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Clyde and Real Radio face challenge from rebranded dance music station

Fame Academy "headmaster" Richard Park is bringing an English radio station north of the border to challenge commercial stations like Radio Clyde and Real Radio for listeners and advertisers.

Fame Academy "headmaster" Richard Park is bringing an English radio station north of the border to challenge commercial stations like Radio Clyde and Real Radio for listeners and advertisers.

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Global Radio is to rebrand its Xfm Scotland as it expands the Galaxy FM name north of the border.

Galaxy Scotland will take over later this year and transform the station from a guitar-dominated indie rock station into one that focuses on dance music.

The move will see Mr Park, Global's executive director, going head to head in the west of Scotland with his old station Radio Clyde, where he was a DJ for many years.

Galaxy Scotland will continue to use some local DJs, but listeners will also hear new voices from their shows in the north of England. Xfm's homegrown presenters include Heather Suttie, former Scotsport host Julyan Sinclair and comedian Des Clarke.

It comes after fears were expressed that independent radio stations are losing their local identity to networked content. Smooth Radio, owned by GMG Radio, which took over Glasgow-based Saga Radio, earlier this year sacked six Scottish DJs and replaced them on air with networked shows by UK household names, including Tony Blackburn.

Real Radio, also owned by GMG Radio, has begun using networked shows with big names like Chris Tarrant in a bid to woo advertisers. Scottish presenter Shereen Tulloch was also axed to make way for a networked show by an English presenter, Jo Lloyd.

Mr Park said the mix of local and network has been successful and will be the model for the new station, which will target 15 to 34-year-olds.

In the latest Rajar listening results, the Galaxy UK network increased its listening hours by 9.3% to a total of 18 million every week.

The figures followed a relaunch of the brand in April this year, featuring a new corporate identity.

Galaxy includes stations in Manchester, Yorkshire, the north-east of England and Birmingham.

Mr Park added: "Central Scotland can prepare itself to receive Britain's fastest-growing radio station aimed at young people."

Industry regulator Ofcom's guidelines allow commercial stations to broadcast networked programming for three hours a day during the week. Local FM stations should also broadcast at least 10 hours of locally-made programmes each weekday during the day and at least four hours at weekends.

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