Heart West Country
|Broadcast area||Bristol, Somerset, Bath|
|Branding||This is the West Country's Heart|
|Slogan||More Music Variety|
|Frequency||96.3, 96.5, 97.1, 102.6 & 103.0 MHz
DAB in Bristol, Bath and Somerset,
|Format||Hot Adult Contemporary|
|Audience share||10.6% (December 2012, )|
|Website||Heart West Country|
Heart West Country is a local radio station owned and operated by Global Radio as part of the Heart network. It broadcasts to Bristol and Somerset. It launched on 16 July 2010 as a result of a merger between Heart Bristol (formerly GWR FM), Heart Bath (formerly GWR FM Bath) and Heart Somerset (formerly Orchard FM).
The regional station originally broadcast as three separate stations - GWR FM began broadcasting to Bristol in October 1985, following a merger between Radio West and Swindon's Wiltshire Radio. Two years later, GWR launched a separate service for the Bath area (although some local programming was simulcast with GWR Bristol). Meanwhile, Orchard FM began broadcasting to Somerset in November 1989 - the station was bought out by GWR Group as part of its acquisition of the Orchard Media Group ten years later.
In 2005, the GWR Group merged with Capital Radio to form GCap Media - shortly afterwards, Orchard FM and ten other stations (outside of the company's primary target area) were put on sale. The sale was called off a few months later because of lower than expected bids. In November 2008, GCap was taken over by Global Radio.
GWR in Bristol & Bath and Orchard FM were rebranded as Heart on 23 March 2009. On 21 June 2010, Global Radio announced it would merge the three stations as part of plans to reduce the Heart network of stations from 33 to 16. The new station began broadcasting from the 'West Country Broadcast Centre' in Bristol on Friday 16 July 2010, leading to the closure of studios in Taunton.
Local programming is produced and broadcast from Heart's Bristol studios from 6-10am and 4-7pm on weekdays, 1-5pm on Saturdays and 12pm-4pm on Sundays. All networked programming originates from Global Radio's London headquarters, including the syndicated Vodafone Big Top 40 on Sunday afternoons.
The station's local presenters include Ed Palmer, Paris Troy and Paulina Gillespie (Heart Breakfast) and Julian Jones (weekday drivetime).
Heart West Country broadcasts hourly local news bulletins from 6am-7pm on weekdays and 6am-12pm at weekends. The Bristol newsroom also produces local news for Heart Gloucestershire and Heart Wiltshire.
National news updates air hourly from Global's London headquarters at all other times.
- http://www.gcapmedia.com/assets/dynamic/87/files/full_interim_statement_and_numbers.doc Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
- Global Radio to halve number of local Heart stations, mediaguardian.co.uk, 21 June 2010 Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
- Heart slims but strengthens, RadioToday, 21 June 2010 Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite