Greatest Hits Radio
|Broadcast area||Northern England, West Midlands and Scotland|
|Slogan||The Good Times Sound Like This|
|Frequency||MW: 828 – 1584 kHz|
FM: 96.5 – 105.9 MHz
|First air date||5 January 2015|
|Format||Oldies and specialist music|
|Sister stations||Absolute Radio|
Greatest Hits Radio is a network of 18 local radio stations in Northern England, the West Midlands and Scotland, owned and operated by Bauer Radio. The stations air a mainly networked schedule of classic hits music, alongside local news and travel. The network launched on Monday 5 January 2015.
The stations which form the Greatest Hits Radio network are predominantly AM sister stations of 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 told by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to stop simulcasting on both FM and AM in the late 1980s. The exception to this is the FM station West Sound (Dumfries and Galloway).
In Northern England, the stations were latterly rebranded as Magic – a station brand first used by Radio Aire upon the launch of their AM station in July 1990. The stations gradually began to network 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.
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.
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). Magic's AM network closed with the London equivalent, Magic 105.4 FM, being launched nationwide on DAB.
The schedules for the stations were announced in December 2014. The two previous networks serving Scotland (The Greatest Hits Network) and northern England (Magic AM) were replaced by one carrying programming from both Scotland and England over all stations. The relaunch took place on Monday 5 January 2015.
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).
On 7 January 2019, Greatest Hits Radio replaced the Bauer City 2 branding. Local station identities in Northern England were rebranded to GHR, with Scottish stations retaining their local brands. Greatest Hits Radio also become available on FM across the West Midlands for the first time.It also began broadcasting across most of the UK on DAB (Digital Radio) using various local multiplexes.
- Coventry & Warwickshire – 1359 AM; DAB
- East Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire – 1161 AM; DAB
- Herefordshire & Worcestershire – DAB only
- Lancashire – 999 AM; DAB
- Liverpool, North West & North Wales – 105.9 FM; DAB
- Manchester – 1152 AM; DAB
- North East – 1152 AM; DAB
- South Yorkshire – 990, 1305, 1548 AM; DAB
- Teesside – 1170 AM; DAB
- West Midlands – 105.2 FM; DAB
- West Yorkshire – 828 AM; DAB
- Clyde 2 – Glasgow and the West of Scotland 1152 AM; DAB
- Forth 2 – Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife 1548 AM; DAB
- Tay 2 – Tayside 1161, 1584 AM; DAB
- Northsound 2 – Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; DAB
- MFR 2 – Scottish Highlands, Moray and Orkney 1107 AM; DAB
- West Sound – Ayrshire 1035 AM; DAB
- West Sound – Dumfries and Galloway 96.5, 97.0, 103.0 FM
Programming and presenters
Greatest Hits Radio runs two separate networks for Scotland and England, largely carrying their own programming, although some off-peak output is broadcast across both networks.
In England, Greatest Hits Radio's programming is broadcast from the network's Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham studios and from Bauer's Golden Square headquarters in Soho. Scottish network output originates from the studios of Clyde 2 in Glasgow and Tay 2 in Dundee.
Opt-outs and variations
The three FM stations in the network carry additional local opt-out programming:
- In Dumfries and Galloway, West Sound broadcasts eight hours of local programming on weekdays (6-10am and 3-7pm) and four hours at weekends (2-6pm on Saturdays and 12-4pm on Sundays).
- In the West Midlands, a regional drivetime show airs each weekday from 4pm to 7pm.
- In Liverpool, the North West and North Wales, a weekly late-night talk show, presented by Pete Price, airs from 10pm-1am on Sundays, simulcast with Radio City Talk.
All stations in the network carry their own local news bulletins hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Headlines are broadcast on the half-hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside local traffic bulletins. National news updates also air on the national version of Greatest Hits Radio in place of the local bulletins. Extended five-minute bulletins air at 1pm on weekdays on Scottish stations.
At weekends, bespoke networked bulletins air 2-6pm on Saturdays and 2-7pm on Sundays in Scotland, produced by Clyde 1. At all other times, mainly evening and overnight, hourly national bulletins originate from Sky News Radio.
- Schedule released for Bauer City 2 stations Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, RadioToday, 19 December 2014
- Magic AM starts networking at breakfast, RadioToday, 15 February 2013
- Galloway goes national at Bauer Scotland, RadioToday, 3 June 2013
- Major brand swap for Bauer's local stations, RadioToday, 28 September 2014
- Simon Ross moves to Radio City 2 Breakfast, RadioToday, 30 November 2015
- Date set for Radio City 2 and 3 frequency swap, RadioToday, 16 November 2015
- Northsound 2 to switch off AM radio service, Radio Today, 8 March 2018
- BAUER MEDIA TO LAUNCH THE GREATEST HITS RADIO NETWORK Bauer Media, 15 November 2018
- Bauer Media to launch Greatest Hits Radio network Radio Today, 15 November 2018