Greatest Hits Radio
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Branding||The Greatest Hits Radio Network|
|Slogan||The Good Times Sound Like This|
|Frequency||MW: 828 – 1584 kHz|
FM: 96.5 – 105.9 MHz
RDS: Grt Hits
|First air date||5 January 2015 as Bauer City 2|
7 January 2019 as Greatest Hits Radio
|Format||Classic hits and specialist music|
|Sister stations||Country Hits Radio|
Currently, the network consists of 18 local radio stations in Northern England, the West Midlands and Scotland, as well as a national DAB station in areas not served by a local Bauer-owned station.
The stations forming the Greatest Hits Radio network are predominantly sister stations to the corresponding Hits Radio network station. Many were originally set up as a 'Gold' counterpart (e.g. Radio City Gold in Liverpool) when stations were told by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to stop simulcasting their services on both FM and AM in the late 1980s. The main exception to this is FM station West Sound in Dumfries and Galloway.
In Northern England, the stations were rebranded as Magic in 1997 – a station brand first used by Radio Aire upon the launch of their AM station in July 1990. The stations gradually began to network most of their schedule, and by March 2013, the only local content consisted of three regional breakfast shows on weekdays, serving the North West, the North East and Yorkshire.
In Scotland, local programming on AM stations was largely retained until networking outside of weekday breakfast and specialist shows was introduced in June 2009. In July 2013, the remaining local output was axed, leading to a fully networked schedule known as The Greatest Hits Network.
In September 2014, Bauer Radio announced it would rebrand the Magic stations under localised identities, based on the main FM station names (e.g. Magic 1152 in Manchester becomes Key 2, based on Key 103). Magic's AM network closed with the London equivalent, Magic 105.4 FM, launched nationwide on DAB.
The relaunch took place on Monday 5 January 2015. Initially, the two networks serving Scotland (The Greatest Hits Network) and northern England (Magic AM) were replaced by one carrying programming from both nations over all stations, with some peak time opt-outs. Further split programming for the two nations was reintroduced the following year.
In April 2018, Northsound 2 ceased analogue broadcasting on 1035 AM, becoming the first commercial radio station in Scotland – and the first local Bauer-owned station – to broadcast only on digital platforms (DAB and online).
On 7 January 2019, Greatest Hits Radio replaced the Bauer City 2 branding. Local station identities in Northern England were rebranded to GHR, with Scottish stations retaining their local brands. Greatest Hits Radio also became available on FM across the West Midlands for the first time. Greatest Hits Radio UK began broadcasting across most of the UK on DAB (Digital Radio) using various local multiplexes.
In May 2020, Bauer announced 48 local radio stations in England and South West Wales will rebrand and join the Greatest Hits Radio network, following the acquisition of licences from UKRD, Wireless Group, Lincs FM Group and Celador.
Most of the stations will be merged and carry networked output, alongside a regional Drivetime show on weekdays and localised news, travel and advertising.
- UK – national DAB; Freeview 716
- West Midlands – 1359 AM; 105.2 FM; DAB
- North West England
Stations joining the network in 2020Edit
On 27 May 2020, it was confirmed that the following stations were to be brought into the GHR network from September of that year, following their earlier acquisition by Bauer.
- East of England
- North West England
- Southern England
- South West England
- South West Wales
- Compass FM (North East Lincolnshire)
- Dearne FM (Barnsley, Penistone and the Dearne Valley)
- Minster FM (York and North Yorkshire)
- Pulse 2 (Bradford)
- Ridings FM (Wakefield)
- Rother FM (Rotherham)
- Stray FM (Harrogate / Ripon, Yorkshire Dales)
- Trax FM (Doncaster & Bassetlaw)
- Yorkshire Coast Radio (Bridlington / Scarborough)
Programming and presentersEdit
Greatest Hits Radio runs two separate networks for Scotland and England, largely carrying their own programming, although late night and overnight programming is shared across both networks from 10pm to 6am.
Notable presenters with the network include:
Opt-outs and variationsEdit
- In the North East and Teesside, Night Owls, a weekly late-night talk show presented by Alan Robson, airs from 10pm to 2am on Sundays.
- In the West Midlands, a regional drivetime show airs each weekday from 4pm to 7pm.
All stations in the network carry their own local news bulletins hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Headlines are broadcast on the half-hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside local traffic bulletins. National news updates also air on the national version of Greatest Hits Radio in place of the local bulletins. Extended five-minute bulletins air at 1pm on weekdays on Scottish stations.
At weekends, bespoke networked bulletins air 2-6pm on Saturdays and 2-7pm on Sundays in Scotland, produced by Clyde 1. At all other times, mainly evening and overnight, hourly national bulletins originate from Sky News Radio.
- Schedule released for Bauer City 2 stations Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, RadioToday, 19 December 2014
- New Greatest Hits Radio network confirmed for 2019
- Magic AM starts networking at breakfast, RadioToday, 15 February 2013
- Galloway goes national at Bauer Scotland, RadioToday, 3 June 2013
- Major brand swap for Bauer's local stations, RadioToday, 28 September 2014
- Simon Ross moves to Radio City 2 Breakfast, RadioToday, 30 November 2015
- Date set for Radio City 2 and 3 frequency swap, RadioToday, 16 November 2015
- Northsound 2 to switch off AM radio service, Radio Today, 8 March 2018
- BAUER MEDIA TO LAUNCH THE GREATEST HITS RADIO NETWORK Bauer Media, 15 November 2018
- Bauer Media to launch Greatest Hits Radio network Radio Today, 15 November 2018
- Most of acquired Bauer stations to become Greatest Hits Radio Stuart Clarkson, Radio Today, 27 May 2020