|Broadcast area||United Kingdom Global|
|Frequency||MW: 1053, 1071, 1089, 1107 kHz
11D (England/Wales/N. Ireland)
Virgin Media: 927
|First air date||14 February 1995 as Talk Radio UK
17 January 2000 as Talksport
|Sister stations||Talksport 2
Virgin Radio UK
Broadcast from London to the United Kingdom, Talksport is the only national radio station broadcasting sport and sports coverage 24 hours a day, having dropped 39 hours of non-sports content on 2 April 2012.
Its content includes live coverage of sports, exclusive interviews with the leading names in sport and entertainment, phone-ins and discussion.
Talksport, alongside sister station Talksport 2, is an official broadcaster of the Premier League, FA Cup, England friendly internationals, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2020, English Football League, EFL Cup, Aviva Premiership, Super League, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and NatWest t20 Blast, Royal London One-Day Cup, Indian Premier League, ICC World Twenty20, ICC Champions Trophy, MotoGP, as well as broadcasting selected Champions League and Europa League games.
In the United Kingdom, Talksport is available on 1053 kHz, 1071 kHz, 1089 kHz, and 1107 kHz, DAB, Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview, on mobile, and online at talksport.com. Talksport will be available on Freesat from April 2016.
Outside the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, Talksport broadcasts live commentary of every Premier League match around the world in multiple languages including English, Spanish and Mandarin.
- 1 Talk Radio era
- 2 Creation of Talksport
- 3 UK Programming
- 4 Notable presenters
- 5 Live sports coverage
- 6 Programming highlights
- 7 Station management
- 8 Frequencies
- 9 Audience
- 10 Talksport 2
- 11 Talksport International
- 12 Talksport South Africa
- 13 Other media
- 14 Books, DVDs, and games
- 15 Controversies
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Talk Radio era
The station was originally and officially launched as Talk Radio UK on 14 February 1995, with Sean Bolger and Samantha Meah presenting the original Talk Radio Breakfast Show. However the first live broadcast had been Caesar the Geezer's phone-in which aired the previous night. Other presenters on Talk Radio included Jeremy Beadle, Scott Chisholm, Moz Dee, Tommy Boyd, Anna Raeburn, Gary Newbon, Terry Christian, Ronnie Barbour, Jonny Gould, and Dale Winton. Also joining the line-up were Caesar the Geezer and Wild Al Kelly, dubbed as shock jocks.
A year later Talk Radio launched a new breakfast show presented by Paul Ross and Carol McGiffin. Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Simon Bates also joined the station along with James Whale, Ian Collins, and Mike Dickin.
Talk Radio made their first foray into the world of sports radio rights bidding, by purchasing the rights to broadcast the Football League from BBC Radio Five Live for the 1997–98 season. In addition, the station broadcast their first FIFA World Cup from France in 1998, with them bringing in the Sky Sports commentary team of Alan Parry and Andy Gray to commentate on the major matches. Tony Lockwood, Clive Allen, and Dave Roberts covered additional games in France. Talk Radio also acquired up the rights to broadcast Manchester United's matches in the Champions League for the 1998–99 season.
Creation of Talksport
On 12 November 1998 TalkCo Holdings, whose chairman and chief Executive was former Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie, purchased Talk Radio. This led to a mass clearout of presenters including Nick Abbot, Anna Raeburn, Tommy Boyd and Peter Deeley, with them putting in place a more sports oriented programming schedule, including The Sportszone with Alan Parry, Gary Newbon, Tony Lockwood, Tom Watt, and former Century Radio sports editor Dave Roberts presenting the weekend edition of The Sports Breakfast.
In late 1999, TalkCo, rebranded as The Wireless Group, announced a relaunch of Talk Radio to become the UK's first national commercial sports radio station called Talksport. The relaunch occurred at midnight on 17 January 2000 and was accompanied by the station moving from Oxford Street to a new studio in Hatfields on the South Bank of the River Thames. Now mainly dedicated to sport, the programming lineup was drastically altered, beginning with The Sports Breakfast show, a mid-morning motoring show called The Car Guys, with further sports programming in the afternoon and evening. Almost all the station's talk show presenters were axed at the time, including The Big Boys Breakfast with David Banks and Nick Ferrari, with only James Whale, Ian Collins, and Mike Dickin surviving. To complement their new format, Talksport purchased the rights to broadcast Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle in the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup, England football internationals, UEFA Cup, England's winter cricket Tours to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and India, British and Irish Lions tours to South Africa and New Zealand, and rights to the Super League, Rugby League World Cup, and World Title Boxing Fights.
