Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Winding-up order for Quaywest parent could see radio station close

THE company behind West Somerset commercial radio station Quaywest 102.4 FM could be wound up in the High Court next week.
Parent company Laser Broadcasting Group has been suffering financial difficulties, despite operations director Stuart Linnell issuing a strong denial to The Post just five months ago.
As well as Watchet-based Quaywest, Laser runs nine stations nationwide, including a sister Quaywest station in Bridgwater.
Laser faces winding up proceedings after an application by a creditor, understood to be Capital North East No 1 Ltd Partnership, a venture capitalist firm based in Gateshead.
Quaywest continues broadcasting from its Watchet and Bridgwater studios, but may have to close unless an offer is made to take over the licences.
A spokesman for NEL Fundmanagers Ltd said: “As fund managers of the Capital North East investment fund, from which an investment was made in Laser Broadcasting in 2004, we have been working with Laser for many months in an attempt to find a way forward which would allow the company to trade within the terms of our investment agreement.
“However, these efforts have failed to result in a satisfactory outcome and we have therefore reluctantly had to seek a winding-up order against Laser Broadcasting, which will be heard in Leeds on October 14.”
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom said the petition to wind up Laser Broadcasting would be heard by a High Court judge sitting in Leeds on Tuesday, October 14.
A spokesman for Ofcom said: “We are monitoring developments closely.
“The company is keeping us fully informed, and is seeking to ensure the radio stations are able to continue broadcasting in the best interests of their staff and listeners.
“In these circumstances, until the winding-up order is heard by the court next week we are aware that the stations may not be able to fully comply with their format requirements.
“We do not propose to take any formal action against the licensees during this period.”
Darlington-based Laser was formed in 2002, and included among its founders Nigel Reeve, who was launch sales and marketing director of Classic FM.
Three of Laser’s other stations -Bath FM, Brunel FM, in Swindon, and Warminster-based 3TR - were only acquired from The Local Radio Co less than six months ago.
Laser also owns three Sunshine-branded stations in Ludlow, Hereford and Worcester, and Hereford and Monmouth, as well as Fresh Radio, in the Yorkshire Dales.
Nobody from Laser Broadcasting was available to comment.

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