This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Broadcast area||Reading and Basingstoke|
|Slogan||More Music Variety – Give it some Heart|
|Frequency||97.0, 102.9 and 103.4 MHz|
|First air date||8 March 1976|
Launched as Radio 210 (Two-One-Oh), the station commenced broadcasting in March 1976 on its medium-wave frequency of 210 metres (1431 kHz). It later became known as 2-Ten FM and by 2008, was part of The One Network group of stations owned and operated by Global Radio. The station was rebranded a year later as part of the Heart Network.
The original parent company, Radio Kennet had won the licence to broadcast as far back as 1974, but plans for the station to float on the London Stock Exchange as soon as it commenced broadcasting failed as it didn't raise enough cash. Radio Kennet returned in 1976 as Thames Valley Broadcasting.
Radio 210 first broadcast on 8 March 1976 at 6 am. Former BBC Radio 2 DJ Paul Hollingdale played the Carpenters record "We've Only Just Begun" at the start of his four-hour Breakfast Show. Other early presenters were Steve Wright, Mike Read, Tony Fox (deceased), Steve Crozier, (Yer Man Croze), Mike Matthews, John Flower, Tony Holden, Steve Wood, Mike Quinn, Dave Glass, John Hayes (deceased), Gavin McCoy, Bob Morrison, Graham Ledger, Mike Sanderson (The Folk Show) and news editor David Addis. Rising stars Steve Wright and Mike Read co-hosted the Read & Wright Show at weekends before gaining daily shows and later pursuing high-profile careers on BBC Radio 1. Other presenters made the opposite move, leaving the BBC to join Radio 210, including Bob Harris and David Hamilton, the latter having defected from BBC Radio 2 because of changes in that station's music policy.
Radio 210 initially only served Reading with a transmitter on 97.0 MHz FM on top of The Butts shopping centre; however that changed when it began broadcasting from the Hannington transmitter on a second frequency of 102.9 MHz at midday 1 January 1987 to serve a wider area of Berkshire and North Hampshire, with a Henley-on-Thames relay added in 1997.
In 1990, Radio 210 split frequencies (as required then to do so by Government due to a radio act recently passed to end simulcasting) to provide two services – Radio 210 FM (Now broadcasting as Heart Berkshire) and 210 Classic Gold Radio. The AM transmitter was actually a relay of Brunel Classic Gold's service from Bristol. Also, broadcast to Bournemouth, Devon, & Swindon. It took a couple of Networked shows. One Sunday Lunchtime show with David Hamilton, and also Jimmy Savile's Saviles Travels (1990–92). It stopped taking that because it was said that they preferred to broadcast their own shows. Classic Gold featured slightly more known presenters like Tony Gillham (head of music), and Trevor Fry. Paul Burnett joined in 1996, and Tony Blackburn a few years later. They were both dropped in July 2007, when Classic Gold was taken over by Capital Radio, and became known as Gold'.
Radio 210 claimed[according to whom?] to be "the only comprehensive travel service in the Thames Valley and North Hampshire". The station broadcast news bulletins on the hour every hour and regional news during certain points throughout the day.
On 21 June 2010, Global Radio announced plans to merge Heart Berkshire with Heart Oxfordshire as part of plans to reduce the Heart network of stations from 33 to 15. The new station, Heart Thames Valley began broadcasting from Reading on 9 July 2010.
- "Local stations to rebrand in Global Radio shakeup", The Guardian, 16 September 2008
- Global Radio to halve number of local Heart stations, The Guardian, 21 June 2010
- Heart slims but strengthens Archived 26 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine, RadioToday, 21 June 2010.