Magic 105.4 FM
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Slogan||More of the Songs You Love|
Virgin Media: 928
|First air date||9 July 1990 (as Melody FM)|
Magic Radio is an adult contemporary Independent Local Radio and national radio station based in London owned by Bauer Radio. Magic Radio forms part of Bauer's National portfolio of radio brands. The station is available on 105.4 FM in London and across the UK on Digital Radio, App, DTV and online at magic.co.uk.
Magic Radio used to be part of a network of Magic stations also operated by Bauer. On 5 January 2015, Magic Radio launched nationally on DAB and all other Magic stations were dissolved to form the Bauer City 2 network.
On changing the station's name, Emap introduced automation for the first time - weekday afternoons were split with a 'non-stop music hour', first sponsored by the now defunct energy company Calortex, and later by the Emap-owned Red magazine. Magic was criticised for automating a further eleven hours of its daily output (7pm-6am) given the reach and size of the station.
In an attempt to cut costs, Magic began networking its mid-morning show, hosted by Richard Skinner, and automated overnight output with the eight other Magic Radio stations in the North of England in January 2002. Audience figures fell on all nine stations in the twelve months that followed, some arguing a lack of local content had driven listeners to tune away. Networking was ended in January 2003, although the eight 'northern' Magic stations continued to share a mid-morning show, hosted by Mark Thorburn, and were subsequently networked again, with the exception of local breakfast shows, following a repositioning of the northern Magic group in mid-2006. These stations were later rebranded into the Bauer City 2 network in 2015.
The end of networking heralded a programming shift; Magic adopting its 'more music, less talk' ethos. Former Capital FM head and radio consultant Richard Park was brought in to increase the station's audience share. In September 2003, Magic saw its first major revamp: live programming replaced automated output in the evening, and Independent Radio News-employed staff manned the station's daytime news output, removing shared presenting/newsreading responsibilities, a legacy from Melody FM. IRN retained the contract to supply Magic's news bulletins until 2015, when the service was brought in-house.
Later years saw a reliance on weekend celebrity-hosted content and large cash prizes to entice listeners - the award of £110,600 to Nicola Diss, the winner of the popular Magic Mystery Voices contest on 12 January 2006 was the largest cash prize given away on UK radio since 1999, a sum surpassed just a few months later by the prize collected by listener Dawn Muggleton in the Smooth Secret Song competition on London rival 102.2 Smooth FM, scooping £118,454 on 19 April 2006. However, Magic regained the honour on 30 March 2007 with listener Maria Crosskey winning £168,600 in a six-month-long Mystery Voices contest, although she was later disqualified (see 'Mystery Voices' below).
Magic, along with urban-music station Kiss and a number of other radio brands, broadcasts from Bauer Radio's headquarters in Golden Square. It had previously broadcast from studios on Winsley Street (Mappin House) until September 2014.
Magic launched two new digital-only sister stations in March 2016, which broadcast as part of the Sound Digital multiplex jointly owned by Bauer. The stations are Mellow Magic, a service of timeless relaxing classics, based on the successful Magic night-time programming strand of the same name, and Magic Chilled, a station in the DAB+ format - Bauer's first DAB+ service - playing laid back hits. Fran Godfrey has hosted the breakfast show on Mellow Magic, its only live programme, since the station's official launch.
Following the migration of other Bauer services (including Kisstory and Heat Radio) to SDL, some of the vacated space at local level was used during the spring of 2016 for a short-term pop-up Magic sibling, Magic ABBA, run as a commercial partnership with Mamma Mia!: the Musical. This temporary service was then replaced in the summer by soul music service Magic Soul Summer; initially intended as another short-term pop-up, the soul station ultimately remained active, truncating its name to Magic Soul from autumn 2016 onwards, and remains on air as the fourth station of the Magic network, with presenters including Lemar, Eloise Carr, Louise Molony and Miri Green.
There is also a complementary Magic-branded music television channel available on the Sky and Virgin Media digital TV platforms in the UK, operating as part of the Box Plus Network jointly owned by Bauer. The channel plays classic and contemporary melodic pop hits.
For a number of years, Magic ran a Mystery Voices competition in which listeners were required to guess the names of three celebrity voices. One said "Magic", the second "One-oh-five" and the third "Point-four". Every hour a listener guessed the names of the celebrities and for each failed attempt £100 was added to the prize fund. The competitions often ran for several months with the winner eventually receiving a prize potentially worth upwards of £100,000.
- In the first competition which ended on 29 June 2006 after five months, the celebrities were identified as Sara Dallin, Clive Anderson and Morten Harket, with the listener, Peter Loraine, winning £98,400.
- Nicola Diss won £110,600 for identifying Kurt Russell, Gloria Estefan and Matthew Wright.
- Barbara Way won £81,200 for naming Liza Tarbuck, Mariah Carey and John Travolta.
- In a marathon six-month contest, a woman claiming to be called Maria Crosskey won £168,600 for identifying Anjelica Huston, Rob Thomas and Sarah Lancashire at the end of March 2007. She was later disqualified for failing to 'comply with the rules of the competition' when she was identified as Bernadette Hurst, who had already won three prizes from the radio station, thereby breaking broadcasting rules that state any one listener cannot collect more than one cash prize in the same 12-month period. Emap decided to roll the prize fund over to the start of the next Mystery Voices contest, which began in August 2007.
- A competition commenced in August 2007. Due to the disqualification after the previous contest, the bonus for the first voice was set at £50,000, for the second voice another £50,000 and the jackpot for the third voice started at £69,000. The bonuses went on the second and fourth days of the competition, Paul Young and Pam Ferris being identified. The jackpot of £88,600 was won on 5 September 2007 by Gary Thompson who identified the third voice as that of Nigel Planer.
- In the competition that began in September 2007, the first name, Paul Carrack, was given in mid-November and a second, Chesney Hawkes a month later. On 1 February 2008, a man identified as Russell from Reading, correctly identified the third voice as Julie Delpy, winning £110,700.
- A new Mystery Voices contest began on 10 September 2012. It took until 18 January 2013 for listener James Olivier, from Wimbledon, to correctly identify the three voices as Emma Forbes, Nicky Clarke, and Magne Furuholmen to win the £100,000 jackpot.
- In July 2018 Mystery Voices returned this time with a prize fund of £250,000. The first round was won on 24th August where the voices were identified as Rob Brydon, Cheryl Crow and Martin Kemp. A new round started on 28th August.