The new line-up involved a number of presenters and commentators. They included Alan Brazil, Mark Nicholas, Chris Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Parry, Peter Shilton, Brian Moore, Brough Scott, Tom Watt, Gary Newbon, Ian Darke, Tony Banks, and Alvin Martin.
Talksport's programming consists of sports talk, live coverage, discussion and phone-in debate 24 hours a day.
The weekday schedule begins with the morning's sports news, debate and reaction on The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast which is co-hosted by guest presenters including Mick Quinn, Ray Parlour and Ray Wilkins. Jim White follows with an in-depth look at the day's sport with interviews and discussion. Hawksbee & Jacobs present through the afternoon with sports gossip, interviews and chat, followed by Drive Time with Adrian Durham and Darren Gough round-up the day's sports news with debate.
Kick Off, hosted by Mark Saggers, then guides listeners through the evening's sporting action with live commentary and discussion. Andy Goldstein and Jason Cundy take further phone-calls and debate on The Sports Bar before handing over to the overnight show, either The Two Mikes or Extra Time, an overnight sports show with news, interviews and action from around the globe.
On Saturday and Sunday, Talksport has full coverage of the weekend's sport starting with The Weekend Sports Breakfast, followed by all the pre-match build-up on The Warm Up with The Two Mikes on Saturdays, and Max Rushden on Sundays. Every weekend, you can follow the latest news and scores from around the grounds on Matchday Live and Sunday Exclusive, including live Premier League commentary, followed by a post-match phone-in, and The Press Pass on a Sunday hosted by Neil Ashton.
Talksport also broadcasts specialist programming long-running fishing-based phone-in, Fisherman's Blues, hosted by Nigel Botherway, Howzat!, a cricket show with Dominic Cork, Fight Club, a monthly boxing programme hosted by Gareth A. Davies, My Sporting Life with Danny Kelly, an in-depth interview with sporting legends, and Trans-Europe Express with Danny Kelly, a weekly European football show.
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Notable current presenters
Talksport have a selection of regular presenters and commentators, which include Adrian Durham, Alan Brazil, Andy Goldstein, Andy Gray, Andy Jacobs, Bob Ballard, Dominic Cork, Danny Kelly, Darren Gough, Gary Taphouse, Georgie Bingham, Jason Cundy, Jim White, Jon Richardson, Jim Proudfoot, Mark Saggers, Max Rushden, Mike Parry, Mike Graham (journalist), Nat Coombs, Paul Hawksbee, Ray Stubbs, Richard Keys, Sam Matterface, and Geoff Peters.
Former professional sportsmen provide expert comment on a variety of the station's programmes, including: Alvin Martin, Andy Gray, Bobby Gould, Danny Higginbotham, Jeff Probyn, Matt Holland, Mike Tindall, Micky Quinn, Michael Gray, Neil Warnock, Perry Groves, Ray Houghton, Ray Parlour, Ray Wilkins, Stewart Robson and Stuart Pearce.
The station also has a team of staff and freelance journalists and reporters bringing listeners the latest news and sport through their bulletins and programmes, including Graham Beecroft.
Notable former presenters
Talksport's original line-up included Alan Brazil, Mark Nicholas, Chris Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott, Alan Parry, Peter Shilton, Brian Moore, Brough Scott, Tom Watt, Gary Newbon, Ian Darke, Tony Banks, James Whale, Ian Collins, Derek Hatton, and Mike Dickin.
Other past presenters include: Colin Murray, Stan Collymore, Jon Gaunt, Nicky Horne, Tommy Boyd, Charlie Wolf, George Lamb, Bill Young, Gethin Jones, Mike Mendoza, Rhodri Williams, Jeremy Kyle, Dave Roberts, Chris Cooper, Rodney Marsh, Ian Wright, Rob McCaffrey, Russell Brand, Russ Williams, Johnny Vaughan, Steve Bower, Kelly Dalglish, and George Galloway.
Live sports coverage
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Talksport and Talksport 2 has exclusive and non-exclusive rights to various sports in the UK:
- Premier League
- English Football League
- EFL Cup
- EFL Trophy
- FA Cup
- England friendly internationals and away qualifiers
- Community Shield
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League
- La Liga
- FIFA World Cup
- UEFA European Football Championship
- Aviva Premiership
- Rugby World Cup
- 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
- Super League
- World Club Series
- ICC World Twenty20
- ICC Champions Trophy
- NatWest t20 Blast
- Royal London One-Day Cup
- Indian Premier League
- Horse racing
- May 2001: Talksport secured rights to broadcast Premier League games for the first time. The Radio Authority granted the station permission to broadcast games involving Chelsea, Fulham, and Tottenham Hotspur on their London transmitters only. Later, Talksport also secured similar deals with Everton, Blackburn Rovers, and Manchester City for their transmitters in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Lancashire following approval from the Radio Authority. The station also had the ability to split their transmitters in the West Midlands for games involving Aston Villa but this never came to fruition.
