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North publisher sells off Midlands radio outlets

Regional newspaper publisher CN Group has moved to consolidate its operations in its Cumbrian heartland by off-loading five radio stations in the Midlands.

The group, which publishes the News & Star and the North West Evening Mail, has sold the stations to a newly-formed company, Quidem,

The stations, which cover the Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, Coventry, Rugby and Tamworth areas, broadcast as Touch FM and Rugby FM.

However CN Group says it plans to hang on to the three other radio stations it owns, two of which are based in or alongside its core newspaper area.

Chief executive Robin Burgess said the group’s other stations, Citybeat (Belfast), The Bay (Morecambe Bay) and Lakeland (Kendal) would remain in the group “as an important part of the company as we move forward.”

He added: “These changes within our radio division will help ensure its long term security and prosperity.

“We have made great strides with the development of our Touch brand in the Midlands. We now feel Quidem is best suited to take Touch forward in the future.

“Their ability to focus specifically on these stations will ensure they can be developed to their full potential over the next few years.”

The latest move follows an announcement by CN Group in May of a proposed £1.5m restructuring plan which could lead to the loss of 37 jobs and provide £1.5m in savings over a full year.

The proposals, still under consultation, include the closure of its print plant in Barrow.