Tameside Reporter Returns to Ashton

Tameside Radio also follows suit as Quest Media Group moves operations to Cavendish Mill annexe

Another chapter in the Tameside Reporter’s history continues as they leave Stalybridge, headquarters to both Tameside Reporter and Glossop Chronicle titles since 1986.

After a 28 year sojourn on Acres Lane, Stalybridge, the Tameside Reporter is set to return to its roots in Ashton-under-Lyne this coming Monday [29 September 2014]. In tow will be its sister newspaper, the Glossop Chronicle, and Tameside Radio, who have used the modern offices as a temporary studio in the last year.

Following refurbishment work, the Cavendish Mill extension opposite ASDA in Ashton-under-Lyne will be the new home for all of Quest Media Group’s productions. On winning its franchise to provide community radio for the Tameside area, Tameside Radio’s first studios was Cavendish Mill, so for both print and radio productions, most definitely ‘welcome home’ indeed.

Before moving to modern offices and turning to the compact format in 1986, its previous base was Waterside Mill off Whitelands Road. They moved to the mill in 1966, after its Warrington Street offices was demolished to make way for part of today’s Ladysmith Shopping Centre. (Bargain Buys stands on the site). Whilst in Stalybridge, they had separate offices in Ashton (on the corner of Old Street and Gas Street), Glossop (High Street West for the Glossop Chronicle) and Hyde (top end of Market Street, for the North Cheshire Herald). Its outstations closed in September 1997 following the sale of Reporter Group of Newspapers’ titles to its employees as Reporter and Chronicle Newspapers.

Tameside Radio 103.6FM began broadcasting on Sunday 30 September 2007 with the U2 song Beautiful Day, from Cavendish Mill. A lot of the founding fathers and some of its presenters came from Tameside Hospital’s radio station Eight Towns Radio, formed in October 1983 as Heartbeat Radio.

Providing a cash injection to the community radio station was New Charter Housing Trust, whom from 2011 helped to secure the station’s future for some time to come. Its mix of non-stop music and community programming was attractive to both its listeners, local advertisers and its benefactors on Wellington Road opposite IKEA.

By 2012, Reporter and Chronicle Newspapers was in turmoil having lost ground and readers to a reinvigorated Tameside Advertiser, one of TrinityMirror’s free titles inherited from the Guardian Media Group’s sale of MEN Media. The last edition under independent ownership was published on the 12 September 2012.

After a two week hiatus, New Charter Housing Trust took over the 157 year old title causing a stir among locals and journalists. Both The Press Gazette and local readers feared proprietorial influence with New Charter’s projects gaining coverage at the behest of community groups.

This wasn’t to be the case, at least till 2013 before Tameside Radio, the Tameside Reporter and the Glossop Chronicle became part of the Quest Media Group, an arms-length company owned by New Charter Housing Trust. Rather than news of new housing projects came greater cross-promotion of print and radio concerns. Tameside Radio’s move to Stalybridge may have been seen as one manifestation of this trend.

Tameside Radio would see the inclusion of The Reporter Show to its midweek schedules, where editor Nigel Skinner discusses the stories from each edition. Its presenters would also have columns in both the Tameside Reporter and the Glossop Chronicle (for instance Alan Ovington’s Rock Zone).

Today, part of the Quest Media Group, both Tameside Radio and the Reporter and Chronicle titles have returned to its roots. In spite of the move, a case of business as usual. The fate of the Acres Lane Reporter office remains to be seen; don’t be surprised if its subsidiary decides to build flats on its site. If they do, remember where you heard this first!

S.V., 25 September 2014.

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