A new company, founded by broadcasters Mark Tyler and Paul Nero, has gained control of the station, which has studios at Marsh Barton. They have bought a 51 per cent stake in Exeter FM from its former owners Sunrise Radio, a London company that operates the country’s largest Asian radio network.
“This means that local broadcasting really is back in Exeter, East and Mid Devon. Now we want to give people the opportunity to get much more involved with their station,” says Mr. Nero, Exeter FM’s new managing director and a former executive at the BBC and regional ITV station TSW, who also runs national copywriting agency Plain Text.
He and Tyler, who becomes director of news, sport and features, have extensive broadcast experience at national, regional and local level. They have already formed a successful partnership at the Sound and Vision Media PR company and media training academy. “Paul and I care passionately about local radio and it's been a long-held dream to give Exeter and the surrounding area the radio station it deserves,” says Tyler, a former BBC journalist and head of sport at ITV Westcountry where he also presented their evening news programme. “We want to reverse the pattern of local radio becoming less and less local. As other stations increasingly produce their programmes from London or Plymouth, we want to move in the opposite direction and provide a voice for this area.”
“Exeter FM’s loyal listeners can be assured that we’ll still be a music-based station playing classic hits and the best of today. But we’ll be less repetitive, less focused on the charts, and we’ll treat listeners as intelligent grown-ups. Our news, sport and features will be inspired by what matters in this area. Basically if it’s important to Exeter, East and Mid Devon, it'll be on the city's only truly local radio station.”
The move has been welcomed by Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, the former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who worked with Tyler at BBC Radio Devon before his move into politics.
He says: “I’ve always been an strong advocate of local radio, and I’m delighted that Exeter FM’s new owners are passionate about giving our community a real voice. Wherever you look there seems to be a move away from local broadcasting, so it’s refreshing to see at least one station bucking the trend. I wish them every success, because Exeter deserves a radio service that we can all be proud of.”
Popular presenters including Chris Dinnis and Nino Firetto are staying at the station. Dinnis says: “During my many years in radio I have worked for some media juggernauts with no connection or real affinity for the fantastic place we live in. Now I’m back on a station that’s owned and run by West Country people who live and breathe the region. I’m thrilled to be working in the city and excited and optimistic about the new era for Exeter FM.“
Exeter FM, which broadcasts on 107.3 FM, launched in 2008 and now has a four-weekly reach of 47,000 listeners. The deal was negotiated by Pynes Hill based legal firm Follett Stock, who have a weekly legal slot on the station every Tuesday, hosted by Chris Dinnis.
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