It’s normally subjects such as congestion charges that get Mancunians’ temperatures rising. But a recent development in Manchester radioland has proven to be just as controversial. Here’s what Karolyn Judge wrote in Metro a couple of weeks back:
For the past two years, Oldham-based radio station, 96.2 The Revolution, has had an alternative music policy. Listeners could expect music from bands such as Fleet Foxes and Herman Dune, shows dedicated to genres including Northern Soul, rock and old-school house, and locally based presenters such as The Smiths’ ex-drummer Mike Joyce.
In the past week, however, Wham!, Justin Timberlake and Elton John have popped up on the playlist. The change may be due to a decline in listening figures and rumours are circulating that the station has new part owners. And we’re not the only one’s wondering what’s going on. A spokesperson from The Revolution admitted to Metro: ‘We don’t know what’s happening.’ This doesn’t bode well, does it?
Turns out that local TV and radio presenter Steve Penk bought the Rev out and has subsequently completely reprogrammed its schedule – including a weekday breakfast show hosted by him (so expect plenty more where this came from), and a Sunday show featuring, er, Pat Sharp.
The music policy has changed completely too, from interesting, radio-friendly indie (the kind of stuff many hoped XFM Manchester would bring) to pointless drivel. Penk, whose name is dropped practically between every track, cites listening figures plummeting from 80,000 to 17,000 as the reason for the change – but thousands of listeners now feel alienated.
To bring the story fully up to date, How-Do.co.uk reports that several of the Rev’s former presenters – including familiar names from the local music scene such as Mike Joyce, Mani and Martin Coogan – have formed a breakaway group, codenamed Radio Republic. They’re currently looking for investors to help get their phoenix out of the flames.
UPDATE: As pointed out in a comment, Radio Republic now has its own website, http://www.revradio.co.uk, with a test broadcast. It’s hosted by Manchester Radio Online.