Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Sunrise saga

Earlier this week most of the Sunrise Radio Group was put into administration. On Monday 20th January 2014 Grant Thornton UK was been appointed administrators of Sunrise Radio Limited, Kismat Radio Limited, Time FM 107.5 Limited, Tristar Broadcasting Limited and London Media Company Limited.

Sunrise Radio Limited operates Sunrise Radio 1, Kismat Radio Limited runs the station recently renamed Sunrise Radio 3, Time FM 107.5 Limited owns and operates Time FM in East London and West Essex, Tristar Broadcasting Limited is the owner of Time 106.6 broadcasting to Slough, Maidenhead and Windsor.

In May 2013 Sunrise Radio appealed on-air for donations to keep the station afloat. See my post of 29 May 2103:

Time 106.6 won its licence back last year after Ofcom re-advertised it. Awarding the licence to Time rather than a station based around Slough’s existing Asian community station, Ofcom said “The ability of Litt Corporation to provide Time with funding as and when necessary, which it has consistently done in the past, also provided reassurance of the applicant’s ability to maintain the service.”

Then, in August, it emerged that Sunrise Radio Group owed HMRC a tax bill of £400,000. Sunrise Radio went off digital radio in Scotland on digital radio due to spiralling costs as did Punjabi Radio in London and Kismat Radio in Bradford.

Nobody in the radio business should be happy to see any other station fail. These situations serve only to damage the image and reputation of our whole industry with advertisers, investors and listener. We can only hope that the administrators can find good new owners for these services who will be acceptable to Ofcom. The alternative is that the stations go off the air and Ofcom would have to be persuaded to re-advertise the licences, something it does not generally seem keen to do.

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