SPECULATION IS RIFE this evening that Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp Group has taken over loss-making alternative music station Phantom 105.2.
Hot Press reports that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland this morning confirmed it had given approval “in principle” for Communicorp to take what the magazine describes as a “significant shareholding” in the radio station.
That share acquisition, the magazine said, was subject to the submission of further information about the deal which would require contacts to be updated.
Following that news, rumours are circulating on Twitter that Phantom are to relocate their operations from the North Wall Quay, near the O2 venue, into Marconi House on Digges Lane on the southside of Dublin city – the same building from which Newstalk and Today FM operate.
The deal, if it is true, would see Communicorp further strengthen its strangehold on Irish radio; it already owns the two aforementioned stations as well as the two Spin FM franchises in Dublin and the south-west, as well as Dublin’s 98.
Phantom’s listenership has declined in recent months, according to the latest JNLR figures, and the station had been making financial losses since it had officially launched in October 2006.
The station had been a pirate broadcaster for a decade beforehand, occasionally being granted temporary licences by the BAI. It was awarded the licence to operate an alternative rock station for Dublin in 2004, but its launched was delayed after legal challenges from a losing bidder.