Bauer Media Audio UK

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Bauer Media Audio Limited
FormerlyEmap Radio
Bauer Radio
Company typeSubsidiary
HeadquartersPeterborough, England
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Simon Myciunka (CEO)
  • Absolute Radio
  • Greatest Hits Radio
  • Jazz FM
  • Scala Radio
  • Hits Radio
  • KISS
  • Planet Rock
  • Magic
  • Kerrang! Radio
  • Heat Radio
OwnerBauer Media Group UK
ParentBauer Media Group

Bauer Media Audio UK is a UK-based radio division of Bauer Media Group owning several brands including Absolute Radio, Greatest Hits Radio, Jazz FM, Scala Radio, Hits Radio, KISS, Planet Rock, Magic, Kerrang! Radio and Heat Radio.


In early 2008, German magazine publisher Bauer bought the radio division of British company Emap, which had been established as East Midland Allied Press in 1947.[1] Consequently, Emap Radio Limited was renamed to Bauer Radio Limited.[2]

Emap's assets included national stations Kiss, Kerrang! and Magic, and local stations under the Big City Network brand in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These included 22 local FM stations in Scotland which Emap had bought from Scottish Radio Holdings in 2005.[3]

In April 2011, Bauer Radio announced it would be restructuring its radio portfolio into two divisions. Stations linked to geographic areas would come under the Bauer Place brand, while national stations such as Kiss, Kerrang and The Hits would come under Bauer Passion. The Big City Network identity was dropped as part of the restructuring.[4]

In April 2013, Bauer announced it would merge its two North East England stations, Metro Radio and TFM. The stations broadcast shared programming from Newcastle and Manchester while carrying separate branding, news bulletins and advertising.[5]

In September 2014, Bauer announced it would be restructuring its radio portfolio as from January 2015. Magic AM in England was dropped in favour of the stations reverting to their heritage station names.[6][7] The stations then formed part of the new 'City 2' network serving both Scotland and Northern England. A 'City 3' network on DAB, replacing The Hits Radio in most areas, launched on 19 January 2015. As part of this restructuring, the Place and Passion network banners introduced in 2011 were replaced by the Bauer City and Bauer National divisions. The 'City 3' network was withdrawn in favour of reverting to the networked The Hits service from September 2017.

At the beginning of March 2016, Bauer moved two of its stations, Planet Rock and Absolute 80s, from Digital One onto the Sound Digital multiplex, reducing the availability of these stations (areas including East Anglia, the South West, parts of Kent, Cumbria, and large areas of Wales and Scotland had no Sound Digital network transmitters). The issue was reported in local media in some areas.[8] Planet Rock and Absolute 80s on D1 began broadcasting just a retune message loop from 18 April, and the switch-off occurred on 30 April.[citation needed]

On 6 May 2016, Bauer announced it had bought Midlands radio group Orion Media for an undisclosed amount, reportedly between £40 and £50 million.[9][10] It was subsequently confirmed that Orion's stations Free Radio (West Midlands) and Gem (East Midlands) would become part of the Bauer City portfolio, with Gem introducing a version of the City sonic logo device to its presentation from August 2016.

On 16 August 2018, Bauer announced that it had bought Jazz FM for an undisclosed sum.[11]

In February and March 2019, Bauer purchased Lincs FM Group,[12] Celador[13] and the local stations owned by Wireless Group,[14] and the following month Bauer purchased the ten FM stations owned by UKRD, together with UKRD's 50% share in First Radio Sales Limited.[15] In August of that year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) began an investigation into these purchases, which found that a substantial lessening of competition had occurred in the marketplace for advertising. The CMA considered enforcing a partial divestment by Bauer, but in March 2020 instead made a 'behavioural remedy' ruling which accepted Bauer's proposal to pass a certain amount of advertising business to competing stations for a period of ten years.[16]

Radio brands[edit]



This comprises seven decade-themed services and dedicated classic-rock and country stations. The network is aimed at 35 to 54 year olds.[17]

Hits Radio Brand[edit]

Jazz FM[edit]

  • Jazz FM,[19] DAB service available nationally playing jazz, blues and soul, based from London, acquired by Bauer in 2018.

From 7 May 2021, the station has 20 additional stations available online with a premium subscription.[20]

  • After Hours
  • Avant Garde
  • Best Live Jazz Performances
  • Big Band and Swing
  • Big Easy
  • Carnival
  • Crossroads
  • Dinner Jazz
  • Headliners
  • Jazz DNA
  • Jazz Funk Party
  • Move On Up - Funk and Soul
  • New Heat
  • Piano Jazz
  • Players Lounge
  • Relax with Jazz
  • Robbie Vincent's Music Garden Party (originally called Rhythm - The Beat Goes On)
  • Smooth and Soulful Jazz
  • Summertime
  • Vocal Expression


A network similar to Absolute, dedicated to rock music.

