The campaign to save Minster FM gathered momentum today (Thursday).
After YorkMix broke the shock news that the radio station was to be axed by Bauer Media, to make way for a Greatest Hits station, the city has been rallying round.
A petition calling for Minster FM to be saved had reached 2,900 signatures at the time of publication.
One of the signatories is York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, who today joined other city leaders in backing Minster FM.
He said: “Please sign this petition to help save Minster FM and protect high quality local reporting.
“Now, more than ever, accurate public service broadcasting is essential & local residents deserve the highest standards.”
What Bauer Media are saying
After our initial report we were contacted by a representative of Bauer Media, which owns Minster FM.
She described the move not as a closure but a “rebrand”. Confirming that many staff have been put on notice of redundancy, she said “no decisions have been made about any redundancies”.
“It could very well be the case that staff could stay on,” she said.
We asked what percentage of shows on the new Greatest Hits station would be hosted by people from in and around York. She told us no decision had been made on this.
There was no decision on retaining the Dunnington studios either.
The drive time show would be ‘regional’ she said – which will mean it will be a Yorkshire or Yorkshire-Lincolnshire based show.
In Bauer’s audience research, listeners told them that local news, traffic and travel is very important, she said.
They will keep that element “but also bring in these more nationally-known presenters which are coming from the Greatest Hits radio network”.
She was unable to say how many local journalists the new station would employ.
Revenues hit by Covid-19
Although Minster FM has been putting on listeners “it is not just about that, but revenue as well,” she said.
“And Covid-19 has massively affected that. Revenue has taken a big hit across many of these regional stations.”
Bauer is looking to how it can “secure a future for these local brands” facing competition from national brands, Spotify, Netflix and the like.
“I fully appreciate what you’re saying about the local element, and that’s obviously what Minster FM does really well,” she said.
“They cover the local events, they have local news. And that’s something that Bauer are really passionate about in terms of securing that for listeners.
“Everything that Bauer are doing is to secure a future for these local radio stations.”