Planet Rock bought for £1.3m
Struggling digital radio channel Planet Rock has been bought by Bauer Media for around £1.3m – but the move could put Kerrang Radio’s future in doubt because the German firm now owns both.
Planet Rock – which features on-air hosts Alice Cooper, Joe Elliott and Joe Bonamassa, amongst others – had been on the market for some time as former owner Malcolm Bluemel tried to stem losses of approximately £300,000 a year. Much of the cost came from broadcasting charges of around £1m per annum.
Bluemel says: “Planet Rock is going to a great home. Bauer is a business that really cares about building brands and music radio in particular. The station is in safe hands with the new owners and I’m looking forward to following its success.”
Bauer UK chief exec Paul Keenan comments: “Radio is in growth in the UK and Planet Rock, through its passion for great music, offers listeners and commercial partners an engaging and relevant experience. We are looking forward to the station becoming part of our global media company where we can offer significant resources across multiple brands and platforms to take it to even greater heights.”
The channel has around 877,000 regular listeners, fewer than Kerrang’s 1.3m – but Bauer appear to be committed to digital national radio, meaning Kerrang’s FM regional base may be worth less to the firm.
The Guardian reports: “One school of thought says Bauer will dump Kerrang, currently broadcasting on FM in the West Midlands and on various digital platforms nationwide, and put all its eggs in the Planet Rock basket.
“As Planet Rock broadcasts nationwide on Digital One, it would no longer have to provide any local programmes for the West Midlands and could do the whole thing out of London. ‘It makes no sense at all to keep the two autonomous,’ says one industry source. That might seem harsh on Kerrang, which has more listeners than Planet Rock, and arguably a higher profile brand to boot.
“So keep both, says the other school of thought. Bauer already has distinct digital services, for example Smash Hits and The Hits, aimed at poptastic youngsters, so why not do the same with rock?”
Bluemel – who’s previously stated he put £3m of his own money into Planet Rock – last year launched an angry rant against listeners who criticised his attempts to sell premium content in order to balance the books. He later reported the strategy had been a success.
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