Brighton and Hove radio station merges with rival

Posted On 23 Jun 2010 at 8:34 am

A Brighton and Hove radio station is being merged with a sister broadcaster in Crawley.

The owner has told staff that there is a “risk of redundancies”.

Heart Sussex – formerly Southern FM – will combine with Mercury FM, the Crawley-based station, as part of a consolidation by Global Radio.

The company, which has rebranded a number of stations with the Heart name, is creating 15 stations across the country from the 33 that it owns.

As a result Mercury, which has about 20 full-time and freelance staff, will be taken off the air after 25 years.

It will be absorbed by Heart Sussex which will extend its core area from Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings up to Crawley too.

Staff were told yesterday.

Heart Sussex used to be called Southern FM and, before that, Southern Sound. The independent station, founded in the 1980s, is fondly known as Radio Portslade by some because of the location of its studios.

The merger has been made possible by the Digital Economy Act, which was passed by Parliament in April, just before the election.

The Act changed the rules about where local radio stations can be based and how much “local” programming they must produce.

Heart’s stations make some programmes locally and take some from a national feed.

Heart Sussex broadcasts about eight hours of local shows a day.

Global Radio said: “Local programming, such as breakfast and drive time shows, will remain and local news will be extended to on the hour throughout the day.”

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