Capital London to become national station

Steve Dinneen
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Capital London will become a national station under audacious new plans by its owner Global Radio.

Galaxy Radio and 10 other stations will be subsumed into the national brand as the firm ramps up its rivalry with the BBC.

The move will create the largest commercial radio brand in the UK, with bosses calling it the biggest shake-up in the industry in decades.

The operation will see the Capital brand shoot from 1.9m to 6.3m listeners, as the more popular Galaxy stations and others including Red Dragon, Trent and Leicester Sound fall under the same banner.

The decision follows an Ofcom ruling allowing stations to air less locally produced content. The watchdog hopes deregulation will decline falling revenues in an industry which has been ravaged by the advertising drought.

The broadcaster is struggling against mammoth losses, filing writedowns of almost £200m earlier this year. The new network is scheduled to launch as early as 2011, with Global hoping to emulate the success of its Heart brand, which has jumped to 7.8m listeners after being taken national.