- December 2002: Talksport announced plans for the station's first ever music show. An easy listening music show entitled Champagne & Roses with Gerald Harper, was broadcast each Saturday evening. The show was axed after less than six months
- June 2004: Talksport broadcast their first international football tournament officially. Euro 2004 from Portugal was broadcast live on Talksport with commentary of various matches, including the final, from Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin.
- June 2006: the station broadcast the 2006 World Cup, with live match commentary of all 64 matches in Germany. Commentary was provided by Jim Proudfoot, Chris Cooper, Nigel Pearson, Ian Danter, Tim White, and Geoff Peters with punditry from Alvin Martin, Rodney Marsh, Gary Stevens, Jason Cundy, and Micky Quinn.
- August 2006: Former Sky Sports presenter Kelly Dalglish became the first female sports presenter on Talksport, hosting Monday's edition of Kick-Off alongside Gabriele Marcotti and Jason Cundy
- October 2006: Talksport becomes the first national commercial radio broadcaster to win Premier League commentary rights. Talksport wins a package that allows it to broadcast the second choice Saturday afternoon games that kick off at 3pm - the BBC will get first pick.
- April 2009: Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher were signed by Talksport to present a one-off football talk show on 19 April 2009. It was only a few months after Brand resigned from BBC Radio 2 in the wake of the uproar over the Sachsgate affair
- February 2010: Talksport gained more Premier League football in the latest radio bidding wars. Whilst relinquishing their 15:00 package to football newcomers Absolute Radio, they won two packages from BBC Radio 5 Live. They took over the national radio rights to broadcast the late kick-off every Saturday evening from the Premier League (usually kicking off at 17:30), and the early Sunday games (before 15:00). This agreement covers the 2010–11 to 2012–13 Premier League seasons
- June 2010: Talksport broadcast the 2010 World Cup, with live match commentary of all 64 matches in South Africa. Commentary was provided by Jim Proudfoot, Ian Danter, Nigel Pearson, John Rawling, and Graham Beecroft with punditry from Alvin Martin, Stan Collymore, Ray Parlour, Bobby Gould, Tony Cascarino, Lawrie Sanchez, and Micky Quinn
- September 2011: Talksport broadcast the 2011 Rugby World Cup, with exclusive commentary of all 48 matches in New Zealand. Commentary was provided by John Taylor, Rupert Bell, John Anderson, Russell Hargreaves and Andrew McKenna with punditry from Brian Moore, Jeff Probyn, David Campese, Chris Sheasby, Michael Owen, Scott Quinnell, Gavin Hastings, and Paul Wallace, with presentation from Mark Saggers and Mike Bovill. Additional reporting from Roger Hughes, David Brady, and Stuart Cameron
- June 2012: Talksport broadcast Euro 2012, with live commentary of all 31 matches in Poland and Ukraine. Commentary was provided by Sam Matterface, John Roder, Nigel Pearson and Ian Danter, with punditry from Stan Collymore, Alvin Martin, Ray Parlour, Matt Holland and Andy Gray with presentation from Adrian Durham, Mark Saggers and Richard Keys.
- July 2012: Talksport secured a joint six-year deal with BBC Radio 5 Live to broadcast live commentaries from the FA Cup, Community Shield and England friendly internationals.
- August 2012: Talksport secure a deal to become an official broadcaster of the Aviva Premiership. The deal enables Talksport to broadcast live commentary of selected matches throughout the season either on-air or online.
- November 2012: Talksport secured exclusive broadcast rights in the UK to the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.
- June 2014: Talksport broadcast the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with live commentary of all 64 matches in Brazil. Commentary was provided by Jim Proudfoot, Alan Parry, Gary Taphouse, Nigel Pearson, John Anderson, Andrew McKenna and Richard Connelly with punditry from Stan Collymore, Stuart Pearce, Alvin Martin, Ray Parlour, Matt Holland, Micky Quinn and Alan Curbishley.
- March 2016: Talksport 2 launches, a station dedicated to live sports commentaries and specialist programming.
- May 2016: Talksport and Talksport 2 are awarded the right to broadcast three Premier League UK live audio packages for the next three football seasons, starting with the 2016/17 season.
