Real Radio Scotland is an Independent Local Radio station in Central and Southern Scotland. The station broadcasts from studios at Ballieston in the east end of the Glasgow on 100.3 & 101.1FM and on DAB. Global Radio acquired GMG Radio on 25 June 2012 with Real Radio now operated in a "hold separate" situation known as Real and Smooth Ltd.
In September 1994 Scot FM began broadcasting a regional 24-hour service to Central Scotland from studios in the Leith district of Edinburgh. Originally billed pre-launch as a relatively highbrow and primarily speech-based station, the station went through numerous format changes, financial difficulties and varying fortunes with listening figures. In June 2001, the Guardian Media Group acquired Scot FM from previous owners, the Wireless Group, for £25.5 million. Shortly afterwards, a major overhaul of the station was announced including an on-air rebrand, a move into new studios at Ballieston near Glasgow, a revamped programming line-up and a strengthened round-the-clock news service.Real Radio Scotland began broadcasting at 8am on Tuesday 8 January 2002 with breakfast presenter Robin Galloway introducing the first song to be played, A Star is Born.
Within a year of its launch, the station reached a record weekly audience of 614,000 listeners, and by 2004, further increased its audience to 688,000, placing Real Radio as the most listened to station in Scotland. By 2007, the station's audience share reached a record 31% but had fallen 10 per cent a year later.
In 2006 Real Radio Scotland attempted to increase its coverage area by applying for the new FM licence for Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire, but lost out to Original 106, which began broadcasting in October 2007. During the summer of 2008, the station introduced networked programming including evening & overnight output from Manchester and a Saturday morning show hosted by Chris Tarrant. Listeners' complaints led to the return of local night time output a few months later. The networked output was reintroduced during the summer of 2011.
Between 7 August 2006 and June 2009, the Irish-based sports broadcaster Setanta Sports simulcast Real Radio's weeknight football phone-in live twice a week on Setanta Sports 1. The station also carried live commentaries for some of the Scottish national team's matches and eight Scottish Premier League games during the season. Until the end of the 2011-12 season, the station also broadcast a Scottish football phone-in on weekday evenings and Saturday afternoons.
On 25 June 2012 it was announced Global Radio (the owner of stations such as Capital and Heart) had bought GMG Radio. The former GMG stations, including Real Radio, will continue to operate separately until a regulatory review is carried out. As of 5 November 2012, the station's local programming consists of daily breakfast and weekday drivetime shows from Glasgow with most non-peak output broadcast from Salford Quays.
Real Radio Scotland produces and broadcasts locally-produced news bulletins on the hour during the day with additional headline bulletins during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows at 30 minutes past the hour. Variations of these bulletins also air on sister stations 105.2 Smooth Radio in Glasgow and 96.3 Rock Radio in Renfrewshire with minor changes to suit the target audiences and, in the case of Rock Radio, to satisfy the Renfrewshire element of their licence.
Heather Kane is the head of news for GMG Radio's Scottish stations, assisted by Corrie Martin.