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
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