From 7 May 2021, the station has had 20 additional stations available online with a premium subscription.[20]

  • Alt Rock 80s
  • Alt Rock 90s
  • Alt Rock 00s
  • Alt Rock 10s
  • Alt New Rock
  • Alt Rock Anthems
  • Alt Rock Party
  • Alt Rock Workday
  • Alt Rock Workout
  • Everything Emo
  • Fresh Blood
  • Full Metal Racket
  • Goth Rock Party
  • Grunge Garden
  • Kerrang! Radio Unleashed
  • Klassic Kerrang! Radio
  • Non Stop Headliners
  • Pop Punk Ruuules!
  • PWR Up Live
  • Rebel Rebel
  • The Moshpit
  • US Rocks


The KISS network is aimed at a young 15-34 audience and plays predominantly rhythmic (dance/urban) music.

  • KISS, Available on Digital One national DAB across the UK, and on FM in London.
  • DAB stations:
    • Kisstory, DAB station, dedicated to old skool and anthems.
    • Kiss Fresh, DAB station, playing non-stop new beats.
  • Online only stations:
    • Kiss Bliss, station playing slow paced and acoustic music relating to the Kiss brand.
    • Kiss Dance, playing the latest dance music.
    • Kiss Garage, dedicated to the UK garage scene.
    • Kiss Ibiza, station playing the biggest mixes from electronic dance music.


  • Magic, Melodic adult-contemporary music service aimed at 25 to 54 year olds, available on DAB nationally and on FM in London.
  • Magic Chilled, Laid-back modern hits (principally mellow chart pop of the 1990s and 2000s).
  • Magic Mellow (also known as Mellow Magic), Melodic classic hits and love songs.
  • Magic Soul, A mix of soul, funk, Motown and R&B music.
  • Magic at the Musicals, DAB+ station playing show tunes.
  • Magic 100% Christmas, a format flip for the main Magic station from late November to Boxing Day playing Christmas music.

Planet Rock[edit]

From 7 May 2021, the station, along with has had 20 additional stations available online with a premium subscription.[20]

  • Acoustic Amps Off
  • Americana
  • Chilled Rock
  • Classic 70s Rock
  • Classic 80s Rock
  • Classic 90s Rock
  • Classic 00s Rock
  • Classic 10s Rock
  • Driving Songs
  • Hair Metal Heroes
  • Main Stage Live
  • New Rock
  • Party Rock
  • Power Anthems
  • Rock Ballads
  • Rock Your Workout (temporarily renamed Bloodstock Radio during the 2021 Bloodstock Open Air)
  • The Blues Bar
  • The Prog Lab
  • UK Rocks
  • Workday Rocks

Scala Radio[edit]

From 7 May 2021, the station has 20 additional stations available online with a premium subscription.[20]

  • 100% Baroque
  • 100% Mozart
  • 20th Century Classics
  • Car Journey Classical
  • Classical Bangers
  • Contemporary Classical
  • Dinner Party
  • Hit the Dancefloor
  • In the Park
  • Mindfulness Music
  • Movie Blockbusters
  • Piano Playlist
  • Screen Time
  • The Big Composers
  • The Classical Era
  • The Console
  • The Jukebox
  • The Romantics
  • The Study Space
  • Time to Sing!

Stand alone[edit]

National/ part-national[edit]

  • Heat Radio, contemporary pop, co-branded with Bauer's Heat magazine. Online and Local DAB.



  • Mojo Radio, classic rock, early pop, blues and soul; broadcast on digital TV and online; ceased broadcasting in 2008.
  • Q Radio, rock, alternative rock; broadcast nationally on Freeview and online; closed on 7 May 2013; replaced by Kisstory.
  • Radio City Talk, a talk format station which provided rock and sport to Merseyside and the North West. It closed in May 2020 due to no longer having financial viability. It was a sister station to Radio City and Greatest Hits Radio Liverpool & The North West.
  • Smash Hits Radio, contemporary pop hits; following its removal from DAB it continued over Freeview, until being withdrawn to release a slot for Kiss Fresh.
  • 3C, country music station, based in Glasgow, acquired as part of SRH takeover, broadcast on DAB in various areas and Freeview nationally; closed 2007; replaced on Freeview by a relay of Clyde 1 for a time.
  • Radio Plymouth, local station based in Plymouth. Acquired by Bauer in 2020, and merged into Greatest Hits Radio.
  • Wave 105, based in Hampshire, acquired as part of SRH takeover. Covered part of the south coast and neighbouring counties; played the latest hits. Merged into Greatest Hits Radio South in 2024.

DAB multiplexes[edit]

Bauer is a partner in one of the UK's national commercial multiplexes, operates twelve wholly owned local DAB multiplexes, and jointly owns a further three with Global Radio; the firm was also formerly a minority partner (of Wireless Group) for local services in three further areas. Bauer operates the following DAB multiplexes:

Sound Digital[edit]

Bauer has a 30% holding in Sound Digital, operator of the second national commercial DAB multiplex to launch in the UK; this began transmissions in spring 2016 and several Bauer stations broadcast on it, some transferred from other multiplexes. The other partners are Wireless Group (30%) and Arqiva (40%).

