Free Radio 80s
|First air date||4 September 2012|
|Format||Non-stop music from 1980-1989|
Free Radio 80s is an Independent Local Radio station serving the Birmingham, Coventry, Shropshire and Black Country areas, broadcasting on medium wave and DAB. The station, owned and operated by Orion Media, was launched on Monday 4 September 2012, and plays a selection of chart hits from the 1980s alongside live football commentaries and local news & information.
Orion Media was formed in 2009, following the purchase of five Midlands-based radio stations - namely BRMB, Mercia, Wyvern, Beacon and Heart 106 from Global Radio for a sale price worth £37.5 million. In early 2012, Orion announced plans to rebrand BRMB, Beacon, Mercia and Wyvern into one station as a means of generating greater revenue. They were renamed as Free Radio on 26 March 2012. Many of these stations had previously operated an AM-based Gold service, all of which had been subsumed over time into Global's Gold network - Orion continued to run the AM stations as part of the Gold network on a franchise agreement, albeit with additional local opt-outs for extra sports coverage, including live football commentaries.
On 24 May 2012, Orion Media announced it would relaunch its Gold West Midlands stations on AM frequencies and DAB as Free Radio 80s. Gold was replaced by test transmissions for Free Radio 80s in the final week of August, and was officially launched on 4 September 2012.
Up until the rebrand of the FM stations, BRMB, Beacon and Mercia broadcast live football commentaries on Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Coventry City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers matches, under the Goalzone strand. The commentaries were subsequently moved to Gold, six months before the launch of Free Radio 80s.
The station's frequencies are split to provide more localised coverage of the region's teams:
- Aston Villa & Birmingham City: 1152 AM (Birmingham) and DAB
- West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers: 990/1017 AM (Black Country & Shropshire) and DAB
In addition to commentaries, the station also airs a magazine show, The Sports Bar on Monday evenings and a Friday night football phone-in.
- "Midlands radio sale cleared". Radio Today. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Orion stations morph into Free Radio". Radio Today. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "Gold to be Free Radio 80s in West Mids". Radio Today. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Free Radio 80s replaces Gold on AM & DAB". Radio Today. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.