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Cuts of £3m to be brought in at Wireless Group during the next year

By John Mulgrew

The Wireless Group - the new name for UTV's radio assets - is planning to cut costs by £3m over the next year.

The portfolio of 22 radio stations, including U105 in Belfast, was rebranded after ITV's £100m deal to buy Ulster Television and UTV Ireland from UTV Media.

In its latest accounts, it outlined cost-cutting plans over the next 12 months.

The company said the "sale of the television business prompted a review of costs".

"It was recognised that the costs of the central team needed to be reduced in order to re-size operations," it added.

"At the same time, a detailed review took place across the stations to identify further savings.

"Plans are currently being implemented to reduce the cost base by £3m from 2017 onwards".

Belfast-based Wireless Group plc reported a 10% fall in pre-tax profits to £10.7m for 2015.

A spokeswoman for the company said: "As detailed in the latest Wireless Group accounts, a cost-reduction programme will be undertaken throughout 2016.

"Any decisions made as a result of this process will be detailed to shareholders in due course and not before the next financial update in August 2016."

Asked about U105 and whether the impending cuts could mean a reduction in the level of service, the company said: "U105 remains a key part of the Wireless Group's strategy, with the station currently in the process of renewing its broadcast licence with Ofcom and having achieved record listenership and revenue levels in 2016.

"There has been no decrease in reports or news broadcasts, which continue at the same as past levels."

Speaking about UTV Ireland, the report added: "The performance was not matched at the weekend, where the absence of consistently popular programming undermined overall audience delivery and, therefore, advertising revenue projections, leading to revisions of profit expectations".

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