Greatest Hits Radio

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Greatest Hits Radio
GHR logo.png
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
BrandingThe Greatest Hits Radio Network
SloganThe Good Times Sound Like This
The Greatest Hits For (TSA)
FrequencyMW: 828 – 1584 kHz
FM: 96.5 – 105.9 MHz
RDS: Grt Hits
DAB
Freeview 716
First air date5 January 2015 as Bauer City 2
7 January 2019 as Greatest Hits Radio
FormatClassic hits and specialist music
Language(s)English
OwnerBauer
Sister stationsCountry Hits Radio
Hits Radio
Websitehttps://planetradio.co.uk/greatest-hits/

Greatest Hits Radio is a classic hits radio network in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by Bauer. The stations generally air networked programming, alongside local news and travel.

The network launched on 5 January 2015 as the "Bauer City 2 Network",[1] and rebranded on 7 January 2019.[2]

As of 13 July 2020, the network consists of 35 local radio stations in England and Scotland, as well as a national DAB station[2] in areas not served by a local Bauer-owned station.

Origins[edit]

The stations forming the Greatest Hits Radio network are predominantly sister stations to the corresponding Hits Radio network station. Many were originally set up as a 'Gold' counterpart (e.g. Radio City Gold in Liverpool) when stations were instructed by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to cease simulcasting their services on both FM and AM in the late 1980s. The main exception to this was FM station West Sound in Dumfries and Galloway.

In Northern England, the stations were rebrande a d as Magic in 1997 – a station brand first used by Radio Aire upon the launch of their AM station in July 1990. The stations gradually began to form a network merging most of their schedule, and by March 2013, the only local content consisted of three regional breakfast shows on weekdays, serving the North West, the North East and Yorkshire.[3]

In Scotland, local programming on AM stations was largely retained until networking outside of weekday breakfast and specialist shows was introduced in June 2009. In July 2013, the remaining local output was axed, leading to a fully networked schedule known as The Greatest Hits Network.[4]

In September 2014, Bauer Radio announced it would rebrand the Magic stations under localised identities, based on the main FM station names (e.g. Magic 1152 in Manchester becomes Key 2, based on Key 103).[5] Magic's AM network closed with the London equivalent, Magic 105.4 FM, launched nationwide on DAB.

The relaunch took place on Monday 5 January 2015. Initially, the two networks serving Scotland (The Greatest Hits Network) and northern England (Magic AM) were replaced by one carrying programming from both nations over all stations, with some peak time opt-outs. Further split programming for the two nations was reintroduced the following year.

Developments[edit]

On 7 December 2015, Radio City 2 in Liverpool swapped frequencies with sister station Radio City Talk on 105.9 FM and reintroduced local programming at peak times.[6][7]

In April 2018, Northsound 2 ceased analogue broadcasting on 1035 AM, becoming the first commercial radio station in Scotland – and the first local Bauer-owned station – to broadcast only on digital platforms (DAB and online).[8]

On 4 June 2018, Key 2 in Manchester was rebranded as Key Radio, in tandem with Key 103's relaunch as Hits Radio.

On 7 January 2019, Greatest Hits Radio replaced the Bauer City 2 branding due to the success of Radio City 2 in Liverpool. Local station identities in Northern England were rebranded to GHR, with Scottish stations retaining their local brands. Greatest Hits Radio also became available on FM across the West Midlands for the first time.[9][10] Greatest Hits Radio UK began broadcasting across most of the UK on DAB (Digital Radio) using various local multiplexes.

Network expansion[edit]

In May 2020, Bauer announced 48 local radio stations in England and South West Wales will rebrand and join the Greatest Hits Radio network, following the acquisition of licences from UKRD, Wireless Group, Lincs FM Group and Celador.[11]

Most of the stations will be merged and carry networked output, alongside a regional Drivetime show on weekdays and localised news, travel and advertising.

On 13 July 2020, the former Wireless Group and Celador-owned stations joined the Greatest Hits Radio network. In total, 19 stations will carry local breakfast shows and voicetracked programming whilst retaining separate branding until the full relaunch on 1 September 2020.[12]

On 16 July 2020, Bauer announced Radio Aire would switch from the sister Hits Radio Network and rebrand as Greatest Hits Radio, merging with twelve stations in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.[13]

Stations[edit]

UK

Region Station Broadcast area
National Greatest Hits Radio UK United Kingdom
East of England The Beach Great Yarmouth / Lowestoft
Dream 100 FM Colchester
North Norfolk Radio Cromer / Sheringham
Radio Norwich 99.9 Norwich
Town 102 Ipswich
The Midlands Greatest Hits Radio West Midlands Herefordshire / Worcestershire / West Midlands (county)
Peak FM North Derbyshire
Signal 2 Stoke-on-Trent
Signal 107 Wolverhampton / Shrewsbury / Telford
North East England Greatest Hits Radio North East County Durham / Northumberland / Tyne and Wear
Greatest Hits Radio Teesside County Durham / North Yorkshire / Teesside
North West England Greatest Hits Radio Lancashire Lancashire
Greatest Hits Radio Liverpool, North West & North Wales Cheshire / Merseyside / North Wales
Greatest Hits Radio Manchester Greater Manchester
Radio Wave 96.5 Blackpool
Tower FM Bolton / Bury
Wire FM Warrington / Runcorn
Wish FM Wigan / St. Helens
Scotland Clyde 2 Glasgow / West of Scotland
Forth 2 Edinburgh / Lothians / Fife
Moray Firth Radio Scottish Highlands / Moray / Orkney
Northsound 2 Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire
Tay 2 Tayside
West Sound (Ayrshire) Ayrshire
West Sound (Dumfries and Galloway) Dumfries and Galloway
South of England The Breeze (Basingstoke & North Hampshire) Basingstoke & North Hampshire
The Breeze (North Dorset) North Dorset
West and South West of England The Breeze (South West) Bath, Bridgwater, Bristol, Taunton, West Somerset, Warminster, Frome, Westbury, North Somerset and Trowbridge
The Breeze (Bridgwater & West Somerset) Bridgwater, Sedgemoor, Taunton, West Somerset
The Breeze (Yeovil & South Somerset) Yeovil, South Somerset and West Dorset
The Breeze 105.5 (South Devon) Torbay and South Devon
Yorkshire Greatest Hits Radio East Yorkshire East Riding of Yorkshire / North Lincolnshire
Greatest Hits Radio Leeds & West Yorkshire West Yorkshire
Greatest Hits South Yorkshire North Midlands / South Yorkshire
Pulse 2 Bradford

Stations joining the network in 2020[edit]

Programming[edit]

Daytime programming for England originates from Bauer's Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester studios, plus their Golden Square headquarters in Soho. In Scotland, it originates from Bauer's Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow studios.

Late-night and overnight programming airs across all Greatest Hits Radio stations in England and Scotland from the Birmingham or Manchester studios.

Opt-outs and variations[edit]

  • Most stations previously owned by Celador and The Wireless Group currently air local or regional breakfast shows each weekday from 6-10am. Voicetracked networked output is aired at all other times.
    • In the North East and Teesside, Night Owls, a weekly late-night talk show presented by Alan Robson, airs from 10pm to 2am on Sundays.
    • In the West Midlands, a regional drivetime show airs each weekday from 4pm to 7pm.

News[edit]

Bauer's newsrooms across the UK air news bulletins hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 7am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Headlines are broadcast on the half-hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside traffic bulletins.

At weekends, bespoke networked news bulletins air during the afternoon produced by the Bauer newsroom in Glasgow for Scotland and usually either Leeds or Manchester for England and Wales. At all other times, mainly evening and overnight, hourly national bulletins originate from Sky News Radio.

Notable presenters[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]