Greatest Hits Radio
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Branding||The Greatest Hits Radio Network|
|Slogan||The Good Times Sound Like This|
The Greatest Hits For (TSA)
|Frequency||MW: 828 – 1584 kHz|
FM: 96.5 – 105.9 MHz
RDS: Grt Hits
|First air date||5 January 2015 as Bauer City 2|
7 January 2019 as Greatest Hits Radio
|Format||Classic hits and specialist music|
|Sister stations||Country Hits Radio|
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.
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, 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.
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 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. Greatest Hits Radio UK began broadcasting across most of the UK on DAB (Digital Radio) using various local multiplexes.
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.
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.
Stations joining the network in 2020
- East of England
- Rutland Radio (Stamford & Rutland)
- Southern England
- South West England
- Compass FM (North East Lincolnshire)
- Dearne FM (Barnsley, Penistone and the Dearne Valley)
- Minster FM (York and North Yorkshire)
- Radio Aire (Leeds and West Yorkshire)
- Ridings FM (Wakefield)
- Rother FM (Rotherham)
- Stray FM (Harrogate / Ripon, Yorkshire Dales)
- Trax FM (Doncaster & Bassetlaw)
- Yorkshire Coast Radio (Bridlington / Scarborough)
- In addition, two stations owned by Nation Broadcasting will also join GHR, with their own separate Drivetime shows and network programmes supplied by Bauer at other times:
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
- 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.
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.
- Schedule released for Bauer City 2 stations Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, RadioToday, 19 December 2014
- New Greatest Hits Radio network confirmed for 2019
- 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
- Most of acquired Bauer stations to become Greatest Hits Radio Stuart Clarkson, Radio Today, 27 May 2020
- Bauer starts to roll out Hits and Greatest Hits to new radio stations Stuart Clarkson, Radio Today, 9 July 2020
- Radio Aire to become Greatest Hits Radio, Radio Today, 16 July 2020