Oldham Evening Chronicle’s Revolutionary Revival

Local radio station Revolution 96.2 buys the Oldham Evening Chronicle

Let’s go back to the 31 August: the Oldham Evening Chronicle had printed its last edition at Rhodes Bank. Hirst, Kidd, and Rennie, its long time parent company went into receivership. Till today its fate was in the hands of KPMG, its administrators.

Today we have learned that Revolution 96.2 FM has saved the much loved evening newspaper. The independent commercial radio station for Rochdale, Oldham and Tameside, had been linked with the title days after its demise.

Since Hirst, Kidd, and Rennie’s title ceased publication, two new titles have been released. Both of them are paid-for weekly newspapers, bridging a gap vacated by the Oldham Advertiser and the Chronicle Weekend free newspapers. Newsquest introduced The Oldham Times with great fanfare (and free chocolate bars at selected newsagents).

Going to press on the same day as Newsquest’s title, with a subdued launch, was the Oldham Reporter. This is one of three newspapers published by the Quest Media Group (bankrolled by New Charter Housing Trust and owners of Tameside Radio 103.6 FM). If you are familiar with the Tameside Reporter or the Glossop Chronicle, it has a very similar look and feel (though with Oldham and Saddleworth related stories).

Best placed more than most for covering Oldham is the Manchester Evening News. With their print works in Hollinwood, it is the best place for a separate Oldham edition of their title. This was also launched on the same day as the two weekly newspapers.

Revolution 96.2’s purchase of the title comes with one commodity that money cannot buy. The goodwill of Oldhamers whom have hitherto purchased the title each weekday. For many people now 50 to 70 years of age, ‘The Chron’ was their first port of call for nights out at venues like Candlelight, Baileys, and The Cat’s Whiskers. Its voice in the community – ‘Oldham Born and Read’ to quote a former tagline – was truly local.

We hope Revolution 96.2 places the daily newspaper back to its rightful position. Prior to its liquidation, the Oldham Evening Chronicle had lost readers. Its web presence was behind the times compared with rival weekly and daily titles. Whereas some newspapers republished full stories on their websites, the Chronicle insisted on using a paywall for some stories. The website had yet to adopt responsive web design techniques like its contemporaries.

We eagerly await the first edition under Revolution 96.2’s ownership. It will be great to see Rhodes Bank springing back to life again.

S.V., 12 October 2017.

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