Wireless Group warns of softening in Irish advertising spends

The FM104 owners are set to joint Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp

Wireless Group - which was formally UTV Media - has reported a boost in revenues they grew to £38.2m, an increase on the £37m brought in 12 months previously. This came against the backdrop of a softening in advertising spends in both the UK and Ireland according to the group.

This is the company's final set of results before it will become part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp - the Australian-born mogul's company is set to take control of the group for €255m in an all-cash deal which is still pending regulatory approval.

Its operating profit slipped to £4.7m a drop of £1.4m on 12 months ago as the group invested in new digital offerings.

Wireless warned that advertising trends here in Ireland "were softer" ahead of the Brexit vote. It controls FM104 and Q102 in Dublin, and Cork's 96 FM and C103, LMFM in east Leinster, Live 95FM in Limerick and Belfast's U105.

Group Chairman Richard Huntingford said: "Wireless Group - and especially talkSPORT - has performed well in the first six months of the year," referring to its main British interest which recently secured the rights to air live Premier League matches.

"The recent RAJAR and JNLR figures demonstrate the strength of the Group’s ongoing brands in its key markets as well as the ability to launch successfully new digital brands that are attractive to listeners which stands the Group in good stead going forward," he continued.

In February of this year the Belfast-based group sold its television interests to ITV for £100m.