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Radio Today

Orion Media moves Mercia to Birmingham, as reported by Radio Today

Posted on Friday, July 8th, 2011 at 11:38

A number of changes have been announced to staff at Orion Media this week, including moving Mercia out of Coventry to co-locate with BRMB at Brindley Place in Birmingham and share mid-mornings.

Beacon is also on the move, leaving Tettenhall Road after 35 years in favour of a less expensive out-of-town unit.

The newsteam across the West Midlands will also be reduced, with 10 journalists now having to re-apply for one of eight positions.

Robin Banks, who hosts the network evening show across BRMB, Beacon, Wyvern and Mercia is also leaving ahead of a new show being introduced, and Mercia will network mid-mornings with BRMB.

Phil Riley, Group Chief Executive told “Orion Media, like all businesses, constantly reviews its property portfolio. On this occasion, the company has taken the opportunity afforded it by a new deal at its Brindley Place HQ to locate its Mercia commercial and production operations there – as it is permitted to do within current OFCOM guidelines.”

He added: “Mercia will of course continue to serve Coventry and Warwickshire with local output specifically made for the area throughout the majority of the day, including the highly successful JD breakfast show. News, traffic and travel and other information for Coventry and Warwickshire will continue to be broadcast exactly as now. The station will continue to have a significant presence in the area, including its long term commitment to ‘The Mercia Live Level’ at the Ricoh arena, its partnership with Coventry City FC, its support of major local events such as the Godiva festival, and its long-standing community commitments, as evidenced by the recent highly successful Walk of Warwickshire, which the station hopes to repeat next year. The station will continue to have a dedicated local sales team, working with advertisers across Coventry and Warwickshire”.

Orion owns BRMB, Mercia FM, Beacon FM, Wyvern FM, Gold stations in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton and Gem 106.


Chris Posted on 08/07/2011 at 13:56
Why move Mercia out of it’s TSA!?

Barney Rubble Posted on 08/07/2011 at 17:06
Does Phil Riley and Orion take its listeners for fools?
The day they move out of Coventry into Birmingham they are no longer local.
Just own up its a cost cutting exercise in these difficult financial times.
What Global do today the other groups follow like sheep.

The only commited local stations are Community.

Simon Posted on 08/07/2011 at 17:31
Very true Barney, so much for their promise to “bring back local radio” to this area. One of the first things they did was close the Beacon 103.1 separate service for Shropshire.
Never mind co-locating studios,Orion need to concentrate on the imaging of their stations too, especially “Beacon” The jingles are dreadful and the station logo just says “Beacon” made for Shropshire and the Black Country. No indication that it’s a radio station. Besides, Wolverhampton isn’t in the Black Country!

Andrew Whittington Posted on 08/07/2011 at 23:09
Mercia WAS Coventry and Warwickshire. How can it be when it is based in Birmingham? I presume the Coventry studio will be sold. I have fond memories of when Mercia Sound came on air and was a true local station with presenters that knew the area and knew what they were talking about back in the 80s and early 90s. Sadly the last 10 to 15 years has not seen a truly local radio service for the area and now it’s going to disappear altogether. Very sad.

Posted on 09/07/2011 at 22:48
It makes sense financially, with regards to selling the Mercia premises, I think they are leased
I believe they might own Tettenhall Road, doesn’t Global own that.

Dry_Sweeper Posted on 09/07/2011 at 22:51
Should have said if they don’t own Tettenhall Rd then Global might

Gary Hynes Posted on 10/07/2011 at 11:05
I know one can stand accused of looking back through rose tinted spectacles but, as a presenter on Mercia Sound/Mercia FM from 1982 until 1994, I can only despair at this news.

Do the powers that be honestly believe that listeners and advertisers alike will want to continue to support a so called ‘local’ station that doesn’t even have a presence in its own transmission area?

I consider myself very privileged to have worked with some truly great broadcasters and journalists during that period and we all prided ourselves on knowing our audience and being local ourselves. I fail to see how, whatever local output Mercia continues to carry in the future, pulling local stories off the internet from a newsroom in Birmingham serves anyone.

In my very humble opinion this is a cynical cost cutting excercise, pure and simple. These days I am very proud to say that I contribute two programmes a week to a local, community radio station in East Dorset called Forest FM ( Very well run, by volunteers and broadcasting some really great, high quality, wide ranging programming.

Nick Smith Posted on 12/07/2011 at 15:59
I totally agree with Gary. Here in Northampton we had Northants 96, until it got swallowed up by Global rebranded as Heart Home Counties.

The output is now from Milton Keynes (serving from the old Horizon FM station), as well as from Luton. The Bedford and Northampton stations were closed down, and the ‘local’ news ranges from Northampton, across Heartfordshire, right down to South Mimms!

I volunteer for Inspiration FM in Northampton, a small community station which we put the Unity in Community! Our vision is to provide a service to a multicultural community. It’s a great station, everyone works very hard creatively, and we help each other if we’re stuck. We also provide the latest information, and vital community reports (one example, we are promoting prostate cancer awareness this week). None of these ‘local’ stations provide this kind of service any more.

" ...Very sad" ... Dave Jamieson
" was inevitable" ...Jim Lee
"...It was never the most architecturally attractive building, but it was a great place to work and I was proud to be part of the Day One team at Mercia Sound " ...Stuart Linnell
"...the end of a 30+ year heritage" ...Paul Robinson
"...I can only despair at this news" ...Gary Hynes
"...sadly very depressing" ...Jeff Harris
"...I wonder what, if any future Coventry has then for ''proper'' local radio ?" ...Karl Stein

Mercia FM logo
(August 2011):

You may have heard we’re moving. Not far though.

Much as we’ve loved being at Hertford Place, this building is, how shall we say this kindly, maybe not the best anymore. We’ll spare you the story of the day that the studio ceiling nearly collapsed.

Some great history here though, dating back to the Mercia launch in 1980 – and we’re already sitting reminiscing. Great days.

Our sister station down the road in Birmingham has lots of spare desks and they’re building some bright, new studios for us so we’re going to move in there, given it’s only half an hour away. The important thing, though is that Mercia will continue – still proudly Made for Coventry and Warwickshire. And – that means JD will still be getting up every morning for the JD Show. And – still our newsroom will focus on this patch.

You’ve probably noticed over the last few months too that we’ve been doing loads of new activities locally: from the great Walk of Warwickshire – to the Mercia Live level at the Ricoh. Take that alongside the Cov City commentary – and you can see where our loyalties lie.

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Hertford Place Studio 1980 & 2011

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