Radio City Talk
|Broadcast area||Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales (both original and current)|
|Slogan||Rock, Sport and Talk|
|Frequency||AM: 1548 kHz
|First air date||28 January 2008|
|Format||Talk, news, music|
|Audience share||0.8% (December 2012, )|
|Sister stations||Radio City
Radio City 2
Radio City 3
Radio City Talk is an Independent Local Radio station in Liverpool, England. The station was awarded a licence by Ofcom on 9 November 2006 and the station launched on 28 January 2008. City Talk is a sister station to the existing Bauer Radio-owned Radio City and Radio City 2, and the stations share studio premises at the top of Radio City Tower in Liverpool city centre. The station broadcasts on AM, on the Bauer Liverpool DAB multiplex, and online. The station is owned & operated by Bauer Radio and forms part of Bauer's City network of stations.
Radio City Talk has made a number of changes to its format during its history.
Initial format (January 2008 – June 2009)
The original team of presenters on the station included actors Margi Clarke and Dean Sullivan, horse racing commentator Paul Jacobs, football personalities Ian St John and John Aldridge, broadcaster Kim Hughes, veteran talk show hosts Pete Price and Roy Basnett, and newspaper journalists Larry Nield and Brian Reade. Trisha Goddard also hosted a Sunday evening show called Talk to Trisha, broadcast down-the-line from the presenter's home in Norwich.
Regular news, sport and business bulletins were broadcast, as well as lifestyle, celebrity and comedy features.
In its first RAJAR released on the station's first anniversary, City Talk 105.9 had a weekly audience of 63,000 listeners and a total of 364,000 listening hours (averaging at 5.8 hours per listener). The business plan for the station anticipated the audience would be around 75,000 listeners, tuning in for 5 hours a week, producing 375000 listening hours each week. Furthermore, according to an analysis of RAJAR figures, the station only recorded a 4% listening share.
Second format (June 2009 – January 2010)
In March 2009, Ofcom published a request from Bauer Radio to change the format of City Talk. The new format would retain all-speech programming at weekday breakfast & drivetime and weekend late breakfast. On weekdays, non-peak output during daytime hours would be mixed speech and soft pop-led music. Outside of weekday daytime, the new format would allow shared programming with Bauer's other Liverpool stations. The move was taken due to concerns within Bauer about the commercial viability of City Talk as a format. Research conducted by Bauer in support of the move suggested that those listeners who were actively choosing not to listen to the station as an all-talk service would reconsider the station were music included alongside the speech content.
Ofcom granted permission for the format change on 12 May 2009, although the new licence still required the station to air late night phone-ins and Saturday afternoon sports coverage, in addition to the daytime talk programming requested by Bauer. Bauer was also told that the simulcasting of Magic 1548 content onto the City Talk frequency would not be permitted, but that some programming elements could be shared with Radio City.
On 21 June 2009, the station went live with their new talk-music format.
Third format (January 2010 – December 2015)
In January 2010, the station changed its format again, to operate a news-and-music mix. This saw extended news bulletins airing every 20 minutes (updated hourly, with more frequent updates during major breaking events), and soft adult contemporary music in between bulletins. This format aired for much of the day, except during the remaining presenter-led shows, such as the Pete Price phone in on Sunday - Thursday evenings and sports coverage, simulcast with Radio City. Later, the station reintroduced live all-speech breakfast and drive time programmes on weekdays, presented by Mick Coyle and Adam Catterall.
Fourth format and frequency switch (December 2015 - present)
In July 2015, Bauer submitted a formal request to OFCOM to swap City Talk's service with that of Radio City 2. The company proposed reformating City Talk as a rock music station incorporating local news and sports coverage on Radio City 2's current AM frequency of 1548 AM. The request, which also removes requirements for all-speech shows at peak times and a late night phone-in, was approved three months later.
The switchover to the new rock, sports and talk format and transmission on AM took place on Monday 7 December 2015. Radio City Talk relaunched with a full schedule of live shows on weekdays, presented by Steve Hothersall (The Big Kick Off), Mick Coyle (Liverpool Live) and Adam Caterall (Full Time) with the Pete Price phone-in simulcast on Radio City Talk and Radio City 2. Weekend programming consists of specialist, sport and music output.
The earlier City Talk experiment
The current City Talk is not the first time Radio City have operated a speech service for Liverpool. City Talk previously existed on 1548 kHz - Radio City's MW frequency - between 1989 and 1991, initially as an opt-out between the hours of 0700 and 1900 on weekdays (sharing content with Radio City's FM service outside these times). This approach differed from that taken by many other stations, which had begun launching "oldies" format stations on their former AM frequencies.
Despite a speech format being suited to AM, it was not a success. It became Radio City Gold 1548, which itself was later rebranded as part of the Magic AM network to Magic 1548. In 2015, the Magic AM stations were rebranded back to their local identities as part of the new Bauer City 2 network, and Magic 1548, which became Radio City 2 before switching frequencies with Radio City Talk.
The station is targeted for listeners in North Wales, Cheshire and Liverpool however extensive broadcasts can be heard in Greater Manchester and Staffordshire.
- Ofcom document on 2009 proposals (PDF)
- Ofcom grant of permission for 2009 changes
- Ofcom lets Bauer put music on its Liverpool all-talk station, guardian.co.uk, 12 May 2009
- Radio City wants to swap AM & FM services, RadioToday, 21 July 2015
- OFCOM statement on Radio City 2 and City Talk format change requests, 29 October 2015
- Date set for Radio City 2 and 3 frequency swap, RadioToday, 16 November 2015
- Simon Ross moves to Radio City 2 Breakfast, RadioToday, 30 November 2015
- Official website
- Radio City is talk of town in airwaves win (Liverpool Echo, 10 November 2006)
- CityTalk comes to Liverpool (Radio City news)
- Ofcom awards new FM commercial radio licence for Liverpool (Ofcom press release)
- Talk of the Town (Liverpool Confidential)
- Talk spills the beans about line-up for Liverpool launch (How-Do)