Bauer Digital Radio[edit]

Bauer's wholly owned digital multiplexes are primarily located in areas where the firm operates local FM stations; the original group of Bauer (formerly Emap) DAB multiplexes are located in the following areas:

Score Digital[edit]

As part of Emap's takeover of Scottish Radio Holdings, the firm gained control of Score Digital, the DAB multiplex operator owned by SRH. Competition guidelines required the merged firm to divest of one of the multiplexes obtained in this deal, and so the Ayr multiplex formerly run by Score was sold on to Arqiva. The remaining Score multiplexes have since been relabelled as Bauer multiplexes.[21]

The ex-Score DAB multiplexes are located in:

Bauer DAB[edit]

The Wireless Group and Emap entered into a venture to run the following three DAB multiplexes. These multiplexes were initially branded as TWG-Emap multiplexes; following the sale of TWG to UTV (creating UTV Radio), the multiplexes were relabelled as UTV-Emap, and following the sale of Emap's radio assets to Bauer, the blocks were renamed again as UTV-Bauer. Bauer owned 30 per cent of the UTV-Bauer venture, but sold its stake in November 2013.[22] Now wholly owned by Bauer Radio following the sale of the Wireless local stations in 2019.

CE Digital[edit]

Bauer and Global Radio jointly own CE Digital Ltd, each holding 50% of the venture. The CE operation was established by Emap in partnership with the Capital Radio Group, which through mergers subsequently became part of GCap Media and later Global Radio. The 'CE' multiplexes take their name from the initials of Capital and Emap, and have not been renamed despite the identity changes of both operators.

CE Digital operate the following DAB multiplexes:

Radio City 2 balloons[edit]

In 2008 Radio City 2 started annually releasing hundreds of balloons (with messages attached) from the roof of the Radio City Tower "in memory of loved ones that we miss at Christmas time." This practice continued on an annual basis until December 2016. It ended because the helium-filled balloons caused widespread litter and were dangerous for animals to eat. On 22 December 2016, Radio City 2 and presenter Pete Price were contacted by numerous scuba divers and members of the public urging them to cancel the planned mass balloon release at midnight on 22 December. The balloon release went ahead. Two diving journalists contacted Radio City 2's owner, Bauer Media Group, asking for the practice to be stopped. Bauer Media confirmed that no company within the Group would conduct a balloon release in the future. An exception to this was made by Key 103 on 24 May 2017, two days after the Manchester Arena bombing, in memory of the 22 victims.[23]


In March 2023, Bauer announced that all its radio stations and audio content across Europe would be available in once place, named Rayo.[24] Rayo will be an app and website, replacing its existing radio station apps and Planet Radio website.


  1. ^ "History". Emap. Archived from the original on 25 April 2008 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ "Bauer Radio Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Will Clyde flow on after takeover? Concern over future of city station after pounds-391m buyout". The Herald. 22 June 2005. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Bauer Media launches two new radio portfolios – Bauer Place and Bauer Passion (press release)". 14 April 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  5. ^ TFM leaves Teesside to share with Metro, Radio Today, 5 April 2013
  6. ^ Greatest Hits Network Change request form Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Ofcom
  7. ^ Magic Changes Ofcom Request Form Archived 21 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine Ofcom
  8. ^ "Digital radio listeners in East Anglia miss out on 18 DAB stations | Eastern Daily Press".
  9. ^ "Bauer buys radio group Orion Media", The Guardian, 6 May 2016
  10. ^ "Orion Media sold to Bauer for £50m", The Telegraph, 6 May 2016
  11. ^ "Bauer takes over at Jazz FM; plans to enhance offering". a516 Digital. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Bauer Media acquires Lincs FM Group". 5 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Bauer Media continues to grow with two acquisitions". 5 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Bauer buys Wireless Group's local radio stations". 8 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  15. ^ "BAUER MEDIA UK TO ACQUIRE UKRD GROUP". Bauer Media. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Final report: Completed acquisitions by Bauer Media Group of certain businesses of Celador Entertainment Limited, Lincs FM Group Limited, Wireless Group Limited, and the entire business of UKRD Group Limited" (PDF). GOV.UK. Competition and Markets Authority. 12 March 2020. pp. 16–21. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Brands – Radio". Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Hits Radio Pride". Hits Radio Pride. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Bauer Media Group agrees to acquire Jazz FM". Radio Today. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  20. ^ a b c d "Bauer introduces subscription radio services". Prolific North. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  21. ^ "DAB Ensembles WorldWide – UK Local & Minimuxes". Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  22. ^ "See 'End Notes' on page 28" (PDF).
  23. ^ Rosemary E Lunn (9 January 2017), "Bauer Media To Stop 'Balloon Releases' Within The Group", X-Ray Mag
  24. ^ Martin, Roy (23 March 2023). "Bauer to bring all of its radio and audio together with Rayo". RadioToday. Retrieved 30 March 2023.

External links[edit]