Magic (UK radio station)
Magic Radio is a British digital radio station owned and operated by Bauer Radio. Magic Radio forms part of Bauer's National portfolio of radio brands. The station is available on 105.4 FM in London and across the UK on Digital Radio, on the Magic Radio app, television and online.
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Frequency||FM: 105.4 MHz (London)|
11D (England/Wales/N. Ireland)
Sky (UK only): 0180
Virgin Media: 928
|Slogan||More of the Songs You Love|
Greatest Hits Radio
First air date
|9 July 1990 (as Melody FM)|
It had previously been a part of a network of Magic stations broadcast on FM in London and on MW across northern England and began broadcasting across the UK via the Digital One multiplex in January 2015. On 5 January 2015, Magic Radio launched nationally on DAB and all other Magic stations were dissolved to form the Bauer City 2 network.
On changing the station's name, Emap introduced automation for the first time - weekday afternoons were split with a 'non-stop music hour', first sponsored by the now defunct energy company Calortex, and later by the Emap-owned Red magazine. Magic was criticised for automating a further eleven hours of its daily output (7pm-6am) given the reach and size of the station.
In an attempt to cut costs, Magic began networking its mid-morning show, hosted by Richard Skinner, and automated overnight output with the eight other Magic stations in the North of England in January 2002. Audience figures fell on all nine stations in the twelve months that followed, some arguing a lack of local content had driven listeners to tune away. Networking was ended in January 2003, although the eight 'northern' Magic stations continued to share a mid-morning show, hosted by Mark Thorburn, and were subsequently networked again, with the exception of local breakfast shows, following a repositioning of the northern Magic group in mid-2006. These stations were later rebranded into the Bauer City 2 network in 2015.
The end of networking heralded a programming shift; Magic adopting its 'more music, less talk' ethos. Former Capital FM head and radio consultant Richard Park was brought in to increase the station's audience share. In September 2003, Magic saw its first major revamp: live programming replaced automated output in the evening, and Independent Radio News-employed staff manned the station's daytime news output, removing shared presenting/newsreading responsibilities, a legacy from Melody FM. IRN retained the contract to supply Magic's news bulletins until 2015, when the service was brought in-house.
Later years saw a reliance on weekend celebrity-hosted content and large cash prizes to entice listeners - the award of £110,600 to Nicola Diss, the winner of the popular Magic Mystery Voices contest on 12 January 2006 was the largest cash prize given away on UK radio since 1999, a sum surpassed just a few months later by the prize collected by listener Dawn Muggleton in the Smooth Secret Song competition on London rival 102.2 Smooth FM, scooping £118,454 on 19 April 2006. However, Magic regained the honour on 30 March 2007 with listener Maria Crosskey winning £168,600 in a six-month-long Mystery Voices contest, although she was later disqualified (see 'Mystery Voices' below).
Magic, along with urban-music station Kiss, rock music station Absolute Radio and a number of other radio brands, broadcasts from Bauer Radio's headquarters in Golden Square. It had previously broadcast from studios on Winsley Street (Mappin House) until September 2014.
Launched March 2016 and playing laid back hits, it was once a successful Magic night-time programming strand of the same name. Magic Chilled was Bauer's first DAB+ station. It was on Sound Digital multiplexes but mainly moved to local tier DAB, swapping with Absolute Radio 90s, in early 2019 as part of the reorganisation of space for Scala Radio launch. In London it continues to be broadcast in DAB+ at the same bitrate as before.
Mellow Magic is a digital-only service of timeless relaxing classics, launched in March 2016 along with Magic Chilled. It continues to broadcast as part of the Sound Digital multiplex jointly owned by Bauer. Fran Godfrey has hosted the breakfast show on Mellow Magic, its only live programme, since the station's official launch.
This was a temporary service Magic Soul Summer; initially intended as short-term pop-up, the soul station ultimately remained active, truncating its name to Magic Soul from Autumn 2016 onwards.
Magic at the MusicalsEdit
Launched on DAB+ (London only) on 21 November 2019; the station has since been rolled out to several other areas, chiefly on selected Bauer-owned multiplexes, in standard DAB. It plays show-tunes and soundtracks.
Following the migration of other Bauer services (including Kisstory and Heat Radio) to SDL, some of the vacated space at local level was used during the spring of 2016 for a short-term pop-up. It ran as a commercial partnership with Mamma Mia!: the Musical.
Magic 100% ChristmasEdit
Magic 100% Christmas was launched in August 2020, several months earlier than previous Christmas music stations in order to, according to Bauer, help lift the mood of the nation after the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is also a complementary Magic-branded music television channel available on the Sky and Virgin Media digital TV platforms in the UK, operating as part of the Box Plus Network jointly owned by Bauer. The channel plays classic and contemporary melodic pop hits.
An online-only sibling, Magic Workout has been made available as one of a suite of streaming-only Bauer services.
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For a number of years, Magic ran a Mystery Voices competition in which listeners were required to guess the names of three celebrity voices. One said "Magic", the second "One-oh-five" and the third "Point-four". Every hour a listener guessed the names of the celebrities and for each failed attempt £100 was added to the prize fund. The competitions often ran for several months with the winner eventually receiving a prize potentially worth upwards of £150,000.
- "Major brand swap for Bauer's local stations". RadioToday. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Martin, Roy (14 November 2019). "Bauer to launch Magic at the Musicals on DAB+". Radio Today. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
- BAUER MEDIA LAUNCHES MAGIC 100% CHRISTMAS POP-UP STATION TO COMBAT COVID-19 BLUES