Bauer Media Audio acquires southeast radio station Beat 102-103

The Irish Times has been a 75% shareholder in Beat for the past six years

Germany’s Bauer Media Audio, the owner of Today FM and Newstalk, has expanded its radio interests in Ireland once more by agreeing to buy youth-targeting regional station Beat 102-103 for an undisclosed sum, subject to regulatory approval.

The Irish Times, which became a 75 per cent shareholder in Beat when it acquired Landmark Media Group in 2018, said the sale of the Waterford-based station was consistent with its strategy to “prioritise and invest in our publishing titles to enhance our digital services for readers and subscribers, and to pursue new opportunities to develop our digital offering”.

Beat 102-103 is the most-listened to radio station among the 15-34 age group in Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and south Tipperary with 158,000 people tuning in every week.

Bauer Media Audio Ireland is also the owner of 98FM, Spin 1038 and Spin SouthWest, all of which it bought alongside its two national stations from Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp in 2021.

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Since then, it has been on the acquisition trail, last year adding Cork’s Red FM, in which The Irish Times also had a stake, and iRadio, a youth music station serving listeners in the northeast, midlands and northwest.

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Its Irish portfolio also includes digital sports brand Off the Ball, listening platform GoLoud, digital audio advertising exchange audioXi and media sales house Media Central. Beat, which launched in July 2003, already had a business relationship with Bauer as it was represented to advertisers by Media Central.

“We’re confident that Beat and its staff will have a bright future as a valued part of the dynamic Bauer Media Group,” said Deirdre Veldon, The Irish Times group managing director and chairwoman of Beat.

The deal, when completed, means that Bauer Media Audio Ireland will own eight of the 34 commercial radio services licensed by Coimisiún na Meán and extend its total weekly reach in the market to 2.24 million listeners.

“We are delighted to have Beat 102-103 join Bauer. This provides advertisers and partners with access to a quality station with an engaged audience in the southeast,” said Chris Doyle, Bauer Media Audio Ireland’s interim chief executive.

The company, which operates radio businesses in nine European markets, is part of Bauer Media Group, a privately owned, Hamburg-headquartered multimedia company led by Yvonne Bauer.

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