Hits Radio

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Hits Radio
Hits Radio logo (2018 - ).png
Broadcast area United Kingdom (digital)
Slogan All The Biggest Hits
Frequency 103.0 MHz (Manchester)
DAB (National)
Format CHR/Pop
Owner Bauer Radio
Sister stations Absolute Radio
Heat Radio
Jazz FM
Kerrang Radio
Kiss
Magic
Planet Rock
Webcast Radioplayer
Website planetradio.co.uk/hits-radio/

Hits Radio (formerly The Hits) is a national CHR station owned and operated by Bauer Radio. The station is broadcast from studios at Castle Quay in the Castlefield area of Manchester, with a line up of young and established presenters from various stations within Bauer Radio. It is provided on DAB in many parts of the UK and nationally on the Freeview, Sky TV platforms and online.

There is a network of 20 local radio stations in Northern England, Scotland and the West Midlands, that air a mix of local and networked music-led programming from the national station, alongside local news, travel and sport.

History

The Hits launched on 1 April 2003.

On 19 January 2015 The Hits formed the backbone of a new locally branded Bauer City 3 network of radio stations in Northern England and Scotland.[1]. The local City 3 branding was dropped on 31 August 2017, in favour of reverting to using The Hits name in all areas.[2]

On 18 April 2018, station owners Bauer Media announced The Hits would be rebranded and relaunched as Hits Radio, a CHR-led music station aimed at 25-44 year olds.[3]

On 4 June 2018, Hits Radio launched and The Hits was merged with Key 103 to provide a single national service across the UK on DAB and Freeview.[4] In Manchester, Hits Radio continues to provide local news and information, traffic bulletins and advertising on its local platforms - 103 FM, DAB and online.[5] 'Hits Radio' also produces and broadcast off-peak programming for Bauer's network of CHR local stations which continue to air local programming at peak times.

Hits Radio rebrand

On 18 April 2018, station owners Bauer Media announced Key 103 would be rebranded and relaunched as Hits Radio, a CHR-led music station aimed at 25-44 year olds on Monday 4 June 2018.[6]

The station was merged with The Hits to provide a single national service across the UK on DAB, Freeview and online.[7] In Manchester, Hits Radio continues to provide local news & information, traffic bulletins and advertising on its local platforms - 103 FM, DAB and online.[8]

The Key 103 branding was phased out from Friday 25 May 2018 as the station entered a transition period ahead of the launch of Hits Radio at 6am on Monday 4 June 2018. The first song played on air - decided by an online poll via the Manchester Evening News - was "Greatest Day" by Take That.

The former Key branding was retained by the sister AM station, which rebranded as Key Radio (Manchester) on the same day as the launch of Hits Radio. [9] However, this was only short-lived, as on 7 January 2019 the Key Radio name was dropped when the station became part of the Greatest Hits Radio network.

Technical

The station broadcasts on the analogue frequency 103 FM, from a transmitter on high ground to the North and East of the region. Broadcasts started from here at the station's launch in 1974. The station also broadcasts on DAB across the region.

The DAB signal is broadcast from transmitters located at Winter Hill and City Tower, Manchester on the CE Manchester multiplex. With the addition of Sutton Common, near Macclesfield, the DAB signal has a reliable coverage area that includes Greater Manchester, South Lancashire, most of Cheshire, parts of North East Wales and Merseyside, with much better reception than the FM frequency can provide as 103.0 suffers from co-channel interference from other stations on nearby frequencies.

In May 2016, two additional digital transmitters were launched at Littleborough and Saddleworth.

The relaunch as Hits Radio in 2018 saw the station added to DAB multiplex transmissions in a number of local areas - mostly those served by Arqiva's NOWdigital multiplexes, as well as being made available on the CE Birmingham multiplex (replacing Magic Soul) and in stereo in London (replacing Kerrang! Radio and Absolute Radio 70s, which were removed on 23 May and replaced with a Hits Radio placeholder.

The Hits Radio relaunch also saw the station replace The Hits Radio on Bauer's DAB multiplexes and on the Arqiva-operated commercial Freeview multiplex. In addition, Hits Radio was provided over the Sky satellite TV platform, on a channel previously occupied by Absolute Radio 70s.

Local variations

North of England

West Midlands

Scotland

Programming

The majority of Hits Radio programming is produced and broadcast from Bauer's northern headquarters in Castlefield, Manchester.

The station's presenters include Gemma Atkinson, Gethin Jones and Dave Vitty (Hits Breakfast), Wes Butters (Hits Drivetime), and Sarah-Jane Crawford.[10]

News

In Manchester, Hits Radio broadcasts local news bulletins hourly from 6 am to 7 pm on weekdays, from 7 am to 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Headlines are broadcast on the half hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside traffic bulletins.

