Shock as Minster FM to close – to be replaced by a national Greatest Hits station

Photograph: Minster FM
27 May 2020 @ 11.48 am
| Business

York radio station Minster FM is to close, it was revealed today (Wednesday).

The station will be absorbed into the Hits Radio Brand Network, its owners Bauer Media announced.

Many of the staff at the Dunnington-based company have been put on redundancy notice today – including most of the presenters.

Global conglomerate Bauer bought the UKRD Group, which owned ten local commercial radio stations, including Minster FM, Stray FM and Yorkshire Coast Radio, last March.

It comes after Minster FM posted a series of record listenership figures.

Presenters to go

Minster FM’s Ben Fry talks to Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central at a roadshow

According to Bauer it is creating the largest commercial radio network in the UK via the Hits Radio brand.

It means Minster FM will be among 48 local radio stations to become part of Greatest Hits Radio.

Bauer Radio MD Dee Ford said today: “Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world.

“This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”

YorkMix understands that means no more local Breakfast Show with Ben Fry and Laura Castle, and almost all the other presenters going – with a Yorkshire/Lincolnshire-wide drive time show.

It would also bring to an end the community commitment to York by the radio station which has championed many local causes.

Ben, who is also York Town Crier, was named Tourism Champion at the last Visit York awards – hosted by Minster FM.

Staff uncertainty

Ben Fry and Laura Castle from Minster FM host the Visit York awards 2020. Photograph: David Dunning

Bauer said in a statement: “These changes do unfortunately mean that some roles will be put into consultation and freelance contracts reviewed.

“Bauer Media is fully committed to supporting all affected employees throughout this period and will be working closely with them over the months ahead. A period of consultation with employees potentially affected will commence today.”

The change looks set to happen in September.

Minster FM has been broadcasting to York and North Yorkshire for 28 years. It launched on 4 July 1992.

As the news emerged, it was met with dismay. One of the first to respond was Phil Pinder, shop owner and chair of York Retail Forum.

He said: “It’s such a shame that the media giant Bauer were ever allowed to swallow up Minster FM, a radio station that has been at the heart of the York community for so long.

“It is clear now that my worse fears look set to happen, with centralised broadcasts and Bauer just seeing York & North Yorkshire business as a source of money to keep the giant growing, at the expense of locally created content and news.”

30 thoughts on “Shock as Minster FM to close – to be replaced by a national Greatest Hits station

  1. I can’t believe it’s true, absolutely gutted :(. I’ve listened to Minster FM for years.They are great for local information and insight into the local community as well as supporting local businesses and charities . I won’t be listening to any new station that’s for sure. Good luck and fortune to the presenters who don’t deserve this treatment.

  2. Bad news for local journalism. We have had this with Real Radio when it merged into Heart and its local programming dwindled to 2 and then 1. Not sure there is any local output from its Tingley offices. It is not just that, it is also jobs as well.

  3. Can we start a petition to save them? We already have so many national stations, we need local stations like Minster FM who are so much more than just a radio station.

  4. Is it not time Yorkmix to campaign for a local radio station that will pick up the baton? Rehire the Minster FM staff, apply for grants and local advertising? And shouldn’t the council get behind such a campaign?

  5. It is truly disgusting that Bauer are allowed to swallow all the local stations up.Not everyone wants to listen to non local presenters.I enjoy their shows.Feel sorry for all the staff and presenters.Its a pity all the staff and listeners can’t get together to setup another station.No local stations anymore quite sad.

  6. NikkiW. Don’t blame the Tories aim your remarks at Ofcom as they control licensing of uk radio and tv stations. Local radio and tv will have gone out the window in the next couple of years. 😒

  7. This can not happen Minster fm is just the best and is amazing and keeps me entertained most days with the music jokes and everything else along the way throughout the day save Minster fm

  8. Listening to minster FM for more years than I can think of. The way they have supported local charities and events. As from today my radio will be turned to some other station as I will not listen to crap from a large media group in like these good luck guys someone please set up in compatition let’s have the old style station back

  9. As always, you have the Tories to thank for deregulating local radio and the commitment when commercial radio was set up in the mid 70s that it should very much be centred on local content. Deregulation permitted three massive conglomerates to buy up local radio stations and impose upon it one of about 4 different national and even international digital formats that do away with any human beings and does away with truly local content.

  10. So sorry to hear this to all the staff especially Ben and Laura who have helped keep our spirits up in the last 10 weeks. You will be missed

  11. Terrible news. My wife and I have Minster FM on most of the day and love all the presenters. A sad day for York and we wish all the staff better times ahead

  12. What a same, it will be sadly missed, it has been on every day for the last 10 weeks from 8.30 until 5pm every day.

  13. This is very sad news my radio will never be turned on again minster fM is the best of all radio stations

  14. I am saddened by this news, Minster FM has provided a great local service to the people of York and surrounding areas as well as very enjoyable shows and competitions! 😪😪

  15. This is a disgrace and shouldn’t be allowed. I love Minster FM, it truly is a local community radio station. Good luck to all the staff, hope you all find new work and thank you for entertaining us over the past 28 years.

  16. Great, so now we are stuck with Crapital and heart and those two boring community stations one playing indie music all day and the other playing cheesy cr@p. Save Minster FM!

  17. Truly awful – Quality local journalism is becoming harder and harder to find, a true subversion of democracy.

    What interests are served by this move? Certainly not the local people of York or the listeners of Minster FM.

  18. So disappointed to read this as Minster Fm will have brought so much pleasure to so many people all over the County. And to thank you all for the support you have given our own businesses and events over the years . Wishing the staff all the Best.

    1. This is terrible. Minster FM has always made me smile and is so so local I don’t know how it could ever be replaced by a national radio chain. I really hope they reconsider!

    1. It was absolutely awful though. Insipid, chaotic, self absorbed, pretentious and repetitive. It was unfocused and tedious to listen to. Good riddance.

  19. So shocked and saddened by reading this
    Love the station listened to it since it started gutted for all involved

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