Heart West Midlands
|Broadcast area||Birmingham and the West Midlands|
|Branding||This is Heart|
|Slogan||More Music Variety|
|First air date||6 September 1994|
|Audience share||7.1% (March 2014, )|
|Sister stations||Smooth West Midlands
Heart West Midlands is a regional radio station owned and operated by Global Radio as part of the Heart network. It broadcasts to the West Midlands from studios in Birmingham. It is aimed primarily at people aged 25 – 44.
Heart began broadcasting on Tuesday 6 September 1994, as 100.7 Heart FM being the UK's third Independent Regional Radio station, five days after Century Radio 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, Simply Red and Tina Turner. Reflecting this, its early slogan described the station as being "100.7 degrees cooler".
Its programming format was modified in 1996, a year after Chrysalis launched Heart 106.2 in London. The new format saw the "soft" AC music replaced with a generally more neutral Hot AC music playlist. This saw radio audience listening figures grow to equal that of local rival BRMB, which was for a long time undisputed number one commercial radio in the West Midlands. New disc-jockeys were brought in from other stations; Daryl Denham arrived in 2000 from Hallam FM's breakfast show in a high-profile move. Ian Danter and Carlos also arrived from BRMB.
One of Heart's most popular DJs, Tushar Makwana, was killed in 2004 following a burglary at his home which left him injured on his doorstep. The station's staff paid tribute to the presenter on-air, and campaigned for the person(s) responsible to be brought to justice. The station's reception area now includes a photographic tribute and plaque.
Following a corporate re-brand of the station, including a change of logo, the more contemporary look was soon reflected in the station's sound. The format is now described as more Hot AC and features more music from the likes of Natasha Bedingfield, James Blunt and Keane as well as soul music from the 1970s, branded as Club Classics. During this relaunch long-time DJs departed the station, such as Carlos, and Nick Piercey, to be replaced by younger DJs.
2005 saw the evacuation of its studios after West Midlands Police alerted staff and other civilians following a bomb alert in Birmingham's Broad Street complex. The station continued to operate initially relaying sister station LBC News 1152 before transmission switched to the studios of Century 106 (now Gem 106) in Nottingham which broadcast reports from DNN Journalists, who had to broadcast from a phone booth due to restrictions on the use of mobile phones.
On 11 September 2006, new station idents and jingles were used for the first time, and saw the station referred to purely as 'Heart' rather than '100.7 Heart fm'.
From 28 April 2008 Heart began simulcasting most of its programmes from Heart 106.2 in London. The station now carries seven hours of local programming from Birmingham during weekdays and four hours on Saturday and Sunday.
The station was housed in 111 Broad Street - the same building as Global Radio-owned sister stations Capital Birmingham and The Arrow. The Digital News Network (DNN) also broadcast from the building until it ceased transmission in August 2006, to be replaced by LBC, whose regional DAB service was fully rolled out on September 1. Regional news bulletins continues to be broadcast from the building on Heart and Capital. In April 2013 the station along with Capital Birmingham moved to new studios at Eleven Brindleyplace in central Birmingham.
The FM signal - 11kW ERP - is broadcast from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter, and is audible throughout a large part of the Midlands, including the East Midlands towns of Leicester, Derby and parts of Nottingham. It can be heard with fairly decent audible quality in Kingswood, Bristol. This is because Kingswood is very high up meaning there is a clear line of sight between the north and Kingswood. The station is available on DAB, thanks to eight transmitters throughout the West Midlands on the MXR 12A multiplex, with strong signals from The Wrekin and Ilmington in south Warwickshire.
Local programming is produced and broadcast from Heart's Birmingham 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 James and Rachel New (Heart Breakfast) and Steve Denyer (weekday drivetime).
Heart West Midlands broadcasts hourly regional news bulletins from 6am-7pm on weekdays and 6am-12pm at weekends. The Birmingham newsroom also produces bulletins for sister stations Capital Birmingham and Smooth West Midlands.
National news updates air hourly from Global's London headquarters at all other times.
Notable former presenters
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/3483125.stm DJ dies after gang robbery
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4668313.stm Birmingham threat 'real' - police
- Chrysalis sells three radio stations