Connect FM given Ofcom go-ahead to merge with Smooth

Ofcom has approved the request from Communicorp UK’s Connect FM to share all programmes with Smooth Radio East Midlands.

The Connect FM licences – one for Peterborough and one for Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough – fell in the regulator’s East region, while Smooth East Midlands is in the Central region. That meant the stations had to seek permission to create a new ‘approved area’ to enable them to share programmes 24/7.

Communicorp tells RadioToday the transition will happen on October 1st 2019.

Ofcom ran a consultation earlier this year, to which it received no responses. Communicorp UK had made the request following its purchase of Connect FM – as well as Heart Hertfordshire – from Adventure Radio back in February.

Publishing the decision, Ofcom said: “We have approved Format change requests for the Connect FM services in Peterborough and Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough which will allow them to provide their locally-made programming from anywhere within this new approved area, and to share this programming with each other and also with the East Midlands service. The two Connect FM services will be rebranded as ‘Smooth Radio’ as a result.”

The changes mean that Smooth moves from AM to FM in Peterborough and Northamptonshire, with Global recently getting permission to put Gold back on 1332 and 1557 AM.

Smooth East Midlands is owned by Communicorp and has regional weekday breakfast show presented by Gareth Evans. All other programmes are provided by Global from Leicester Square.