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|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Slogan||"Everything that rocks"|
|First air date||2002 (digital)
10 June 2004 (FM)
|Sister stations||Absolute Radio
Kerrang! Radio or Kerrang! 105.2 is a specialist rock music radio station currently broadcasting to London on DAB and across the United Kingdom on Freeview and various online platforms. It is owned and operated by Bauer Radio and forms part of Bauer's National portfolio of radio brands.
In 2002, ahead of the advertisement of a new regional FM franchise for the West Midlands, Kerrang! broadcast a short-term Restricted Service Licence station to the area, transmitting from Birmingham City FC's ground.
Kerrang! Radio as a permanent service first launched in late 2002 as a largely automated rock music service delivered over the Freeview platform, as one of a suite of stations its parent company (then Emap) added to the then-new Freeview TV system, the others including fellow digital jukebox stations Smash Hits Radio, Q Radio and heat radio, and relays of London stations Kiss 100 and Magic 105.4 FM. This new Kerrang! Radio was also streamed online, and served as a sibling to Kerrang! TV which launched around the same time: these stations being connected with the Kerrang! print magazine in name, ownership and style.
This digital 'jukebox' version of Kerrang! was subsequently rolled out to DAB digital radio, beginning with transmission in London from 1 November 2003. The DAB service was extended to other areas from 2004, joining Emap-owned multiplexes in northern England (largely replacing The Hits Radio) and also made available on the regional multiplexes for the West Midlands and central Scotland.
Kerrang! successfully bid for the West Midlands regional FM franchise, and this service, based at new dedicated studios located in Lionel Street, Birmingham, went on air in June 2004, broadcast on the new 105.2 FM Midlands frequency, and taking the place of the prior digital Kerrang! Radio on DAB, TV platforms and online. This new station's format mixed modern and classic rock with speech content targeted at a young adult rock audience. In the FM era the station ran a somewhat more mainstream, adult-rock tone of daytime output than the magazine, featuring more indie and alternative rock than the magazine, which traditionally focused on heavier rock genres. The night shows were conversely very much fuelled by the traditional Kerrang! Magazine sound, with a wider and less mainstream style, playing a mix of punk and metal bands.
On 23 May 2013, Bauer Media announced that the output of older-skewing DAB rock station Planet Rock, which they had recently acquired, would become available on FM in the West Midlands, taking over the frequency then used by Kerrang! Radio from 14 June 2013. A reduced Kerrang! service would continue, with some of the same DJs, as a young-focused rock service on digital platforms (DAB, TV and online). All programming on both stations would come from Bauer's London premises, with the Birmingham studios closed. The digital footprint of Kerrang! was largely unchanged, though this was not universal and omitted some areas of the UK. In 2013, the closure of the MXR West Midlands regional DAB multiplex saw Kerrang! among several stations rolled down to the Birmingham-area local multiplex.
On 12 December 2014, carriage of Kerrang! Radio on DAB outside London ceased, with the station turning over almost all its transmission areas to Absolute Radio 90s; this was in preparation for the removal of Absolute 90s from Digital One in favour of Magic 105.4 FM in January 2015. Kerrang! remained available in London by moving to the slot previously home to Absolute Radio 00s. Kerrang! continues to broadcast nationally via Freeview and online platforms as before. The reduction in Kerrang!'s DAB footprint saw the station become unavailable to radio listeners in Birmingham, in the former FM licence area.
Following the departure of breakfast presenter Kate Lawler to Virgin Radio UK in 2016, a schedule reshuffle promoted Jake Thomson to breakfast, with his prior daytime show taken over by former In:Demand host Alex James.