Updated: GCap Buys Welovelocal Reviews Site Stake, Will Add To Station Sites

Update: Welovelocal will be used to build a “Capital Londoner’s Guide” on the Capital 95.8 site and corresponding user-driven communities on fellow One Network sites, GCap interactive director Robin Pembrooke told me. The rationale for what’s thought to be GCap’s first external online investment — “reinforcing the link between the One Network and their local communities”, and ramping up local advertising… “It helps us get to a new type of customer out in the regions that might not be big enough to advertse on the radio.” Welovelocal will also provide impetus for on-air content, like rate-the-best-pub contests. The brand will continue to exist separately.

Original post: Capital Radio operator GCap is buying a majority stake in the 10-month-old user-driven local reviews index Welovelocal for a total £600,000. The site, which only launched in 2007, is amongst a rash of sites – including Tipped, TrustedPlaces and TouchLocal – to offer a Yellow Pages-style, Web 2.0-centric local business directory that includes users’ own reviews and ratings. Founding brothers Duncan and Max Jennings will get £450,000 in cash from the radio group, followed by a staged £150,000 dependent on meeting targets.

GCap CEO Fru Hazlitt: “We will integrate its listings and reviews into our Capital 95.8 and One Network sites, enhance and support the on-air experience across these stations and develop welovelocal.com into the leading user generated reviews site in the UK.”

“We love local” could almost be a new manifesto pledge for GCap, which in February announced it was axing several stations and selling its national digital network to focus on its core One Network stations. In a statement, the company said it “will combine Welovelocal’s highly engaged online audience with its own network of local radio brands to enhance the broadband strategy” Hazlitt announced at the time. For GCap, it’s both complementary to its local radio advertising efforts and a way to drive up online stickiness. And it comes as the company is courted for takeover by Global Radio.