|Broadcast area||East Midlands|
|Slogan||What a feeling|
|Frequency||RDS: Gem 106, 106.0 MHz (FM)
NOW Nottingham (Nottingham),
Block 12C, 128kbit/s (DAB)
NOW Leicester (Leicester),
Block 11B, 128kbit/s(DAB
NOW Derbyshire (in Derbyshire from 2008)
|First air date||23 September 1997|
|Audience share||9.3%% (December 2013, )|
Gem 106 is a regional radio station broadcasting to the East Midlands, owned and operated by Orion Media. The station is transmitted from the Copt Oak transmitter close to the M1 north of Leicester in the National Forest.
Radio 106 launched at 6am on Tuesday 23 September 1997. Billed as Radio for Grown Ups, the new regional station was led by ex-Radio Trent managing director Ron Coles with former Centre Radio MD Ken Warburton as programming controller. The first presenter on air was Dickie Dodd.
Radio 106's launch schedule included a heavy emphasis on speech content, including daily guests on mid-morning shows and a nightly 3-hour phone-in. Specialist music output featured country, soul and motown at weekends. The station's launch team included Kevin Fernihough, Mark Keen, Willie Morgan, Kenny Hague, Jake Yapp, Peter King and Sarah Graham.
Against competition from established BBC Local Radio and GWR-owned commercial stations, Radio 106 recorded positive listening figures for its first set of RAJAR audience figures, but within seven months of launch, the station's owners Border Radio Holdings opted for a complete relaunch.
Former Radio Trent presenter David Lloyd became the station's Managing Director and Programme Controller with ex-Trent colleagues including Tony Lyman, Gary Burton and Andy Marriott joining the presenting line-up. Other additions to the team included Steve Jordan (breakfast) and Bernie Keith (afternoons).
In May 2000, Century 106, along with the other Century stations in the North East and North West, were sold to Capital Radio. David Lloyd left the station to join Galaxy 105 in Leeds while presenter Adrian Allen walked out mid-show in protest. The sale to Capital brought an increase in the station's sports coverage - as emphasised in the slogan music, fun and football. More new presenters joined Century, including Ian Skye, Jason King, Stuart Ellis and Paula White.
When Capital later merged with GWR, the Office of Fair Trading ordered Century to be sold off. Chrysalis bought Century 106 for £29.5m and planned to rebrand the station as Heart 106, to go with 100.7 Heart FM in the West Midlands as the area matched that of the ITV Central region and would make it more attractive to advertisers.
Heart 106 was launched on 29 August 2005. A further, more subtle rebrand was applied in September 2006 which saw the dropping of the frequencies from station names across the Heart Network.
Following Global's takeover of GCap Media, the Office of Fair Trading again ordered Global to sell off Heart and four other Midlands stations - BRMB, Mercia FM, Wyvern FM and Beacon Radio. In May 2009, the stations were sold to Orion Media, a company backed by Lloyds TSB Development Capital and Phil Riley.
On 9 November 2010, Orion Media announced that Heart 106 would be relaunched and renamed as 'Gem 106' on 1 January 2011. Under the rebrand, the station ended its franchise agreement with Global Radio which allowed it to use the Heart identity and carry networked programming from London.
Gem 106 was launched at midnight on Saturday 1 January 2011 with a special programme presented by Orion's director of programming and marketing David Lloyd. The GEM name stands for 'Great East Midlands', the name created and used from 1988 onwards for GEM-AM (later Classic Gold GEM) an AM (medium wave), 'solid gold' secondary service of Radio Trent. The majority of the station's programming is locally produced and broadcast from Nottingham. The station also carries the nationally syndicated Vodafone Freebees Big Top 40 on Sunday afternoons.
As of early spring 2014, Gem refreshed their imaging and jingle package to bring them in line with other Orion owned stations, using the same package as the Free Radio network.
According to RAJAR figures up to December 2013, the station was listened to by 510,000 people (out of a possible 2,384,000 listeners) per week, with each listener tuning in for an average of 8.9 hours over the course of 7 days.
Notable current presenters
- Sam and Amy - Weekday Breakfast
- Andy Miller - Weekday Drivetime
- Ben Burrell
- Marvin Humes (The Vodafone Big Top 40)
- Kat Shoob (The Vodafone Big Top 40)
- "Mark Keen information". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "Radio Authority Century 106 file". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "History of radio in East Midlands". Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "Ofcom file: Details of Chrysalis" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "Ofcom file: Details of Chrysalis". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "Simon's Midlands FM Radio Stations". Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- Chrysalis sells three radio stations
- Gem to replace Heart East Mids
- Heart 106 to become a local Gem, Nottingham Evening Post, 9 November 2010