How can a local radio station survive and stay truly local? This in the light of the news that Juice FM owner UTV Media has sold the station to Capital owner Global Radio for £10m.

The deal follows UTV’s decision to sell off its portfolio of local stations. What will happen to 107.6? It’s more than likely that it’ll become another Capital FM station, like Capital Wirral, with nation-wide programming for some of the day. And that’s a real shame if it happens.

Unknown-2We frowned when Juice FM replaced Crash FM – Janice Long’s brilliant, bonkers and totally on-the-money celebration of alternative and new music from here and far. It lasted all of six months – and we were gutted to see it go.

But fair play to Juice – they’ve carved out a healthy listenership, enjoyed great engagement in the city, and could genuinely claim a roster of really rather excellent talent: listening to Leanne Campbell’s rise from morning traffic and travel girl to full-throttle, confident, born-to-do-it breakfast jock has been nothing short of joyous. And who doesn’t love a bit of Anton Powers?

The Capital network has 7 million listeners around the UK, and is the main rival to Heart network with a total of nearly 9 million.

UTV said in a statement: “The strategic review of UTV’s remaining UK independent local radio stations is on-going and further announcements will be made in due course, as appropriate.”

Yes, Juice FM was criticised for not playing enough ‘Liverpool’ music, but that was never its remit. And, frankly, when they tried it, the audience didn’t follow. But, at the very least, they played what their Liverpool audience wanted to hear.

Whatever, it’s a sad day for real, made-in-Liverpool radio. Welcome the playlisted-in-London armageddon. Ed Sheeran, the world is yours for the taking.

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