Greatest Hits Radio

Greatest Hits Radio is a classic hits radio network in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by Bauer. The stations generally air networked programming, alongside local news and travel.

Greatest Hits Radio
GHR logo.png
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
BrandingThe Greatest Hits Radio Network
SloganThe Good Times Sound Like This
FrequencyMW: 828 – 1584 kHz
FM: 96.5 – 105.9 MHz
RDS: Grt Hits
DAB
Freeview 716
First air date5 January 2015 as Bauer City 2
7 January 2019 as Greatest Hits Radio
FormatClassic hits and specialist music
Language(s)English
OwnerBauer
Sister stationsCountry Hits Radio
Hits Radio
Websitehttps://planetradio.co.uk/greatest-hits/

The network launched on 5 January 2015 as the "Bauer City 2 Network",[1] and rebranded on 7 January 2019.[2]

Currently, the network consists of 18 local radio stations in Northern England, the West Midlands and Scotland, as well as a national DAB station[2] in areas not served by a local Bauer-owned station.

OriginsEdit

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.[3]

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.[4]

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).[5] 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.

DevelopmentsEdit

On 7 December 2015, Radio City 2 in Liverpool swapped frequencies with sister station Radio City Talk on 105.9 FM and reintroduced local programming at peak times.[6][7]

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).[8]

On 4 June 2018, Key 2 in Manchester was rebranded as Key Radio, in tandem with Key 103's relaunch as Hits Radio.

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.[9][10] Greatest Hits Radio UK began broadcasting across most of the UK on DAB (Digital Radio) using various local multiplexes.

Network expansionEdit

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.[11]

Most of the stations will be merged and carry networked output, alongside a regional Drivetime show on weekdays and localised news, travel and advertising.

StationsEdit

  • UK
    • UK – national DAB; Freeview 716

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.

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.

In England, Greatest Hits Radio's programming is broadcast from the network's Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham studios and from Bauer's Golden Square headquarters in Soho.

In Scotland, network programming originates from the studios of Clyde 2 in Glasgow, Tay 2 in Dundee and Forth 2 in Edinburgh.

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.

NewsEdit

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.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit