Around the Manchester media maze

As the ‘capital’ of the North-West, Manchester plays host to the region’s varied media community, which includes respected business publications as well as popular local newspapers. Hannah Marriott reports

The BBC's plan to move five departments from London to Manchester in 2010 has thrust the region's media into the national spotlight. But a diverse journalistic community has long served Greater Manchester's 2.5 million residents.

The main TV news outlets are the BBC's North West Tonight, reaching more than 700,000 viewers a day, and Granada Reports, watched by an average of 600,000 people.

Meanwhile, Channel m, a free-to-air community channel run by the Guardian Media Group, is broadcast to 121,000 people daily. Freelance PRO Roz Hughes says: 'In such a large area, community channels are useful to target messages.' In community radio, Radio Regen pledges to reach out to disadvantaged residents in the North-West – including those in rural areas who do not receive newspapers – through stations such as ALL FM and Wythenshawe FM.

The big commercial stations comprise Emap's Key 103, the clubbier Galaxy FM and Capital's middle-of-the-road Century 105.4, which targets women in their 30s. Elsewhere, BBC GMR offers a mixture of talk and news, while Smooth FM plays jazz. And radio is soon to diversify, with London's Xfm recently being awarded a licence to broadcast in the region.

The popular press
The Manchester Evening News (MEN) is one of the most widely read regional dailies, with a circulation of 144, 201.

It is distributed not only in Greater Manchester, but also in Bolton, Warrington and Crewe.

Communique director Justine Stevenson, who is based in Manchester, says: 'It is crucial to know which days carry which supplements, such as the media and entertainment sections on Fridays or the professional news on Tuesdays.'

The paper has four editions, with the last – MEN Lite – picked up by around 11,000 commuters after 4.30pm. Every week some 309,462 copies of MEN offshoot Manchester Metro News are posted free to houses in the affluent and rural areas south of Manchester.

And there are plenty of local newspapers in the North-West, such as the Bolton Evening News, the South Manchester Reporter and The Rochdale Observer. Mere Communications MD Tony Tighe says: 'The area is so diverse; the joy of having so many local papers is that they allow us to target different communities.'

Business magazines are well respected, too, particularly North West Business Insider. Tighe says: 'Fifteen-thousand people pay to receive it, all the chief execs and professionals in the area.' EN Magazine, for entrepreneurs, has a circulation of 12,000.

With many affluent areas in the North-West, glossy lifestyle magazines, such as Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life, flourish. Other regional glossies include property title Moving Manchester and listings weekly City Life.  There is even a Mancunian title akin to Hello!, called The Magazine. At the other end of the social spectrum, The Big Issue in the North has a healthy circulation of 32,000.

With 36,000 students at the University of Manchester alone, student
media cannot be ignored, and weekly Student Direct and Fuse FM cater for Britain's biggest student population.

Do your research
Manchester's media scene is served by members' clubs and regular events. Brazen PR director Emma Beck says: 'These places are full of familiar faces, and everyone's friendly, so we all know each other  well.'

PROs who do not live in Manchester are therefore at a disadvantage. So what can they do? According to Tighe, research is the answer: 'You really need to know the media here – who they target, what their sections are. Coming here yourself is the only way.'
Beck counsels: 'Pop in and see journalists – they value not being treated as "just another region". And don't treat them as if they're working on little homemade publications just because they're not in London.'

Stevenson adds: 'Don't offer lesser-quality news just because it's regional.'

Media contacts


Manchester Evening News

EN Magazine
Editor: Mike Fahey 0161 236 2782

North West Business Insider
Editor: Michael Taylor 0161 907 9709

City Life;
Moving Manchester
Editorial director: Vikki Harris
0870 757 1998

Student Direct


Granada Reports;

North West Tonight;

Channel m;

Smooth FM;

Key 103
News editor: John Pickford 0161 288 5070

Century 105.4; News editor:
Matthew Bowen 0161 400 0105 

Galaxy; PA: michelle.mustard@

Wythenshawe FM

ALL FM; News editor: Danielle Porter 0161 248 6888


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