- June 2016: Talksport and Talksport 2 broadcast Euro 2016, with commentary of all 51 matches. Commentary was provided by Jim Proudfoot, Alan Parry, Gary Taphouse, Ian Danter, Nigel Pearson, John Anderson, Ian Abrahams and Alex Crook, and punditry from Stan Collymore, Stuart Pearce, Joey Barton, Matt Holland, Ray Wilkins, Keith Gillespie, Danny Gabbidon, Michael Gray, Alvin Martin, Danny Higginbotham and Micky Quinn.
- May 2017: Talksport secures exclusive national radio rights to the English Football League. It gives them the ability to broadcast up to up 110 EFL fixtures a season for three years until the end of the 2019/2020 season.
Scott Taunton was previously the Business Development Director at UTV, responsible for radio and new media. A native of Australia, he has been working in the UK for a decade and took over from Kelvin MacKenzie as Chief Executive of Talksport in July 2005.
Steve Morgan is Programme Director, and Mike Bovill is Managing Editor of Talksport 2.
In a number of areas, particularly in areas where the signal from the main 1089 and 1053 kHz transmitters overlap with each other, Talksport operates a number of filler transmitters on different frequencies:
- 1071 kHz – Nottingham, Newcastle
- 1107 kHz – Merseyside, West Sussex, South Kent, Torbay, The Wash, Hampshire
The 1089 and 1053 kHz frequencies were originally used by BBC Radio 1 between November 1978 and June 1994.
It is also transmitted across the UK digitally via DAB digital radio, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat. Talksport is also streamed online; however, due to rights restrictions on live coverage, some live sport commentaries are not available online.
The new station launched on 15 March 2016 as part of a Sound Digital's successful bid for second national commercial DAB multiplex. The launch date coincided with the opening day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
Talksport 2 is a 24-hour sports station which focusses on a broad range of live sporting action from the UK and around the world and includes rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, football and horse racing, plus US sport. On its first day, Talksport 2 broadcast commentary of India v New Zealand in the ICC World Twenty20, Atletico Madrid v PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League and Indian Wells Masters tennis.
Since its launch, Talksport 2 has acquired broadcast rights to Aviva Premiership, Super League, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, French Open, ICC World Twenty20, NatWest t20 Blast, Royal London One-Day Cup, Indian Premier League, WGC Match Play, La Liga, MotoGP, ICC Champions Trophy, Premier League, English Football League, Champions League and Europa League.
The winning bid also saw the return of Talkradio, as well as Virgin Radio. Former Talksport chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie had proposed a rival sports station as part of Listen2Digital’s opposing bid for the second national commercial DAB multiplex.
Talksport is the global audio partner of the Premier League, which enables them to broadcast commentary of every Premier League match outside the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in several languages including English, Spanish and Mandarin.
Talksport South Africa
It is claimed Talksport 540AM will be modeled on its sister station in the UK to "deliver first class sports journalism, high quality debate and live match commentary to the South African audience."
- Soccer Bet was a short-lived 68-page weekly magazine which Talksport had hoped would appeal to football fans that enjoyed betting on games. It was designed in a smaller A5 format to make it easy for fans to carry and the launch was backed by a £500,000 promotional campaign. Soccer Bet lasted just two months before it was axed in October 2003 due to poor sales.
- Talksport TV launched in October 2004 platform broadcasting for six hours a day on the Sky Digital television platform aiming to catch listeners who've come home from work. The service amounted to little more than the televisualisation of TalkSport's broadcasters and pundits presenting the station's Drive Time and Kick Off programmes. The channel closed in 2005 following the takeover of Talksport by UTV Radio.
