HEART FM s North Devon studio is due to close this summer as part of massive overhaul by owners Global Radio. The Gazette understands that the Rounds

HEART FM's North Devon studio is due to close this summer as part of massive overhaul by owners Global Radio.

The Gazette understands that the Roundswell-based studio - which broadcasts weekday breakfast and “drive-time” shows - will produce its final shows on August 27. It is unclear at this stage how many members of staff will be made redundant but a spokesman for Global said that job losses were “inevitable”.

The announcement was made to staff in an email yesterday afternoon (Monday).

The missive revealed Global’s intention to merge Heart North Devon with five other stations across Devon – part of a restructuring programme to halve the company’s number of local “Heart” stations and create 15 Heart “super stations”.

“Devon stations in Barnstaple, Torbay, South Hams, Exeter and Plymouth will all be moving into a new centre of excellence in Exeter,” said a Global Radio spokesperson, who also said the changes were being made following a new Ofcom regulation which enables local stations to co-locate and programme share.

“Over the coming months, these local stations will morph into Heart Devon.”

The new station will broadcast its own breakfast and drive-time shows from Exeter, while the rest of the content will be networked. News bulletins will be extended to on the hour throughout the day.

Breakfast presenters Paul Hopper and James Chapple, and drive-time's Suse Rolfe are expected to find out whether their shows will be retained across the newly-expanded networks in the coming weeks.

The North Devon radio station – formerly known as Lantern FM and previously Lantern Radio – was re-branded as Heart FM in March last year after being bought by Global in 2008.

Founder and Global Group CEO, Ashley Tabor, said: “The Ofcom statement enables commercial radio to organise itself more efficiently and take advantage of new technology to enable our people to work smarter.

“Although this has meant some brave decisions for our business, these changes considerably strengthen our company by providing listeners with higher quality programming and our customers with a far superior service.”