Ipswich radio station Town 102 to be broadcast from Norwich

The Town 102 offices at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich. Station owner Celador is relocating programmi

The Town 102 offices at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich. Station owner Celador is relocating programming staff to Norwich, although news and sales staff will continue to be based iin Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Five local radio stations in East Anglia, including Ipswich-based Town 102, are to share programming under plans by new owner Celador to improve profitability.

Celador took on the five stations – also including Dream 100, The Beach, Radio Norwich and North Norfolk Radio – in January this year when it acquired Anglian Broadcasting Company (Holdings) Ltd.

The stations had already begun to share some output but Celador has now been given permission by broadcasting regulator Ofcom to merge the current programming departments in Suffolk and Norfolk into a single operation, to be based in Norwich.

Around 10 staff across the two current programming departments are currently the subject of a consultation, with the merger likely to result in a net reduction of three jobs.

News and sales jobs are not affected, although those based at the Suffolk site, at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, are expected to relocate to smaller premises in the area in due course.

A source within Celador said Ofcom recognised that radio stations with relatively small potential audiences could not necessarily continue to operate on a stand-alone basis.

Although the stations in East Anglia were performing well in terms of their share of the available audience, the pressure on advertising revenues being felt throughout the media sector made it difficult to operative profitably.

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As a result, it was planned to bring the programming operation together at a single site, although news and sales staff would continue to be based locally.

“A Phil Collins song sounds the same, wherever it is played,” he added. “However, news is a different matter.”

Anglian Broadcasting Company (Holdings) was created in 2013 through a management buyout from the Tindle Radio Group.

Town 102 covers Ipswich, Felixstowe, Stowmarket and the surrounding areas while Dream 100, currently produced from the same site, is targeted at Colchester and north-east Essex.

Alongside Radio Norwich, covering the city and the surrounding area, The Beach, covering Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Southwold, and North Norfolk Radio, covering towns including Cromer and Fakenham, are produced from the Norwich site.