MEDIA: Saga FM radio network to target over-50s audience

Saga, the company that made its name organising holiday tours for

older travellers, has launched an FM radio station.

The Birmingham-based operation - Saga 105.7FM - is aimed at the 3.4

million adults aged 50 and above in the West Midlands, but Saga sees

this as the first of a string of FM licences nationwide.

Managing director Peter Tomlinson said: 'The group are in it for the

long haul. There is no reason why the West Midlands audience is

different. That market must exist elsewhere in the UK.'

The launch gives PROs an opportunity to approach a section of the

audience which sees itself sidelined through moves elsewhere in the news

media to attract younger audiences.

Colin Palmer has been appointed news editor of the mixed speech and

music station, reporting to programme director Brian Savin. Palmer leads

a team of eight journalists.

There will be hourly, five-minute news bulletins at peak times, as well

as extended features.

'Our two daytime producers are always looking for material to put into

the daytime shows. They are very interested in editorial of relevance to

our audience,' Tomlinson said.

Daytime production is shared by Chris Rollinson and Maggi Kay.

Independent Radio News feeds will also be used.

The morning programme will cover consumer affairs, legal and family

issues while the afternoon show will contain arts, leisure, finance and

business news, Tomlinson said.

The early evening show is billed as providing analysis of local,

national and international news. He added: 'Saga will invest more and

more in radio.

It offers a whole new approach (to the over-50s audience) that others

don't seem to be taking.'

Saga is also developing the website, 'We will be

building that up. Health, travel and insurance, and money are three of

the biggest areas for content,' Tomlinson said.

Saga's breakfast show will be presented by David 'Diddy' Hamilton, who

began his career in 1967 with BBC Radio 1. Saga launched an internet and

digital satellite music radio station, PrimeTime, in 2000.

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