Greatest Hits Radio

Greatest Hits Radio is a classic hits radio network in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by Bauer.

Greatest Hits Radio
GHR logo.png
Bauer Verlagsgruppe logo2.png
CityLiverpool
Manchester
London
Glasgow
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
FrequencyMW: 828 – 1584 kHz
FM: 96.0 – 107.9 MHz
DAB
Freeview 716
RDSGrt Hits
BrandingAcross *TSA*
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatClassic hits and specialist music
Ownership
OwnerBauer
Country Hits Radio
Hits Radio
Hits Radio Pride
History
First air date
5 January 2015 as Bauer City 2
7 January 2019 as Greatest Hits Radio
Links
Websitehttps://planetradio.co.uk/greatest-hits/

OverviewEdit

The network launched on 5 January 2015 as the "Bauer City 2 Network",[1] and rebranded on 7 January 2019 due to the success of Radio City 2 in Liverpool on FM.[2]

As of March 2021, the network consists of 18 local and regional radio stations operating over 49 FM and DAB licences in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as a national DAB station[2] in areas not served by a local Bauer-owned licence.

In most cases, the stations are networked, apart from a three-hour regional afternoon show on weekdays and localised opt-outs for news, travel and advertising.

HistoryEdit

GoldEdit

The stations forming the Greatest Hits Radio network are predominantly sister stations to the corresponding Hits Radio network stations. Many were originally set up as a 'Gold' counterpart (e.g. Radio City Gold in Liverpool) when stations were instructed by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to cease simulcasting their services on both FM and AM in the late 1980s. The main exception to this was FM station West Sound in Dumfries and Galloway.

Greatest Hits Radio (Scotland) and Magic (Northern England)Edit

In Northern England, the stations were rebranded as Magic in 1997 – a station brand first used by Radio Aire upon the launch of their AM station in July 1990.

In Scotland, local programming on AM stations was largely retained until networking outside of weekday breakfast and specialist shows was introduced in June 2009.

The Magic stations gradually began to form a network merging most of their schedule until, and by March 2013, only local content consisted of three regional breakfast shows on weekdays, serving the North West, the North East and Yorkshire.[3]

In July 2013, the remaining Scottish local output ceased, leading to a fully networked schedule known as 'Greatest Hits Network.[4]

Greatest Hits Radio (Scotland) and Radio City 2 (Northern England)Edit

In September 2014, Bauer Radio announced it would rebrand the Magic stations under localised identities, based on the main FM station names (e.g. Magic 1152 in Manchester becomes Key 2, based on Key 103).[5] Magic's AM network closed with the London equivalent, Magic 105.4 FM, launched nationwide on DAB.

The relaunch took place on Monday 5 January 2015. Initially, the two networks serving Scotland (The Greatest Hits Network) and northern England (City 2 Network) were replaced by one carrying programming from both nations over all stations, with some peak time opt-outs. Further split programming for the two nations was reintroduced the following year.

On 7 December 2015, Radio City 2 in Liverpool swapped frequencies with sister station Radio City Talk on 105.9 FM and reintroduced local programming at peak times.[6][7]

In April 2018, Northsound 2 ceased analogue broadcasting on 1035 AM, becoming the first commercial radio station in Scotland – and the first local Bauer-owned station – to broadcast only on digital platforms (DAB and online).[8]

On 4 June 2018, Key 2 in Manchester was rebranded as Key Radio, in tandem with Key 103's relaunch as Hits Radio.

Greatest Hits Radio (National)Edit

On 7 January 2019, Greatest Hits Radio replaced the Bauer City 2 branding due to the success of Radio City 2 in Liverpool. Local station identities in Northern England took on Greatest Hits Radio branded names and Scottish stations retaining their local brands.

Greatest Hits Radio also became available on FM in the West Midlands taking over the 105.2 FM frequency from Absolute Radio. Greatest Hits Radio also took over Absolute Radio's London FM frequency (105.8) on May 17th 2021.

The network expanded with Greatest Hits Radio UK broadcasting across most of the local DAB multiplexes across the UK.

The service took the Liverpool FM programming with national news bulletins and traffic reports.[9][10]

Network expansionEdit

In May 2020, Bauer announced 48 local radio stations in England and South West Wales will rebrand and join the Greatest Hits Radio network, following the acquisition of licences from UKRD, Wireless Group, Lincs FM Group and Celador.[11]

Most of the stations were merged and began carrying networked output, alongside a regional show on weekdays and localised news, travel and advertising.

