Takeover deal for Peterhead-based Waves Radio is off

A takeover of Peterhead-based Waves Radio has been scrapped – despite the prospective new owners running the station for the best part of two months.

By Kevin McRoberts
Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 8:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 8:57 am
There's been a change on the airwaves, with Peterhead-based Waves Radio reverting back to its previous format following the collapse of a deal to sell the station to a local consortium.
There's been a change on the airwaves, with Peterhead-based Waves Radio reverting back to its previous format following the collapse of a deal to sell the station to a local consortium.

Waves Radio, which broadcasts on 101.2FM in the North East of Scotland, had been run in recent weeks by a consortium of local people ahead of the legal paperwork being completed.

But Waves Radio owner Kenny King, whose real name is Norman Spence, has now taken back control and the deal is off.

Graham Barron, one of the members of the consortium, which also included Bob and Janice Forrest, and Karen Day, said they felt “betrayed and let down”.

Kenny has responded by saying there are two sides to every story, but that Waves Radio would be making no further comment on the matter.

Graham explained that back at the start of this year, discussions had taken place with Kenny who had been looking to retire.

The consortium agreed to take on Waves and run it as a non-profit CIC company, ploughing any profits the station did make into good causes locally.

Graham said the deal was due to go through in July, but it didn’t happen.

“We had people in place to take over certain presenting roles, and we had new station imaging and new jingles to radically change the sound and modernise the station, bringing it up to date,” he said.

“Because it was taking so long, we agreed to run the station on Kenny’s behalf. He would take a back seat and let us take control of the station.

“Basically we would run the business for him on a free of charge basis until such time as we got the paperwork signed.”

The consortium continued to run the station for just over seven weeks with the paperwork still not completed.

Graham said a final deadline of Tuesday, August 31, was set for completion, but then the following day, the consortium was informed the deal was off.

“He appeared at the station at 9am and said we had until noon to get out.

"The deal was off, he was taking back the station, all the new stuff we had in place was taken off and he reverted back to the old station.

Graham said they had been inundated with people asking what was going on, and it was “gut-wrenching” to think of all the time and effort they had put into the radio station, only for it all to be called off.

“The saddest thing about it is we had employed new young talent on the understanding this was going to happen, but they are now in a position where they are no longer with the station,” he said.

“We’d got a young team of presenters who were really keen on putting on local radio for the good of the community, and they’ve been totally disheartened by what has happened.”

“For us, we were only going to be volunteering, there was no financial gain for the people who were running it.

"We’d all agreed once the station costs were covered, any profits after that would go to good causes.

“We had investment there – there had been some on new computers, new imaging and new jingles – so it’s really disappointing. We feel really let down.”

Listeners’ reaction

The collapse of the deal to sell Waves Radio has attracted a mixed response, with some people disappointed the new set-up has been scrapped, but many loyal listeners delighted it has gone back to its previous format.

Waves posted a short statement on its Facebook page saying: “A potential sale of Waves Radio has failed to be completed and, consequently, the station remains under the present ownership, therefore reverting to its current and classic hits format.”

Some of the comments that followed expressed disappointment, with one poster preferring the new set-up saying that “the young ones brightened up my day”, while another was straight to the point with “I won't be listening any more”.

Waves’ business model was also questioned by a poster who wrote: “Does 60s music to appeal to many people In 2021? Most certainly not.”

However, there were also many supportive comments, including “Well done Waves team, keep up the good work, I’ll always be listening”, “I’m over the moon it’s back to the old waves – rock on Kenny King” and “long may Kenny King and his team at Waves Radio continue to entertain us”.

One poster wrote: “You have a unique radio station that has survived by sticking to its original aim, there's very few stations like that. The ‘yoof’ have plenty of clones on FM/DAB and online if that's what floats their boat.”

And another reply reads: “The present ownership is doing a great job. W aves doesn't need to change at all, it is different, and that is what is needed, not another formulated radio station. Sail on W aves, we love you and always will.”