Greatest Hits Radio

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Greatest Hits Radio
  • United Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
FrequenciesFM: various
DAB: various
RDSGrt Hits
BrandingThe Good Times Sound Like This!
Across TSA
FormatClassic hits and specialist music
OwnerBauer Media Audio UK
Hits Radio
Hits Radio Pride
First air date
5 January 2015 as Bauer City 2
7 January 2019 as Greatest Hits Radio
Former frequencies
AM: various

Greatest Hits Radio is a classic hits radio network in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by Bauer Media Audio UK.


The network launched on 5 January 2015 as the "Bauer City 2 Network",[1] and rebranded on 7 January 2019 due to the success of Radio City 2 in Liverpool on FM.[2]

As of April 2023, the network consists of 18 local and regional radio stations operating over 50 FM and DAB licences in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as a national DAB station[2] in areas not served by a local Bauer-owned licence.

In most cases, the stations are networked, apart from a three-hour regional afternoon show on weekdays and localised opt-outs for news, weather, travel and advertising.


Historic 'Gold' Stations[edit]

The stations which initially formed the Greatest Hits Radio network are predominantly sister stations to the corresponding Hits Radio network stations. Many were originally set up as a 'Gold' counterpart (e.g. Radio City Gold in Liverpool) when stations were instructed by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to cease simulcasting their services on both AM and FM in the late 1980s. The main exception to this was FM station West Sound in Dumfries and Galloway.

Greatest Hits Radio (Scotland) and Magic (Northern England)[edit]

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.

In Scotland, local programming on AM stations was largely retained until networking outside of weekday breakfast and specialist shows was introduced in June 2009.

The Magic stations gradually began to form a network merging most of their schedule until, and by March 2013, only local content consisted of three regional breakfast shows on weekdays, serving the North West, the North East and Yorkshire.[3]

In July 2013, the remaining Scottish local output ceased, leading to a fully networked schedule known as 'Greatest Hits Network.[4]

Greatest Hits Radio (Scotland) and Radio City 2 (Northern England)[edit]

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 (City 2 Network) 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.

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.

Greatest Hits Radio (National)[edit]

On 7 January 2019, Greatest Hits Radio replaced the Bauer City 2 branding due to the success of Radio City 2 in Liverpool. Local station identities in Northern England took on Greatest Hits Radio branded names and Scottish stations retaining their local brands.

Greatest Hits Radio also became available on FM in the West Midlands taking over the 105.2 FM frequency from Absolute Radio. Greatest Hits Radio also took over Absolute Radio's London FM frequency (105.8) on 17 May 2021.

The network expanded with Greatest Hits Radio UK broadcasting across most of the local DAB multiplexes across the UK.

The service took the Liverpool FM programming with national news bulletins and traffic reports.[9][10]

Network expansion[edit]

In May 2020, Bauer announced that 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 were merged and began carrying networked output, alongside a regional show on weekdays and localised news, travel and advertising.

On 13 July 2020, the former Wireless Group and Celador-owned stations joined the Greatest Hits Radio network. The nineteen stations carried local breakfast shows and voicetracked programming whilst retaining separate branding until the full relaunch on 1 September 2020.[12]

On 1 September, Bauer closed down Leeds-based Radio Aire so that it could switch the frequency from the Hits Radio network to Greatest Hits Radio as part of the merging with twelve stations in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.[13]

On 17 September 2020, Bauer bought Radio Plymouth.[14]

On 15 October 2020, it was announced that the Suffolk station Ipswich 102, part-owned by Bauer through their purchase of Lincs FM Group, would take the GHR brand and network programming, including the East region drivetime show, from November, with the former Town 102 on DAB, which had carried GHR East since the September network relaunch, being replaced by Hits Radio.[15]

On 22 October 2020, it was reported the Oldham and Rochdale station Revolution 96.2 had been sold to Bauer for conversion into GHR, joining the Manchester AM and Bolton/Bury FM licenses in the GHR North West network.[16]

In March 2021, Ofcom approved Bauer's application for permission to alter the FM licence held by the London FM relay of Absolute Radio, enabling the frequency to be used to provide a London variant of GHR.[17] with Absolute Radio continuing to be available by way of its national AM and digital transmissions. The change took place on 17 May.

On 17 June 2021 Bauer announced the purchase of Imagine Radio from the Like Media Group, with the existing Imagine service slated to be replaced by separate GHR feeds for Stockport and North Cheshire and the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales.[18]

On 19 September 2022, Wave 105's Poole transmitter began carrying Greatest Hits Radio Dorset.[19]

On 22 November 2022, Bauer announced that CFM in Cumbria & South West Scotland will rebrand to Greatest Hits Radio from 3 April 2023.

On 14 December 2022, Greatest Hits Radio launched on Sky, replacing Scala Radio on the platform.[20]

On 12 January 2023, Bauer announced that the seven heritage names in Scotland (Clyde 2, Forth 2, MFR 2, Tay 2 and Westsound (Ayrshire) and (Dumfries and Galloway), will rebrand as Greatest Hits Radio from 3 April.[21]

On 31 January 2023, Bauer announced that Radio Borders is to rebrand as Greatest Hits Radio from 3 April,[22] following the news earlier in the month which will see the seven Scottish heritage names also rebranding on the same day.

