a media industry resource

EMAP Group


EMAP is a UK broadcaster and newspaper and consumer magazine publisher with a presence in Australia and most European countries.

It dates from the 1947 merger of four local newspaper publishers in the UK to form East Midland Allied Press (EMAP) under control of Winfrey family.

As of May 2006 its operations embraced -

  • 150 consumer magazines in the UK, France and elsewhere
  • over 200 business-to-business events and magazines
  • 18 UK local analogue radio stations
  • seven digital music TV channels
  • the largest digital radio network in the UK

In 2004 it acquired 29% of Scottish Radio Holdings (regional newspapers and 22 radio stations) from SMG for £90 million. In June 2005 it announced a deal to buy the 73% of SRH that it did not own, selling the SRH newspaper division (Score Press) to Johnston for £155 million.

In June 2006 it announced that it would return £285m to shareholders after agreeing to sell its ailing French magazine operations (including Closer, Le Film Francais and the Tele Star and Tele Poche television guides) to Berlusconi-controlled Mondadori for £380m. The sale of Emap France is conditional on European regulatory clearance.

SRH and Morton

Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) dates fromthe early 1970s when a
consortium of Glasgow business figures gained the third UK commercial radio licence, with Radio Clyde going live in 1974. In 1991 it merged with Radio Forth in Edinburgh (which like Clyde had absorbed other operators in the 1980s) to create Scottish Radio Holdings plc. SRH expanded into weekly newspapers in 1995 through acquisition of Morton Newspapers, the largest local publisher in Northern Ireland, and subsequently bought titles in Scotland and Eire along with Irish radio stations.

As of May 2005 the group's print operations encompassed 44 titles, including the Kilkenny People, Tipperary Star, The Nationalist, Leitrim Observer, Stornoway Gazette, The Hebridean, The Nationalist & Munster Advertiser and Longford Leader. Radio operations included Today FM (marketed as Ireland's independent national radio station), Dublin's biggest radio station (FM 104), 3C Digital , CFM Radio, Downtown Radio Cool FM, Moray Firth Radio,
Northsound Radio, Radio Borders, Radio Clyde, Radio Forth, Radio Tay, Vibe FM 101, Vibe FM 105-108, Wave 105 FM and West Sound Radio.

Morton Newspapers was established in 1936, when the Lurgan Mail was purchased by John Morton. The job-printing section was sold in 1949 to fund purchase of the Portadown Times, with the Londonderry Sentinel being acquired in 1953 and launch of the Ulster Star in 1957. FarmWeek, claimed as Northern Ireland's leading farming weekly, was launched in 1959. In 1986 Morton purchased the Ballymena Times and Larne Times from Thomson's Belfast Telegraph, going on to launch titles such as the Coleraine Times, Craigavon Echo, Lisburn Echo, NorthWest Echo, Ballymoney Times, Roe Valley Sentinel and Dromore Star. In 1990 Morton acquired the Mid Ulster Mail in 1990 and the Leader (based in Dromore) in 1992. It subsequently encompassed the Banbridge Leader, Mid Ulster Echo, Tyrone Times and monthly East Antrim Advertiser.


There has been no major independent study of the Emap group. A reverential view of the founders is provided in David Newton's Men of Mark: Makers of East Midland Allied Press (Peterborough: Emap 1977).