A MERGER of radio stations has left staff devastated, with some being told they no longer had a job following the shock announcement today (Friday).

TFM radio and sister station Metro will now reportedly share all programming with the exception of local news bulletins and advertising.

And the studios at Thornaby will also be closed with remaining staff moving to Metro's Newcastle studios.

A radio insider, who did not want to be named, said staff had been left devastated when they turned up to work to hear the shock announcement by parent company Bauer Media.

He said: “The staff had no inclination that it was coming, quite a few people were let go on the spot and obviously a lot of people were very upset by the announcement – no one knew this was coming at all.

“It’s nearly 40 years of independent broadcasting that is coming to an end but it’s the staff that I really feel sorry for because of the way that the jobs market is in the broadcasting industry, it will be difficult for them to find work.”

The radio station’s last live broadcast from the Thornaby site was at 10am this morning (Friday) and the station’s website has been cleared apart from an advert saying The New TFM starts soon with the Steve and Karen Breakfast Show starting at 6am on Monday.

A statement from the media group does not fully explain what will happen to staff as a result of the merger or what impact it will have on the delivery of news to Teesside residents.

Cath Ellington, Regional Managing Director – Bauer North East & Magic Network North told Radio Today: “These changes mean TFM will be even better resourced whilst at the same time retain its local connections and appeal to listeners and advertisers.

“TFM is a much-loved radio station on Teesside and we are confident this move means it will benefit from even greater creativity, improved content and allow the station to further grow its audience share across the region. We want to say thank you to all TFM staff who have worked hard for the station in recent years.”

An Ofcom statement on the format change, which says TFM has to provide at least 7 hours a day of local programming, should be out on Tuesday.