This Rose smells sweet


Shareholders in Golden Rose Communications have had a distinctly tarnished time since shares in the radio broadcaster launched in early 1995.

From 135p they slumped to 51p by the end of their first year as a quoted company. They have since staggered up to 66.5p.

Recent gains, however, mask some fundamental changes to the underlying businesses. Golden Rose is the home of Jazz FM, which has two regional licences to broadcast, in London and Manchester. It was once also the home of Viva!, the London station aimed at women. However, the current management pulled off a remarkable coup in 1966, when it sold Viva! to Liberty Publishing, the fledgling media empire of Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, for pounds 3m.

GR's fortunes were transformed at a stroke. From a fairly indebted company, GR had cash in the bank and got rid of a heavily loss-making operation.

Chief executive Richard Wheatly, who joined from advertising agency Leo Burnett, has concentrated on reviving the Jazz brand and wringing every penny from it. GR would concentrate on jazz, and do it "consummately well," he said.

His ambition seems to have been realised. He has kept the station trained firmly on the youthful A,B,C1 audience advertisers love, and made sure programming is not aimed solely at jazz fanatics, but also does not stray too far into MOR rock - a previous failing.

From there, the company has developed a small CD label specialising in jazz compilations, ranging from classic jazz to modern, street sounds. The label has proved a success for relatively little capital and is easily marketed on the radio.

Holidays have also been added to GR's repertoire. Jazz festivals in exotic locations such as New Orleans or St Lucia are sold in packages to listeners. So far GR has sold packages for three festivals, and this exercise has proved successful.

Finally it has branched into the restaurant business, through its partnership with Regent Inns, to open Cafe Jazbars. The first one has opened in Liverpool's Albert Docks, and more are planned. GR just takes a slice of revenues for marketing the brand, mainly over the station. So far, the venue is packed.

What next? Mr Wheatly believes GR is a viable niche media company, and in due course he wants to expand the company where there is a strong marketing opportunity, although it need not be in the media.

He also wants GR - which has yet to pay a dividend - to move to the dividend list next year. There is a strong prospect he will achieve his aim. With the outlook positive, GR looks like a business worth investing in. There may still be ups and downs, but the shares are a good buy at current levels.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf