Town radio deal may be scrapped

IPSWICH Town supporters could soon be tuning back to BBC Radio Suffolk for full match commentary from Portman Road.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town supporters could soon be tuning back to BBC Radio Suffolk for full match commentary from Portman Road.

It is understood that the new owners of SGR Ipswich are considering pulling out of a three-year deal with the football club.

Although the Ipswich station will be rebranded as Heart Suffolk in January, they will carry on the coverage until the end of the season before reverting back to a more music-based Saturday afternoon.

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Heart FM is part of Global Radio that bought out the Gcap organisation (SGR's parent company) for £375million recently and have a commitment to providing “the best variety of music with witty banter and celebrity guests”, but their stations do not provide football coverage.

SGR took over the full match commentary for home games last summer, which also provides a service for Ipswich World, but suffered from complaints about the area it broadcast and fans not being happy with the output.

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Due to technical difficulties following Town's loss at Birmingham City SGR had to use an interview with Jim Magilton provided to them by Radio Suffolk's Brenner Woolley.

Although a contract for three years' coverage was signed, there is a get-out clause for Ipswich Town which they can activate at the end of the season.

John Chittenden, deputy head of press at Global Radio, last night confirmed nothing would change in January and said: “We will carry on broadcasting home and away for the remainder of this season.

“If anything changes it will be in agreement with Ipswich Town.”

BBC Radio Suffolk have continued full match coverage for all away games and have reported from Portman Road before the game, at half time and at the end of the match, giving goal descriptions during the game.

BBC Radio Suffolk editor Peter Cook said: “I'd be happy to reopen negotiations with Ipswich Town.”

Terry Baxter, Ipswich Town's director of communications, would not discuss potential negotiations with either radio station, saying only: “We have a three-year deal at present.”

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