This thread is a general discussion of all radio related topics. The main theme is likely to be the demise of local commercial radio and concentration of ownership, with a handful of large media companies mopping up the remaining independents. In truth there aren't many independents left and the largest of these will be targets for the larger players wishing to fill any remaining gaps in their networks.
At the moment Bauer's recent acquisitions seem to indicate an underlying plan to close down their medium wave networks and transfer the services to FM. In the Midlands, Greatest Hits Radio switched frequencies with the local FM version of Absolute Radio (which had replaced the locally based version of Kerrang). The medium wave service becoming Absolute Classic Rock in Birmingham, Wolverhampton & Shropshire but remaining as Greatest Hits Radio in Coventry (which wasn't in the Absolute Radio FM coverage area). Bauer has subsequently closed the MW transmitters in Wolverhampton & Shropshire. A pattern that seems to have been repeated in Liverpool, where Greatest Hits Radio switched frequencies with the FM based Radio City Talk. Bauer has now stated that Radio City Talk is no longer viable and plan to return the licence to Ofcom (having stripped the valuable FM frequencies to use for GHR). So, a pattern is developing. It may be an indication of what Bauer plans to do with the newly acquired FM services in areas where it already has "local" services on FM and medium wave. The medium wave GHR could be transferred to the new FM frequencies followed by a closure of the MW transmitters. There will be gaps and any remaining independents within those gaps could be bought up fairly quickly. This type of mopping up exercise is not really bringing more choice to the listener. There is also a possibility of Bauer entering into a franchising agreement with Nation (along the same lines as that existing between Global and Communicorp) and with other players, not wishing to sell up, such as the arrangements between Global and Quidem (a franchised "Capital Mid Counties" replacing the former Quidem services).
Bauer acquired the local radio stations of UKRD, The Lincs FM Group, Celador and the Wireless Group (former UTV radio stations) in a major acquisition sweep. The purchases have recently cleared an investigation by the CMA. The request to Ofcom for a change of "approved areas" is an indication that Bauer could have plans to merge the acquired stations on a regional basis and, possibly, absorb them into the existing Hits Radio & GHR networks.
Interesting times and this thread will examine this sort of development as it unfolds.