Talk Sport hires Beattie to help stem audience drain

Talk Radio, which this week rebranded as Talk Sport in a bid to halt declining listening figures, has appointed Beattie Media as its PR agency with fees estimated at pounds 150,000.

Talk Radio, which this week rebranded as Talk Sport in a bid to

halt declining listening figures, has appointed Beattie Media as its PR

agency with fees estimated at pounds 150,000.



Beattie replaces incumbent Shandwick after a competition that was

overseen by the station’s chief executive, Kelvin MacKenzie.



The work extends beyond Talk Sport and includes 16 regional commercial

radio stations based in Scotland, the north west around Manchester, and

Wales. The holding company, Wireless Group, is one of the largest

commercial broadcasters in the UK.



Among the group’s stations is Scot FM, Scotland’s second largest

commercial station. PR for this will be run from Beattie’s Edinburgh

office.



Under the terms of the appointment, Beattie Media will have a staff

member permanently positioned at Talk Sport to run its press office.



The post will initially be filled by Janice O’Reilly, a senior account

manager from the agency’s Glasgow office. She replaces Ruth Settle, the

station’s press officer, who left at Christmas.



According to David Rydell, who heads Beattie’s London-based consumer

practice, the brief is twofold: to carry out corporate PR for the group

and all its stations, and to boost listening figures for Talk Sport and

the 16 local stations.



MacKenzie took over Talk Radio in a pounds 24.7 million deal early last

year, since which the station’s listening figures have dropped from 2.3

million to 1.8 million. Its backers include Rupert Murdoch who holds a

20 per cent share.



Despite the company’s poor performance to date, MacKenzie has expressed

an interest in floating the group, either later this year or in early

2001. City estimates suggest it might be worth around pounds 200

million.



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