Heart (radio network)

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The Heart Network logo.svg
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
BrandingThis is Heart
SloganTurn up the Feel Good!
RDS: Heart___ (Varies)
First air date1994 (Heart West Midlands)
FormatRhythmic AC & Hot AC
Sister stationsCapital FM
Capital Xtra
Classic FM
Heart 80s
Heart Extra
Smooth Radio
Radio X

Heart is a radio network of 33 adult contemporary local stations operated by Global in the United Kingdom, broadcasting a mix of local and networked programming. Nineteen of the Heart stations are owned by Global, while the other three are operated under franchise agreements.



Heart began broadcasting on 6 September 1994 as 100.7 Heart FM, being the UK's third Independent Regional Radio station, five days after Century Radio in North East England, and Jazz FM North West. The first song to be played on 100.7 Heart FM was "Something Got Me Started", by Simply Red. Its original format of "soft adult contemporary" music included artists such as Lionel Richie, Tina Turner and Simply Red. Reflecting this, its early slogan was 100.7 degrees cooler!

Heart 106.2 began test transmissions in London in August 1995, prior to the station launch on 5 September. This included live broadcasts of WPLJ from New York City.[1]

In 1996, the Heart programming format saw the "soft AC" music replaced with a generally more neutral "hot AC" playlist. Century 106 in the East Midlands became the third station of the Heart network in 2005 after GCap Media sold Century. Chrysalis' radio holdings were sold to Global Radio in 2007.

When GCap Media was taken over by Global Radio in 2008, it announced plans to dissolve the 41-station One Network, with one station (Power FM) becoming part of the Galaxy network, four stations (BRMB, Beacon Radio, Mercia FM and Wyvern FM) forming a West Midlands regional network (which was latterly sold to Orion Media along with Heart 106), seven stations joining Capital FM to form The Hit Music Network and the remaining 29 stations forming the Heart Network. Heart East Midlands was sold to Orion Media due to the same competition concerns that had forced its earlier sale to Chrysalis.

Network restructuring[edit]

Between June and September 2010, Global Radio merged the majority of the 33 Heart stations to create a smaller network of 18 local and regional stations, in line with new OFCOM guidelines on local output requirements.[2][3] Two Hit Music Network stations were also closed and merged with Heart stations.

Merged station Closed stations Studios
Heart Cambridgeshire Heart Peterborough
Heart Cambridge
Peterborough later Cambridge
Heart Devon
(later Heart South West)
Heart Exeter and Heart Torbay
Heart Plymouth
Heart South Devon
Heart North Devon
Heart East Anglia Heart Norwich
Heart Ipswich
Heart Essex Heart Chelmsford & Southend
Heart Colchester
Ten 17 (rebranded)
Heart Hertfordshire Rebranded from Hertfordshire's Mercury 96.6 Watford
Heart Four Counties Heart Northants
Heart Milton Keynes
Heart Dunstable
Heart Bedford
Dunstable, later Milton Keynes
Heart North West and Wales Heart North Wales Coast
Heart Cheshire and North East Wales
Heart Wirral
Heart South Coast Heart Dorset & New Forest
Heart Hampshire
Heart Sussex and Surrey Heart Sussex
Mercury FM (rebranded)
Heart Thames Valley Heart Berkshire
Heart Oxfordshire
Heart West Country Heart Bristol
Heart Somerset
Heart Bath

Stations in Gloucestershire, Kent, London, the West Midlands, the East Midlands and Wiltshire were unaffected by the changes. Heart Cymru, serving Gwynedd and Anglesey, moved its studios from Bangor to Wrexham but retained its extended local output of 10 hours on weekdays and 8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Heart North West and Wales retained an opt-out on 96.3FM (the North Wales Coast) for Welsh language programming.

On 1 January 2011, Orion Media, the owners of Heart East Midlands (one of the original three Heart stations) renamed and relaunched the station as 'Gem 106', ending a franchise agreement with Global Radio formed when Global purchased GCap – the agreement allowed Orion to use the Heart identity and carry networked programming from London.[4] The move saw Heart's networked programming replaced by local output from Nottingham.

Network expansion[edit]

On 19 March 2012, Global Radio announced it had bought the Cornwall ILR station Atlantic FM from joint owners Tindle Radio and Camel Media.[5] Atlantic FM became part of the Heart Network and merged with Heart Devon on Monday 7 May 2012 to form Heart South West, which is based in Exeter.[6]

On 6 February 2014, Global Radio announced it would be rebranding all Real Radio stations as Heart and would be selling Real Radio Yorkshire and the Northern licence for Real Radio Wales to Communicorp. The Communicorp-owned stations use Heart's network programming and branding under a franchise agreement with Global.[7]

Global Radio extended the Heart network to the Real Radio network of regional stations from Tuesday 6 May 2014.[8] The two stations based in Wrexham – Heart North West and Wales and Heart Cymru – became part of the Capital FM Network on the same date.