On Hits Radio UK, bespoke national news updates are broadcast in place of the local bulletins. Syndicated bulletins from Sky News Radio are carried overnight.

Logo history

Programming and presenters

Local programming - consisting of at least seven hours on weekdays and 4 hours on Saturdays and Sundays - is mainly produced and broadcast live from the originating station's studios. The main exceptions are Hits Radio, which produces the majority of its programming from Manchester, and TFM, which shares all programming with Newcastle-based Metro Radio.

In July 2017, West FM in Ayrshire moved its output to Clyde 1's Clydebank studios, but retains its local programming with local news, sales and charity staff based in Ayr.[11]

The majority of networked programming is broadcast from the studios of Hits Radio in Castlefield, Manchester and Clyde 1 in Clydebank, Glasgow. Networked output also originates from Forth 1 in Edinburgh. Apart from some weekend and overnight output, separate networked shows are produced for Scotland and England.

The two versions of Hits Radio carry the same programming apart from opt-outs for local news, traffic and advertising in Manchester.

North of England, West Midlands and across the UK

Scotland

All

On 28 July 2015, Bauer announced it would reintroduce further separate programming for Scotland and Northern England, including split editions of Old Skool and Anthems and the weekday evening and Sunday morning shows. The changes were introduced during August 2015.[12]

In February 2017, the Free Radio group of stations in the West Midlands began carrying off-peak programming from the network, replacing most of its own regional output from Birmingham.

From July 2017, most of the local daytime shows from 10am-2pm on weekdays were replaced with networked shows for Northern England (from Key 103 with Debbie Mac) and Scotland (from Clyde 1 with Greig Easton).[13] CFM, MFR, and Radio Borders retain their own daytime programming.

A revamped networked schedule for stations in Northern England and the West Midlands was introduced in June 2018, following the rebranding of Key 103 as Hits Radio. The Scottish network of stations was unaffected.

Opt-outs and variations

  • Clyde 1 provides live football commentaries throughout the season, alongside a nightly edition of its sports show, Superscoreboard, on weekday evenings from 6-8pm.
  • Clyde 1 opts out of Hits Party on Saturday evenings to air The GBXperience.
  • Metro Radio and TFM opt out of Hits Chilled from Sunday to Thursday nights to air the long-running North East talk show, Night Owls, presented by Alan Robson.
  • Radio City airs the 'Legends Phone-In' on Monday and Thursday evenings during the football season.
  • CFM, MFR and Radio Borders all retain their own local daytime shows on weekdays from 10am-2pm.
  • Forth 1 and Radio Borders air Super Scoreboard sports shows on Saturday afternoons - with the latter providing in-depth rugby union coverage.

News

All stations in the network carry their own local 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 sport and traffic bulletins.

At weekends, bespoke networked bulletins air from 2pm (until 6pm on Saturdays and 4pm on Sundays). These are produced by Clyde 1 for all the Scottish stations, while the Leeds newsroom at Radio Aire produces bulletins for the English stations. National news updates also air on the national version of Hits Radio in place of the local bulletins for Manchester.

At all other times, mainly evening & overnight, hourly national bulletins originate from Sky News Radio.

References

  1. ^ Bauer City Network 3 launches on local DAB Radio Today, 19 January 2015
  2. ^ "The Hits to replace Bauer's City 3 network", RadioToday, 2017-08-29
  3. ^ Bauer to launch new national radio station, Bauer Media, 18 April 2018
  4. ^ Key 103 to become Hits Radio as part of major rebrand, Prolific North, 18 April 2018
  5. ^ Key 103 to rebrand as Hits Radio and go national, Radio Today, 19 April 2018
  6. ^ Bauer to launch new national radio station, Bauer Media, 18 April 2018
  7. ^ Key 103 to become Hits Radio as part of major rebrand, Prolific North, 18 April 2018
  8. ^ Key 103 to rebrand as Hits Radio and go national, Radio Today, 19 April 2018
  9. ^ Key 2 on AM and DAB rebrands as Key Radio, Radio Today, 4 June 2018
  10. ^ Bauer City Network to be rebranded Hits Radio Network as new national station beckons, The Drum, 18 April 2018
  11. ^ West FM to move output from Ayr to Glasgow, RadioToday, 12 June 2017
  12. ^ Bauer brings local radio back to Scotland, Radio Today, 28 July 2015
  13. ^ "Networked mid-morning shows for Bauer stations". RadioToday. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2018.

External links

  • Official website
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