This is a list of events in British radio during 1989.
- 1 January – London "pirate" radio presenter Sammy Jacob, known as DJ Sammy Jay, sets up part-time "pirate" indie music station Q102, predecessor of Radio X.
- 15 January – Pick of the Pops is revived by BBC Radio 1. The show takes on a new classic hits format and features three past charts from three different decades each week. Alan Freeman returns to Radio 1 to present the programme.
- 10 March – Les Ross leaves the BRMB breakfast show to move to BRMB's forthcoming classic hits service Xtra AM. He had presented the programme for thirteen years.
- 1 April – BBC Radio 1 starts broadcasting slightly earlier each morning and is now on air between 5 am and 2 am seven days a week.
- May – The BBC Night Network is launched on the BBC's six local radio stations in Yorkshire and north east England. It provides all six stations with a daily evening service, thereby keeping the stations on air with regional programming until midnight. All local evening programming – mainly local sport and programming for ethnic minorities – is broadcast as an opt-out but is only aired on the station's AM frequencies.
- 1 May – Classic Gold launches on the MW transmitters of Pennine Radio, Viking Radio and Radio Hallam.
- 26 May – BBC Radio 4 airs the 10,000th episode of The Archers.
- 3 July – Simon Bates and producer Jonathan Ruffle set off on an 80-day circumnavigation of the world to raise money for Oxfam. Their progress is charted on BBC Radio 1 in a broadcast each weekday morning.
- 4 July – A new transmitter for DevonAir is switched on allowing the station to expand its transmission area to East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset. The relay broadcasts under the name of South West 103.
- 1 September – The Ireland-based long wave station Atlantic 252 is launched. Operated by RTÉ it broadcasts to both Ireland and the United Kingdom. The first presenter to be heard is Gary King who announces at 8 am: "Mine is the first voice you will ever hear on Atlantic 252." The station broadcasts only during the day – between 6 am and 7 pm – and at closedown invites listeners to tune in to Radio Luxembourg.
- 13 November – London Greek Radio and WNK become the first stations in the UK to share a frequency. They alternate every four hours.
- 19 December – BBC Radio 1 starts transmitting on FM across the whole of south-east England (replacing the temporary London transmitter), in East Anglia and in the Cardigan Bay area.
- 30 December – BBC Radio 1 'borrows' BBC Radio 2's FM frequencies on a Saturday afternoon for the final time.
Station debutsEditClosing this yearEditProgramme debutsEditContinuing radio programmesEditEnding this yearEdit
- City Talk 1548 AM becomes the UK's first all-talk radio station outside of London. The station broadcasts as an opt-out between the hours of 0700 and 1900 on weekdays, sharing content with Radio City's FM service outside these times. This approach differs from that taken by many other stations, which have begun launching "oldies" format stations on their former AM frequencies.
- Radio Luxembourg launches a daytime schedule in English for the first time, the first since the early 1950s. It broadcasts the new 24-hour stereo schedule on the recently launched Astra 1A satellite to supplement the 208 analogue night-time service.
- Southern Sound's broadcast area is expanded when it begins broadcasting to East Sussex.
- WM Heartlands launches as a mid-morning experimental opt-out from BBC WM. It serves the 'Heartlands' area of East Birmingham using the station's 1458MW frequency.
- 27 January – Arthur Marshall, 78, broadcaster and humorous writer
- 10 July – Tommy Trinder, 80, radio, stage and screen comedian
- 22 August – Lord Hill, 85, physician, medical and broadcast executive, politician and "The Radio Doctor"
- 22 October – Ewan MacColl, 74, folk singer-songwriter, actor and labour activist, co-creator of the radio ballad
- 28 October – Henry Hall, 91, bandleader
- 31 October – Roger Scott, 46, disc jockey
- 2 November – Tom Mennard, 71, comedian
- 16 December – Marjorie Westbury, 84, radio actress and soprano