On 20 November 2017, CN Group announced The Bay would be sold to Global along with sister station Lakeland Radio – the sale was finalised by 1 December 2017.[9] The Bay was rebranded as Heart, with Lakeland Radio becoming Smooth on 4 March 2018.[10]


In February 2019, following OFCOM's decision to relax local content obligations from commercial radio, it was announced Heart would replace its local breakfast and weekend shows with additional networked programming from London by the end of the year. This reduces total weekly hours of local programming on each station from 43 to 15.[11]

Drivetime output will be reduced from 23 localised shows to ten programmes covering enlarged areas, formed from the merger of Heart stations. Ten studios currently producing local output will close.[12] Local news, traffic updates and advertising will be retained across all stations.[citation needed]

List of stations[edit]

On 4 March 2018 the Heart network had 22 stations:[13]

Programming and notable presenters[edit]

Some weekend output is voice-tracked. Other programming is broadcast live from Heart's network studios in Leicester Square, London.[14]

Local programming is produced and broadcast from the originating Heart station's studios. Some news content is produced from neighbouring stations. For example, news bulletins for the network's West Country, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire stations are all produced from Bristol.[citation needed]

Networked presenters[edit]

Local presenters[edit]

Former presenters[edit]


All 22 Heart stations broadcast local news bulletins each day – updates air hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 6am to 12pm at weekends.

In accordance with OFCOM speech requirements, stations in the North East and North West of England, South and West Yorkshire, Central and Southern Scotland, North and Mid Wales, South and Mid Wales and Cornwall also produce two extended bulletins on weekdays featuring sports, showbiz and weather, Heart Morning News from 6am to 6.06am and Heart Nightly News from 6:45pm to 6:57pm.[15]

On all Heart stations, short national news updates, read by LBC's duty newscaster, from Global's London headquarters air every hour at all other times, except during The Big Top 40.

Network presentation[edit]

As of 2014, the network uses jingles and themes produced by ReelWorld Europe, based in Salford.[16]

Previously, Heart used a jingle package, composed by the Seattle-based music production company IQ Beats,[17]


In August 2010, listeners in Bedfordshire and Crawley, West Sussex complained about the merger of Heart stations and called for a boycott of the station.[18]

There have been numerous criticisms made by listeners of the repetitive nature of Heart radio stations playlist in various outlets. A public complaint to the regulator Ofcom in 2012 that the "More Music Variety" slogan was materially misleading was not pursued as Ofcom deemed that it did not warrant further investigation.[19] Ofcom stated that "We did not consider listeners were materially misled by this slogan."[20]

Hall of Fame[edit]

At the end of 2012, the station polled their listeners, and compiled a list of the top 500 songs of all time.[21]

  1. Adele – "Make You Feel My Love"
  2. Take That – "Never Forget"
  3. Michael Bublé – "Home"
  4. George Michael – "Careless Whisper"
  5. Maroon 5 – "Moves Like Jagger"
  6. Robbie Williams – "Angels"
  7. Adele – "Rolling in the Deep"
  8. Whitney Houston – "I Have Nothing"
  9. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"
  10. Take That – "Greatest Day"

Networked slogans[edit]

  • 1995–1996: "106.2 degrees cooler"
  • 1996–2017: "More Music Variety"
  • 2017–Present: "Turn Up the Feel Good"
  • Heart Breakfast's slogan: "[city/region]'s favourite Breakfast Show"


  1. ^ "wplj before Heart 106.2". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Heart slims but strengthens". Radio Today. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  3. ^ Plunkett, John (21 June 2010). "Global Radio to halve number of local Heart stations". mediaguardian.co.uk. London.
  4. ^ "Gem to replace Heart East Mids". Radio Today. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  5. ^ Atlantic FM sold to Global to become Heart, RadioToday, 19 March 2012
  6. ^ UKRD responds to Atlantic's Heart switch, RadioToday, 19 March 2012
  7. ^ Martin, Roy (6 February 2014). "Communicorp buys 8 Global stations". RadioToday. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  8. ^ Global confirms Heart expansion details, Radio Today, 14 April 2014
  9. ^ The Bay Radio Sold To Global Entertainment Group, The Bay, 20 November 2017
  10. ^ Plans announced for The Bay and Lakeland Radio – RadioToday, Radio Today, 8 January 2018
  11. ^ Global to network Capital, Heart and Smooth breakfast shows, RadioToday, 26 February 2019
  12. ^ Global to network Capital, Heart and Smooth breakfast shows, RadioToday, 26 February 2019
  13. ^ "Official website featuring map showing Heart stations". Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  14. ^ Public File – Heart North Wales Archived 12 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Heart, 6 May 2014
  15. ^ Heart public file
  16. ^ Heart gets new jingles and themes from ReelWorld, RadioToday, 9 September 2015
  17. ^ IQ Beats – Heart jingles
  18. ^ Plunkett, John (11 August 2010). "Global Radio faces Heart cuts protest". London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Complaints Assessed, not Investigated" (PDF). Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin 205. Ofcom. 8 May 2012. p. 32. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  20. ^ being misleading OFCOM says Heart slogan isn't misleading, Radio Today, 8 May 2012
  21. ^ "Heart's Hall of Fame: The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Heart. 1 January 2013.

External links[edit]