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|Frequency||1260 AM (North Wales/West Cheshire)
1305 & 1359 AM and DAB (South Wales)
DAB (Northwest Wales)
|First air date||11 March 1980 (South Wales)
5 September 1983 (North Wales)
24 March 2014 (as Smooth)
|Sister stations||Capital FM
Smooth Wales is an Independent Local Radio station broadcasting to the Cardiff area of South Wales and to the Wrexham area of North Wales, as well as parts of Cheshire in England. All programming content is now shared to both areas. It is the only AM station in the Smooth radio network to have its own content, a local four-hour weekday show, as all other Smooth AM stations, as added to the network in 2014, carry the London network FM content, opting out only for local news and advertising breaks. The local show on Smooth Wales was carried over from the station's previous incarnation as Gold.
Prior to 1999
The two stations now broadcasting as Smooth in Wales were originally the AM frequencies of separate ILR stations in North and South Wales. CBC launched to Cardiff in April 1980, and Marcher Sound broadcast to Wrexham and Deeside from September 1983. Both launched with FM and AM transmission. Initially, each station broadcast its own local programmes on both frequencies but, later, following the lead of Capital Radio in London and others, split their transmissions: CBC, which became Red Dragon in 1985, split off its AM frequencies as Touch Radio in 1990, and at around the same time Marcher Sound's AM franchise became Marcher Gold. The stations continued to exist as separate entities throughout this era.
1999-2007: joining networks
Both Touch Radio and Marcher Gold would later go on to join network services after their parent stations were absorbed into larger entities. Capital Radio Group purchased Red Dragon and Touch Radio in 1999, and as a result the AM service joined the Capital Gold network, which was also being rolled out to other AM stations owned by the group. (Red Dragon on FM would retain its local programming and identity until becoming part of the Capital network in 2011.) Marcher Radio Group, meanwhile, was taken over by the GWR Group in 2000, and the Marcher Gold service on 1260 AM joined GWR's Classic Gold network, initially as 'Classic Gold Marcher' and latterly as 'Classic Gold 1260'. The Classic Gold station group was sold by GWR to UBC in 2002, though operationally little changed. On-air, the amount of local programming for Wales was reduced as the stations began to carry more of the networked programmes being broadcast from London (Capital Gold) and Dunstable (Classic Gold).
2007-2014: Gold era
Following the merger of Capital Radio Group and GWR Group in 2005, forming GCap Media, ownership of Capital Gold stations, including that of the South Wales service, transferred to the new company. GCap then re-purchased the Classic Gold station network from UBC to regain control of the AM stations which had existed as sister stations to the ex-GWR FM stations, including the former Classic Gold Marcher. On 3 August 2007, the Classic Gold and Capital Gold networks were combined into a single Gold network, broadcasting mostly from London, with four hours a day of local content to each station, broadcast between noon and 4pm, and this was generally voice-tracked rather than live. Both Gold services in Wales now received a single Gold programme for Wales in the slot, taking London content at other times. Ofcom would later introduce content-sharing guidelines for AM stations, allowing all AM services to share programming with their sister services provided that at least ten hours a day of content came from within the nation (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) to which the station was broadcast, although stations which had already been given permission to carry less than ten hours from their nation could retain their existing provision; this allowed Global Radio, who had purchased GCap (and by extension Gold) in 2008, to drop local programming on the Gold stations in England from June 2010, whilst continuing to provide the four-hour daily opt-out for Wales as previously constituted.
2014: Relaunch as Smooth Radio
On 24 March 2014, most Gold AM frequencies in England were turned over to Smooth Radio, following Global Radio's acquisition of Real and Smooth Ltd. The Gold stations in England which changed over simply swapped out Gold network programming for that of the London Smooth service, retaining local news and advertising opt-outs, whilst the regional Smooth FM stations regained local breakfast and drivetime shows.
In Wales, a local show was retained in the former Gold timeslot of midday to 4pm, opting out of the final hour of the Kate Garraway morning show and the entire networked afternoon show, however as of August 3 2015 the show has opted out the final hour of Paul Phear's afternoon show and the entire drivetime show; networked content from Smooth's London service is carried at other times, including breakfast and weekend. The Wales afternoon show is presented from studios in Cardiff Bay by Jason Harrold, formerly of Real Radio and Heart Wales. Local news bulletins air hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 6am to midday at weekends.
- 1260 kHz AM - Wrexham and Deeside
- 1305 kHz AM - Gwent
- 1359 kHz AM - Cardiff
- DAB - south-east Wales; north-west Wales
Although available on AM in the area, Smooth Wales is not currently carried on DAB in Northeast Wales/West Cheshire. The DAB service to south-east Wales was turned over from Gold to Smooth at the same time as the AM service was, and DAB transmissions to northwest Wales began when the new local DAB multiplex was switched on in December 2014.