City Talk 105.9
|Broadcast area||Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales (both original and current)|
|Slogan||Great Music & Great Conversation|
|First air date||28 January 2008|
|Format||Talk, news, music|
|Audience share||0.8% (December 2012, )|
City Talk 105.9 is a commercial radio station in Liverpool, England. The station was awarded a licence by Ofcom on 9 November 2006 and the station launched on 28 January 2008. City Talk is a sister station to the existing Bauer Radio-owned Radio City and Magic 1548, and the stations share studio premises at the top of Radio City Tower in Liverpool city centre. The station broadcasts on FM, on the Bauer Liverpool DAB multiplex, and online. The station is owned & operated by Bauer Radio and forms part of Bauer's Place Network of stations.
City Talk has made a number of changes to its format during its history.
Presenters used to include actors Margi Clarke and Dean Sullivan, while Paul Jacobs (the Grand National commentator on Radio City) was on drive time, football personalities Ian St John and John Aldridge, established broadcaster Kim Hughes, experienced talk show hosts Pete Price and Roy Basnett, and newspaper journalists Larry Nield and Brian Reade. Trisha Goddard hosted a Sunday evening show called "Talk to Trisha", broadcast down-the-line from the presenter's home in Norwich.
Regular news, sport and business bulletins were broadcast, as well as lifestyle, celebrity and comedy features.
In its first RAJAR released on the station's first anniversary, City Talk 105.9 had a weekly audience of 63000 with average listener hours recorded at 5.8. This gave total listening hours of 364000. Its business plan anticipated the audience would be around 75000 each listening for 5 hours a week, producing 375000 listening hours each week. Furthermore, according to an analysis of RAJAR figures, the station has only reached 4% of the local listening population.
In March 2009, OFCOM published a request from Bauer Radio to change the format of City Talk. The new format would retain all-speech programming at weekday breakfast & drivetime and weekend late breakfast. During other weekday, daytime hours the output would be mixed speech and soft pop-led music. Outside of weekday daytime, the new format would allow shared programming with Bauer's other Liverpool stations. The move was taken due to concerns within Bauer about the commercial viability of City Talk as a format. Research conducted by Bauer in support of the move suggested that those listeners who were actively choosing not to listen to the station as an all-talk service would reconsider the station were music included alongside the speech content.
OFCOM granted permission for the format change on 12 May 2009, although the new license still required the station to air late night phone-ins and Saturday afternoon sports coverage, in addition to the daytime talk programming requested by Bauer. Bauer was also told that the simulcasting of Magic 1548 content onto the City Talk frequency would not be permitted, but that some programming elements could be shared with Radio City.
On 21 June 2009 the station went live with their new talk-music format.
In January 2010, the station changed its format again, to operate a news-and-music mix. This saw extended news bulletins airing every 20 minutes (updated hourly, with more frequent updates during major breaking events), and soft adult contemporary music between the bulletins. This format now airs for much of the day, except during the remaining presenter-led shows.
The station continues to air a Pete Price-fronted phone-in show on Sunday to Thursday evenings (which includes one hour of music and three hours of speech; also carried on Radio City), and presented sports output on Wednesday evenings and at weekends. City Talk's other presenter-led programmes are a political programme with Larry Neild, a business strand with Frank McKenna, celebrity interviews with Will Batchelor, chat and music with Simon Davies and a paranormal show with Neal Atkinson. The station now also carries the Big Top 40 Show music chart on Sunday afternoons.
The earlier City Talk experiment
The current City Talk is not the first time Radio City have operated a speech service for Liverpool. City Talk previously existed on 1548 kHz - Radio City's MW frequency - between 1989 and 1991, initially as an opt-out between the hours of 0700 and 1900 on weekdays (sharing content with Radio City's FM service outside these times). This approach differed from that taken by many other stations, which had begun launching "oldies" format stations on their former AM frequencies. Despite a speech format being suited to AM, it was not a success. It became Radio City Gold 1548, which itself was later rebranded, forming the current Magic 1548.
The station is targeted for listeners in North Wales, Cheshire and Liverpool however extensive broadcasts can be heard in Greater Manchester and Staffordshire.
- Radio City is talk of town in airwaves win (Liverpool Echo, 10 November 2006)
- CityTalk comes to Liverpool (Radio City news)
- Ofcom awards new FM commercial radio licence for Liverpool (Ofcom press release)
- Talk of the Town (Liverpool Confidential)
- Talk spills the beans about line-up for Liverpool launch (How-Do)