On 13 July 2020, the former Wireless Group and Celador-owned stations joined the Greatest Hits Radio network. The nineteen stations carried local breakfast shows and voicetracked programming whilst retaining separate branding until the full relaunch on 1 September 2020.[12]

On 1 September, Bauer closed down Leeds-based Radio Aire so that it could switch the frequency from the Hits Radio network to Greatest Hits Radio as part of the merging with twelve stations in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.[13]

On 17 September 2020, Bauer bought Radio Plymouth.[14]

On 15 October 2020, it was announced that the Suffolk station Ipswich 102, part-owned by Bauer through their purchase of Lincs FM Group, would take the GHR brand and network programming, including the East region drivetime show, from November, with the former Town 102 on DAB, which had carried GHR East since the September network relaunch, being replaced by Hits Radio.[15]

On 22 October 2020, it was reported the Oldham and Rochdale station Revolution 96.2 had been sold to Bauer for conversion into GHR, joining the Manchester AM and Bolton/Bury FM licenses in the GHR North West network.[16]

In March 2021, Ofcom approved Bauer's application for permission to alter the FM licence held by the London FM relay of Absolute Radio, enabling the frequency to be used to provide a London variant of GHR.[17] with Absolute Radio continuing to be available by way of its national AM and digital transmissions. The change took place on 17 May.

On 17 June 2021 Bauer announced the purchase of Imagine Radio from Like Media Group, with the existing Imagine service slated to be replaced by GHR services for Stockport and North Cheshire and the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales.[18]

StationsEdit

United KingdomEdit

East & West MidlandsEdit

East of EnglandEdit

Former stations

LondonEdit

  • GHR London

North East EnglandEdit

North West EnglandEdit

ScotlandEdit

South East EnglandEdit

South West EnglandEdit

WalesEdit

Yorkshire and the HumberEdit

ProgrammingEdit

Networked programming for GHR is produced and broadcast from the studios of several Bauer stations across the UK.

  • In England, daytime output originates from Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester and from Bauer's Golden Square headquarters in Soho.
  • In Scotland, programming originates from the studios of Clyde 2 in Glasgow and Forth 2 in Edinburgh.
  • In South West Wales, local programming originates from Bauer's Gowerton studios.

Off-peak time programming airs across all GHR stations from the Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and Soho studios.

There are some opt-outs and variations:

  • In South West Wales, most of GHR's schedule consists of local programming - including daily breakfast shows, daytime and evening output on weekdays and a Welsh language late show on Sunday - Friday nights.
  • In the East, Midlands, North West, South, South West and Yorkshire, regional afternoon shows air each weekday from 1-4pm. These previously aired in the 4-7pm Drivetime slot until the launch of Simon Mayo's networked show on 15 March 2021.[19]
  • The Scottish stations air a separate Drivetime show on weekdays from 3-7pm.
  • In Hull & East Yorkshire and the South Coast of England, local afternoon shows air each weekday from 1-4pm.
  • In the North East and Teesside, Night Owls, a weekly late-night talk show presented by Alan Robson, airs from 10pm-2am each Sunday.

NewsEdit

Bauer's newsrooms across the UK air local and national news bulletins hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 7am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Headlines are broadcast on the half-hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside traffic bulletins.

At weekends, bespoke networked news bulletins air during the afternoon produced by the Bauer newsroom in Glasgow for Scotland and usually either Leeds or Manchester for England and Wales. At all other times, mainly evening and overnight, hourly national bulletins originate from Sky News Radio.

Notable presentersEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Schedule released for Bauer City 2 stations Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, RadioToday, 19 December 2014
  2. ^ a b New Greatest Hits Radio network confirmed for 2019
  3. ^ Magic AM starts networking at breakfast, RadioToday, 15 February 2013
  4. ^ Galloway goes national at Bauer Scotland, RadioToday, 3 June 2013
  5. ^ Major brand swap for Bauer's local stations, RadioToday, 28 September 2014
  6. ^ Simon Ross moves to Radio City 2 Breakfast, RadioToday, 30 November 2015
  7. ^ Date set for Radio City 2 and 3 frequency swap, RadioToday, 16 November 2015
  8. ^ Northsound 2 to switch off AM radio service, Radio Today, 8 March 2018
  9. ^ BAUER MEDIA TO LAUNCH THE GREATEST HITS RADIO NETWORK Bauer Media, 15 November 2018
  10. ^ Bauer Media to launch Greatest Hits Radio network Radio Today, 15 November 2018
  11. ^ most-of-acquired-bauer-stations-to-become-greatest-hits-radio/ Most of acquired Bauer stations to become Greatest Hits Radio Stuart Clarkson, Radio Today, 27 May 2020
  12. ^ Bauer starts to roll out Hits and Greatest Hits to new radio stations Stuart Clarkson, Radio Today, 9 July 2020
  13. ^ [1] Radio Aire to become Greatest Hits Radio, Radio Today, 16 July 2020
  14. ^ [2] Bauer buys Radio Plymouth to extend GHR network, Radio Today, 17th of September 2020
  15. ^ RadioToday, 2020-10-15
  16. ^ RadioToday, 2020-10-22
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ RadioToday.co.uk, June 2021
  19. ^ "Simon Mayo to host Drive on Greatest Hits Radio". 1 February 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.

External linksEdit