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Kestrel FM to take flight as licences are sold
THE name Kestrel FM is likely to disappear as the Basingstoke radio station gets a new owner.
Tindle Radio Group is to sell the station’s two licences to Celador Radio, a media firm which runs The Breeze and Jack FM networks and has stations in Andover, Newbury, Southampton and Winchester.
The deal, which was announced on Celador’s website on Tuesday, had not been completed by the time The Gazette went to press.
However, executives from Celador met the nine employees at Kestrel FM at its office in Paddington House, Festival Place on Tuesday afternoon.
Richard Johnson, group creative director at Celador Radio, said: “We own stations from the South Coast, like in Southampton and Portsmouth, to others in Winchester, Newbury and Andover. Geographically, this is a very good fit for us, and the licences were for sale at the right price.”
He declined to reveal how much the deal was worth when asked by The Gazette.
Mr Johnson added it was too early to say whether there will be any job cuts, but he said Kestrel FM will “almost certainly” change its name to The Breeze or Jack FM. The station will continue to be based at Festival Place.
Mr Johnson said: “We think Festival Place is amazing, and there is a long-term lease. Kestrel has been a successful radio station, and Basingstoke is a good market to operate in.”
Kestrel FM launched in May 1998 and merged with Delta FM in 2010, extending its reach to towns such as Petersfield and Alton. Despite having two station licences, all programming is broadcast from Festival Place.
Speaking about the takeover, Kestrel FM station manager Sue Reynolds told The Gazette: “We are really excited about it.
“I think it’s a positive thing, and there’s going to be a local radio station still. Celador is a well-respected group.”