- Talk Radio was set to return to the airwaves as a station on DAB digital radio in 2008 after Ofcom awarded a second DAB digital radio national commercial multiplex to the 4 Digital Group consortium led by Channel 4. However, the station never launched after Channel 4 announced that it was abandoning its plans for digital radio stations
- Talksport Magazine launched in May 2008 as a weekly online-only digital publication to extend the station's brand beyond the radio. The magazine was integrated into the newly relaunched Talksport website in 2010
- Sport was acquired by Talksport in 2010 and is the UK's second largest[clarification needed] men's magazine. Sport is targeted at the affluent male and hand distributed in locations across the country including London mainline and tube stations. It is also available at many hotels, gyms and airports
Books, DVDs, and games
- Talksport Road Trip is a DVD including exclusive footage of the English team and a host of celebrity interviews at the 2006 World Cup released in 2006
- Talksport Legends & Anthems is a three-CD package, released in 2009, featuring 40 tracks by artists such as The Who, The Cure, The Killers, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, and Elton John on two of the discs as well as a bonus CD with out-takes and highlights of Talksport
- Ten Years of Talksport is a book describing the station's history. Originally released in 2009, an updated version of the book including two new chapters was released in 2011
- The Talksport Book of World Cup Banter – Released in 2010, this is a book of football facts about the FIFA World Cup
- The TalkSport Book of Cricket's Best Ever Sledges features contributions from Talksport presenters Darren Gough and Ronnie Irani among others, recounting 'sledging' (mind-games within cricket). Released in 2010
- June 2000: Talksport caused a stir with the BBC after it was revealed Talksport had been broadcasting their live commentaries of matches at Euro 2000 from television monitors rather than from each of the stadia due to the lack of available broadcast rights. Talksport's commentary team included Alan Parry, Jim Proudfoot, Mark Tompkins, Alvin Martin and Frank Stapleton.
- April 2002: Tommy Boyd and his production team were sacked from Talksport after a call from someone who wanted to shoot the Royal Family went through on air. Boyd went on record that he did not share the views of the caller
- June 2002: Talksport broadcast unofficial coverage of the 2002 World Cup taking place in Japan and South Korea. The station flags up their inability to broadcast live from the stadia, with them taking out full page advertisements in national newspapers containing the tag line "It's unauthorised. It's unofficial. And it's brilliant." Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin are Talksport's main commentary team from their studios in London
- February 2003: Talksport received over 200 complaints for giving a platform to the controversial Muslim extremist cleric Abu Hamza. Hamza and his aides are invited into the station to contribute to a religious debate on The James Whale Show, alongside other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim delegates. On the night of the live broadcast, 24 February, a mass of protesters gather outside the station's London studios. Despite this, both Whale and head of programming Bill Ridley defended the station for having invited Hamza onto the programme.
- March 2004: Alan Brazil is sacked by Talksport after his failure to show up to present The Sports Breakfast on Friday 19 March after spending three days at the Cheltenham Festival. Less than three weeks later, Brazil is reinstated to his role.
- May 2006: Alan Brazil is reportedly given three months notice by Talksport after bust-up with the station's management. Less than two months later, Brazil and Talksport management held talks and the former Scotland international footballer signed a new long-term contract with the station.
- June 2006: The Sports Breakfast presenter Alan Brazil got in trouble with Ofcom for referring to the Japanese as "the nips" during the World Cup in Germany
- August 2007: Mike Mendoza and Garry Bushell made derogatory comments about gay people, and the station was subsequently censured by regulator Ofcom. Bushell left soon after, when his six-month contract expired.
- May 2008: James Whale was dismissed by Talksport after twice urging listeners to vote for Boris Johnson in the 2008 London Mayoral Election. The station was subsequently fined £20,000 by Ofcom in December 2008.
- November 2008: Controversial presenter Jon Gaunt was fired for repeatedly calling a local councillor a "Nazi". Gaunt has since sought legal action for unfair dismissal, but any potential case has yet to go to court. His campaign was backed by Liberty activist Shami Chakrabarti, who had previously been one of Gaunt's pet hates.
- November 2008: Rod Lucas was dropped by Talksport, and the company stated they had "no plans to use him in the immediate future" after the membership list of the BNP which was leaked on a Google blog named him as one of its members. The station clarified that this wasn't a sacking as Lucas was only a temporary member of staff. The presenter himself claimed that his membership of the party was part of a covert research project.
- February 2011: Talksport hired former Sky Sports pundit and commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys a fortnight after the pair were sacked from Sky Sports for being at the centre of a sexism controversy.
- Gallivan, Rory (25 June 2016). "News Corp Buys Wireless Group for $296 Million" – via Wall Street Journal.
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- Sport Magazine Archived 29 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- talkSPORT Road Trip (DVD) Amazon.co.uk
- talkSPORT – Legends & Anthems (CD) Amazon.co.uk
- The Talksport Book of World Cup Banter: All the Ammo You Need to Settle Any Argument Amazon.co.uk
- Why Are You So Fat?: The TalkSPORT Book of Cricket's Best Ever Sledges Amazon.co.uk
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- Martin, Nicole (18 November 2008). "Gaunt Suspended For "Nazi" Slur". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
- Jon Gaunt still pursuing legal action against TalkSport guardian.co.uk, 20 January 2009
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- DJ named on BNP member list joined to research story guardian.co.uk, 19 November 2008
- "Andy Gray and Richard Keys move to Talksport". BBC News. 8 February 2011.