Real Radio XS
|Broadcast area||North East England, Yorkshire, Severn Estuary, North West England, West Midlands, Central Scotland & Greater London|
|Frequency||FM 106.1 MHz (Manchester) & DAB (North East, Yorkshire, Severn Estuary, North West, West Midlands, London (i) and Central Scotland)|
|First air date||5th September 2011 (All Platforms)|
|Audience share||(, )|
|Owner||Real and Smooth Radio|
|Sister stations||Real Radio, Smooth Radio|
|Website||Real Radio XS|
Real Radio XS is a radio station based in Salford, Manchester, broadcasting a variety of peak-time news, rock music and talk output. It broadcasts to North West England on FM & DAB; North East England, Yorkshire, Severn Estuary, London, Central Scotland and West Midlands on DAB.
On 25 June 2012 it was announced Global Radio had bought GMG Radio, however the former will continue to operate separately until a regulatory review is carried out, the future of Real Radio XS is unknown.
The station began test transmissions as 106.1 Rock Radio on FM on 10 April 2008. The transmitter is on top of the City Tower (the former Sunley Building) in Piccadilly in Manchester, the same place as 102 Capital FM and Xfm's transmitter and all 3 services share the same broadcast antenna system which is located on the centre transmission tower and is illuminated with red Aircraft warning lights at night.
The station organised a 'Free one day festival' to promote its launch, this was held at Cathedral Gardens, with headlining bands Bad Company and Gun with support acts Salford Jets, Letz Zep and Mercury. The performances started at 1:00pm with a countdown to 6:00pm when the station went live. The first voice heard on Rock Radio was the mid-morning presenter Moose.
Due to the mix of output, the original application was made under the name Rock Talk. The license competition included bids by existing licence holders Chrysalis and Emap as well as a number by smaller local groups. Chrysalis Radio's managing director expressed his surprise that the talk/rock hybrid won in preference to a dedicated talk or rock station, both of which had been offered by his group.
Following the award, a decision has been made to position the station as a sister to the newly-relaunched Scottish station 96.3 Rock Radio.
The then parent company GMG owns the local newspaper Manchester Evening News, a series of local newspapers, a city-wide terrestrial and national satellite TV station Channel M and the two regional licences for North West - Real Radio and Smooth Radio.
In the bid document the company promoted its capacity to operate a "quad-media" newsroom in the new headquarters of the Evening News, which would provide Rock Talk's news but be editorially independent.
On July 28, 2011 then Rock Radio owner GMG Radio announced that they were selling the Glasgow-based 96.3 Rock Radio station, and that the Manchester based service would be re-branded as Real Radio XS. In a press release, they said it was so that the service would 'benefit from the brand and scale of sister station Real Radio'.
At the end of August 2011 a further announcement came that the service would launch on September 5, 2011 and would be available over a much larger area, replacing Jazz FM, which had launched nationally via the Digital One DAB platform.
Alongside the name change, the relaunch also meant the end of networking with the Scottish 96.3 Real Radio XS service.
|FM||106.1||Manchester||FM||Known as 106.1 Real Radio XS|
|DAB||11D||Central Scotland||Switch Central Scotland|
|DAB||12A||Yorkshire & Humberside||MXR Yorkshire||Replaces Rock Radio|
|DAB||12A||West Midlands||MXR West Midlands||ReplacesJazz FM|
|DAB||12C||North East England||MXR North East||Replaces Rock Radio|
|DAB||12C||North West England||MXR North West||Replaces Jazz FM|
|DAB||12C||South Wales & Severn Estuary||MXR Severn Estuary||Replaces Rock Radio|
|0600 - 1000||Breakfast||Mike Sweeney|
|1000 - 1400||Daytime||Ricky Kirby|
|1400 – 1600||Afternoons||Mark|
|1600 - 1900||Drive time||Mark|
|1900 - 0600||The Rock Block||Automation|
In the event of holiday, relief presenters include Ricky Kirby and J Rock.
Weekend scheduling is officially listed as The Rock Block all day during Saturday and Sunday, although weekday presenters do appear on air during the main daytime period.
- GMG Radio sold to Global for £50m Mark Sweeney, The Guardian, 25 June 2012
- Global Radio seals £50m purchase of GMG Radio Maisie McCabe, Media Week, 25 June 2012
- Rock Talk
- Plunkett, John (8 February 2007). "Rock Talk wins Manchester bid". MediaGuardian (London: Guardian News and Media).
- RADIO TODAY - GMG drop Rock Radio for Real Radio XS
- RADIO TODAY - Jazz FM leaves regional DAB platforms