A NEW radio station is set to provide North-East businesses with a way of reaching out to a more profitable target market.
Smooth Radio will be aimed at listeners over the age of 40 and is to be launched in the North-East in January next year by Century FM owners the Guardian Media Group (GMG).
As well as featuring songs from groups such as the Carpenters and the Rolling Stones, the commercial station says it will give local businesses the chance to advertise to wealthier listeners.
As a sign of the potential for local businesses, executives at GMG hope the new station, which will be found at 97.5FM, will become as popular as Century, which attracts more than 533,000 regular listeners.
John Myers, chief executive of GMG, said: “By definition, the over 40s are a wealthier target market and can prove more receptive to radio advertising. As such, this is a great opportunity for local firms to take advantage of a new and potentially more lucrative advertising space.”
Smooth Radio, which will be broadcast in the new year alongside Century FM at its new facilities in Team Valley, is part of wider plans by GMG to expand in the North-East, with a station dedicated to classic rock planned as well.
Century is currently in the process of relocating to its new £2m premises in Team Valley from its current home near the Gateshead Quayside, which will double the size of its studios.
Smooth Radio has already added 24 staff to GMG’s North-East operations, which now stand at 64. Mr Myers said this was likely to increase by around another 10 in the new year.
Mr Myers launched Century FM in Newcastle in 1994, which then formed part of GMG’s radio division, which he established in 1999. Century was sold in 2000 to radio group GCap but sold back to GMG in October last year to reduce GCap’s bank debts and pension deficits.