Heart (radio network)
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Branding||This is Heart|
|Slogan||More Music Variety|
|First air date||1994 (Heart West Midlands)|
|Format||Rhythmic AC & Hot AC|
|Audience share||6.4% (June 2014RAJAR),|
|Sister stations||The Arrow, Capital, Capital Xtra, Chill, Classic FM, Gold, Jazz FM, LBC, Smooth, XFM|
Heart is a radio network of 21 adult contemporary local radio stations operated by Global Radio in the United Kingdom, broadcasting a mix of local and networked programming. Eighteen of the Heart stations are owned by Global, while the other three are operated under franchise agreements.
Heart began broadcasting on 6 September 1994, as 100.7 Heart FM being the UK's third Independent Regional Radio station, five days after Century Radio and Jazz FM North West. The first song to be played on 100.7 Heart FM was "Something Got Me Started", by Simply Red. Its original format of "soft adult contemporary" music included artists such as Lionel Richie, Simply Red and Tina Turner. Reflecting this, its early slogan was 100.7 degrees cooler!.
The Heart programming format was modified in 1996. The new format saw the "soft" AC music replaced with a generally more neutral Hot AC music playlist. Century 106 in the East Midlands became the third station of the Heart network in 2005 after GCap Media sold Century. Chrysalis' radio holdings were sold to Global Radio in 2007.
There are two theories of how the original Heart station was given its name. One is that it got its name from being based in the heart of Birmingham. The more commonly held theory is that it is taken from the phrase Heart of England which Birmingham and often the wider West Midlands region is often referred to as.
When GCap Media was taken over by Global Radio in 2008, it announced plans to dissolve the 41 station One Network, with one station (Power FM) becoming part of the Galaxy Network, four stations (BRMB, Beacon Radio, Mercia FM and Wyvern FM) forming a West Midlands regional network (which was latterly sold to Orion Media along with Heart 106), seven stations joining Capital FM to form The Hit Music Network and the remaining 29 stations forming the Heart Network. Heart East Midlands was sold to Orion Media due to the same competition concerns that had forced its earlier sale to Chrysalis.
Between June and September 2010, Global Radio merged the majority of the 33 Heart stations to create a smaller network of 18 local and regional stations, in line with new OFCOM guidelines on local output requirements. Two Hit Music Network stations were also closed and merged with Heart stations.
Stations in Gloucestershire, Kent, London, the West Midlands, the East Midlands and Wiltshire were unaffected by the changes. Heart Cymru, serving Gwynedd and Anglesey, moved its studios from Bangor to Wrexham but retained its extended local output of 10 hours on weekdays and 8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Heart North West and Wales retained an opt-out on 96.3FM (the North Wales Coast) for Welsh language programming.
On 1 January 2011, Orion Media, the owners of Heart East Midlands (one of the original three Heart stations) renamed and relaunched the station as 'Gem 106', ending a franchise agreement with Global Radio formed when Global purchased GCap - the agreement allowed Orion to use the Heart identity and carry networked programming from London. The move saw Heart's networked programming replaced by local output from Nottingham.
On 19 March 2012, Global Radio announced it had brought the Cornwall ILR station Atlantic FM from joint owners Tindle Radio and Camel Media. Atlantic FM became part of the Heart Network and merged with Heart Devon on Monday 7 May 2012 to form Heart South West, which is based in Exeter.
On 6 February 2014, Global Radio announced it would be rebranding all Real Radio stations as Heart and would be selling Real Radio Yorkshire and the Northern licence for Real Radio Wales to Communicorp. The Communicorp-owned stations use Heart's network programming and branding under a franchise agreement with Global.
Global Radio extended the Heart network to the Real Radio network of regional stations from Tuesday 6 May 2014. The two stations based in Wrexham - Heart North West and Wales and Heart Cymru - became part of the Capital FM Network on the same date.
List of stations
As of 6 May 2014, the Heart network comprises 21 stations:
Programming and presenters
Local programming is produced and broadcast live from the originating Heart station's studios. However, some news content is produced from neighbouring stations. For example, news bulletins for the network's West Country, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire stations are all produced from Bristol.
Notable current presenters
The network runs a separate playlist on certain stations during their local hours, in keeping with their softer Hot AC formats compared to the others which are more CHR orientated.
All 21 Heart stations broadcast local news bulletins each day - updates air hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 6am to 12pm at weekends.
In accordance with OFCOM speech requirements, stations in the North East and North West of England, South and West Yorkshire, Central and Southern Scotland, North and Mid Wales, South and Mid Wales and Cornwall also produce an extended ten-minute news programme, Heart Nightly News, at 6.45pm on weeknights.
On all Heart stations, short national news updates from Global's London headquarters air every hour at all other times, except during The Vodafone Big Top 40.
The Heart radio network used to us a jingle package, composed by the Seattle-based music production company IQ Beats, which also supplied packages for Global's Capital FM network, LBC and continues to produce imaging for Gold. The network's imaging voiceovers are Alex Hall and Dave Wartnaby while the sponsorship and promotion voiceovers are Jon Rand and Anna Butterfield.
There have been numerous criticisms made by listeners of the repetitive nature of Heart radio stations playlist in various outlets. A public complaint to the regulator OFCOM in 2012 that the "More Music Variety" slogan was materially misleading was not pursued as Ofcom deemed that it did not warrant further investigation. Ofcom stated that "We did not consider listeners were materially misled by this slogan.” 
Hall of Fame
At the end of 2012, the station polled their listeners, and compiled a list of the top 500 songs of all time.
- Adele - "Make You Feel My Love"
- Take That - "Never Forget"
- Michael Buble - "Home"
- George Michael - "Careless Whisper"
- Maroon 5 - "Moves Like Jagger"
- Robbie Williams - "Angels"
- Adele - "Rolling in the Deep"
- Whitney Houston - "I Have Nothing"
- Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"
- Take That - "Greatest Day"
- "wplj before Heart 106.2". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- "Heart slims but strengthens". Radio Today. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Plunkett, John (21 June 2010). "Global Radio to halve number of local Heart stations". mediaguardian.co.uk (London).
- "Gem to replace Heart East Mids". Radio Today. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Atlantic FM sold to Global to become Heart, RadioToday, 19 March 2012
- UKRD responds to Atlantic's Heart switch, RadioToday, 19 March 2012
- Martin, Roy (2014-02-06). "Communicorp buys 8 Global stations". RadioToday. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
- Global confirms Heart expansion details, Radio Today, 14 April 2014
- Official website featuring map showing Heart stations
- Public File - Heart North Wales Heart, 6 May 2014
- Plunkett, John (11 August 2010). "Global Radio faces Heart cuts protest". London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "Complaints Assessed, not Investigated". Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin 205. Ofcom. 8 May 2012. p. 32. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- being misleading OFCOM says Heart slogan isn't misleading, Radio Today, 8 May 2012