Belfast Telegraph

Jobs to be lost at Q Radio as Ballymena office facing closure

By Rachel Martin

Q Radio's Ballymena office is facing closure, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

It is understood some members of staff have been offered redundancy as the firm attempts to centralise its operations.

The broadcaster is part of Northern Media Group and broadcasts from offices in Belfast, Ballymena, Newry, Londonderry and Omagh.

The site to close at Woodside Industrial Estate had been the station's head office for several years. However, it's thought that most of its head office operations will now transfer to Belfast.

The news comes just two months after the station relocated from its Belfast base behind UTV off the Ormeau Road to a city centre site in the Fountain Centre. It is two years since it bought Belfast CityBeat from CN Group and rebranded the station as part of the Q Radio network.

The deal allowed Q to cover Belfast's licence area for the first time. The station currently employs between 30 and 40 people. However, just a few are based in Ballymena.

In the latest RAJAR listening figures, the Northern Ireland-wide Q Radio network had a total of 289,000 listeners per week. That gave the group its highest recorded figure to date.

Q's biggest rival, Cool FM, has 473,000 listeners.

The station's success after the rebrand was largely put down to its presenters, including Mark Lima, Owen Larkin, Stephen Clements, Cate Conway and Ibe Sesay.

A spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a formal employee consultation process is under way regarding a proposal to close our Ballymena office with possible relocation to other bases.

"We'd like to clarify that no final decision on the future of the Ballymena base has been made."

As part of its licence, Q Radio has an obligation to provide a minimum of seven hours of locally made content each weekday and four hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

However, despite the proposed closure of one of its studios, Ofcom said the station could still meet its licensing requirements for Ballymena by including items such as local news and sport in broadcasts.

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