthur Perkins
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Blog Post

LBC to go National – What this means for media relations

Arthur Perkins
Arthur Perkins
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For media relations, securing broadcast PR opportunities with LBC has always been notoriously difficult, but the rewards are worth the effort.  Managing to communicate to such a large and significant audience has often been seen as the equivalent of national coverage even before this latest announcement. Certainly seeing LBC on a radio day schedule is always welcomed by our clients.

This will now only strengthen, as LBC is set to go National on DAB from 11th February.

LBC started broadcasting in London 41 years ago as the UK’s first commercial radio station.  The station has since held the crown as London’s only News and Current Affairs radio station. Once it goes live across the country on the 11th February 2014, the station will become the UK’s first national commercial news talk radio station.

The station, owned by Global Radio, initially stood for London Broadcasting Company, and in its 4 decades of broadcasting has now grown to a listenership of over a million per week.  This is set to grow even more from 11th February (Q4 2013 RAJAR Figures)

Global Radio is Britain’s biggest commercial radio company, and its latest announcement about LBC means that it is now set to go head-to-head with BBC’s Five Live as a national discussion station.

To combat the threat from Global, we may see Radio 5 Live shake up and further promote their schedules that already include award-winning broadcasters such as Nicky Campbell, Victoria Derbyshire, Shelagh Fogarty, Peter Allen and Richard Bacon.

LBC has never shied away from controversy, and its managing editor, James Rea has always encouraged challenging and lively debate with top political figures. Big names now feature on the schedule including favourite Nick Ferrari, London Mayor Boris Johnson and the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in his weekly call-in show, ‘Call Cleg’

When LBC changes it’s strapline from ‘London’s Biggest Conversation’ to ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ and enters into the DAB market, it will also strengthen Global’s catalogue in the battle for commercial radio supremacy. Currently, Bauer is the biggest competitor to Global and holds stations including Key 103 in Manchester, Kiss and Absolute Radio. Global’s other biggest brands after LBC include Heart and Capital who have already gone national.

According to yesterday’s Q4 2013 RAJAR figures, commercial radio reaches 66 per cent of adults over 15, with a total audience of 34.9 million. Global’s reach in the year to the end of the first quarter of 2013 was almost 20m and Bauer Radio recorded 14.4m. The BBC took 55 per cent of total listening with Global taking 15 per cent and Bauer Radio 11.2 per cent.

Global founder & executive president Ashley Tabor was quoted on the LBC website as saying: “LBC has been a pioneer since it began broadcasting as the first commercial radio station 40 years ago, challenging traditional formats and producing innovative shows….I’m incredibly proud to bring the winning LBC formula to listeners across the UK and for Global to lead the way in the development of UK media brands.”

LBC will be available across Britain on DAB digital radio, on 97.3FM in London, on Sky Digital across the UK on Channel 0112, Virgin Media Channel 973 ad internationally online at lbc.co.uk and through mobile apps.

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