On 1 March 2023, Bauer announced that Lincs FM will lose its FM frequency and go DAB only from 3 April. The FM frequency will become Greatest Hits Radio.[23]

On the same day, Bauer also announced that three of the four FM frequencies held by Kiss in Cambridge (105.6), Ipswich and Colchester (106.4) and Peterborough (107.7), will switch to carrying Greatest Hits Radio and join the GHR East network. The 106.1 frequency in Norwich will continue to carry Kiss.[24]

On 12 November 2023, it was announced that GHR's remaining medium wave transmissions, in Scotland and northern England, would cease by the end of the year, but the station would continue on DAB in the affected areas.[25]

On 13 December 2023, Greatest Hits Radio was removed from satellite and cable platforms, along with every other radio station owned by Bauer Media on the TV platform, including Absolute Radio, Absolute Radio 80s, Absolute Radio 90s, Absolute Radio Classic Rock, Hits Radio, Kiss, Magic, Jazz FM and Planet Rock.[26]

On 28 March 2024, Bauer closed down Hampshire based Wave 105 and it re-branded into the Greatest Hits Radio network as Greatest Hits Radio South Coast


United Kingdom[edit]

East & West Midlands[edit]

East of England[edit]

Former stations


  • GHR London

Northern Ireland[edit]

  • GHR Northern Ireland*

North East England[edit]

North West England[edit]


South East England[edit]

South West England[edit]


Yorkshire and the Humber[edit]

Available on DAB only*


Networked programming for GHR is produced and broadcast from the studios of several Bauer stations across the UK.

  • In England, daytime output originates from Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester and from Bauer's Golden Square headquarters in Soho.
  • In Scotland, programming originates from studios in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • In South West Wales, local programming originates from Bauer's Swansea studios.

Off-peak time programming airs across all GHR stations from the Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and Soho studios.

There are some opt-outs and variations:

  • In the East, Midlands, North West, South, South West, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lincolnshire and the Scottish stations, regional afternoon shows air each weekday. The Simon Mayo drivetime show launched on 15 March 2021.[28]
  • The south of England air a separate Breakfast and mid-afternoon show on weekdays.
  • The Scottish stations air a separate Breakfast and mid-afternoon show on weekdays.
  • The Scottish stations also air a separate mid-morning show on a Sunday.


Bauer's newsrooms across the UK air local and national news bulletins hourly from 6am to 7pm on weekdays and from 7am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Headlines are broadcast on the half-hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside traffic bulletins.

At weekends, bespoke networked news bulletins air during the afternoon produced by the Bauer newsroom in Glasgow for Scotland and usually either Leeds or Manchester for England and Wales. At all other times, mainly evening and overnight, hourly national bulletins originate from Sky News Radio.

Notable presenters[edit]

Past presenters[edit]


According to RAJAR data, the GHR stations have a combined weekly reach of 6.8 million people as of December 2023.[29]


  1. ^ Schedule released for Bauer City 2 stations Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, RadioToday, 19 December 2014
  2. ^ a b [dead link]
  3. ^ Magic AM starts networking at breakfast, RadioToday, 15 February 2013
  4. ^ Galloway goes national at Bauer Scotland, RadioToday, 3 June 2013
  5. ^ Major brand swap for Bauer's local stations, RadioToday, 28 September 2014
  6. ^ Simon Ross moves to Radio City 2 Breakfast, RadioToday, 30 November 2015
  7. ^ Date set for Radio City 2 and 3 frequency swap, RadioToday, 16 November 2015
  8. ^ Northsound 2 to switch off AM radio service, Radio Today, 8 March 2018
  10. ^ Bauer Media to launch Greatest Hits Radio network Radio Today, 15 November 2018
  11. ^ "Most of acquired Bauer stations to become Greatest Hits Radio". RadioToday. 27 May 2020. Archived from the original on 12 March 2023.
  12. ^ "Bauer starts to roll out Hits and Greatest Hits to new radio stations". 9 July 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  13. ^ "Radio Aire to become Greatest Hits Radio". 16 July 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  14. ^ "Bauer buys Radio Plymouth to extend GHR network". 17 September 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  15. ^ "Ipswich 102 to rebrand as Greatest Hits Radio". 15 October 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  16. ^ "Revolution 96.2 sold to Bauer for Greatest Hits Radio". 22 October 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  17. ^ "Greatest Hits Radio approved for London 105.8FM". 25 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Bauer buys Imagine to extend Greatest Hits Radio". 17 June 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  19. ^ "Wave 105's Poole transmitter to become Greatest Hits Radio". 13 July 2022. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  20. ^ "Scala Radio to leave Sky". 9 December 2022. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  21. ^ "Bauer to rebrand seven heritage Scottish stations to Greatest Hits Radio". 12 January 2023.
  22. ^ "Radio Borders to rebrand as Greatest Hits Radio from April". RadioToday. 31 January 2023. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  23. ^ "Lincs FM to lose its FM frequencies for Greatest Hits Radio". RadioToday. 1 March 2023. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  24. ^ Martin, Roy (1 March 2023). "Greatest Hits Radio to replace KISS in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk". Radio Today.
  25. ^ Bauer to turn off AM services in Scotland, Ireland and Northern England Radio Today, 12 November 2023
  26. ^ "Bauer to remove all radio stations from satellite and cable TV platforms". 28 November 2023.
  27. ^ Martin, Roy (29 November 2022). "Bauer's Cumbria station CFM to rebrand as Greatest Hits Radio". RadioToday. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  28. ^ "Simon Mayo to host Drive on Greatest Hits Radio". 1 February 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  29. ^ "RAJAR". Retrieved 18 January 2023.

External links[edit]