Real Radio

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Real Radio
Real radio.png
Broadcast area Northern England (exc. Cumbria), Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire
Slogan Real Good Feel Good Radio (2012 - 2014)
Last air date May 2014 (Merged with Heart)
Format Adult Contemporary
Language(s) English
Former frequencies 88–108FM
Owner Communicorp/Global Radio
Website Heart

Real Radio was a network of five regional radio stations broadcasting to Northern England, Scotland, Wales and Yorkshire. Each station broadcast a mix of local and networked programming. On Tuesday 6 May 2014, the stations were merged with the Heart network.

Radio broadcasting distribution of audio content to a dispersed audience via any audio mass communications medium

Radio broadcasting is transmission by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both. The signal types can be either analog audio or digital audio.

Heart (radio network) British radio network

Heart is a radio network of 33 adult contemporary local stations operated by Global in the United Kingdom, broadcasting a mix of local and networked programming. Nineteen of the Heart stations are owned by Global, while the other three are operated under franchise agreements.



Real Radio logo, 2001-2012 Real radio.jpg
Real Radio logo, 2001–2012

Sir Robert Phillis, the former GMG chief executive, enlisted John Myers to establish GMG Radio. [1] Myers became the company's managing director in 1999, and won GMG its first licence in South Wales in April 2000. [2] Real Radio (Wales) launched on Tuesday 3 October 2000. Initially serving south and west Wales, the station expanded to north and mid Wales in January 2011, over two years after winning a second licence. [3]

Sir Robert Weston Phillis was a British media executive with experience both in broadcasting organisations and the press.

John Myers (radio executive) British radio executive, consultant and presenter

John Myers is a former British radio executive, consultant and presenter. He is the former Chairman of the UK Radio Academy Awards, The Commercial Radio Awards and owner of Myers Media. Myers developed the Century Radio brand for Border Radio Holdings in the early 1990s, launching two more stations later in the decade. He presented programmes under the pseudonym "John Morgan". He then became Chief executive of GMG Radio, developing the Real Radio, Smooth Radio and Rock Radio brands and overseeing GMG Radio's acquisition of the Century network from GCap Media. He served as Chief executive of The Radio Academy from April 2011 until June 2012 and the founding Chairman of TeamRock, retiring in May 2016.

GMG Radio, and for a short while Real and Smooth Limited, was a company which owned the Real Radio and Smooth Radio networks. As GMG Radio, the company was the radio division of the Guardian Media Group until it was bought in 2012 by Global Radio, however pending regulatory review of the merger the company was renamed Real and Smooth Limited and operated as a separate entity, until May 2014.

In June 2001, Scot FM was acquired from the Wireless Group for £25.5 million. [4] Scot FM would become Real Radio's second station at 8 am on Tuesday 8 January 2002. [5] A bid to expand the service to Aberdeenshire in 2006 proved unsuccessful, losing out to Original 106.

Scot FM

Scot FM was a regional radio station serving Central and Southern Scotland. Broadcast from studios at Albert Quay in Leith, the station was billed as radio for Scotland's thinking classes but was unable to create a clear identity for itself, while changing its format to focus on more populist content, including less speech and more music. The station was relaunched as Real Radio Scotland in January 2002 following a buyout by GMG Radio. Real Radio has since been succeeded by Heart Scotland.

Wireless Group Limited is a radio and digital broadcasting network with its headquarters based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and with radio operations in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. It currently operates five stations in Ireland and 18 in the UK. The company was formerly known as UTV Media owned by UTV Television however, its television broadcasting services were sold to ITV plc in February 2016 and its radio, sales services and websites were spun-off into a new company called Wireless which was later purchased by News Corp.

Original 106 (Aberdeen)

Original 106 is an independent radio station broadcasting to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It was awarded its broadcast licence in January 2007 and the station launched on 28 October 2007 at 1:06 pm. The first record played was "Revolution" by The Beatles. On 12 September 2009 the station was sold to a consortium led by Adam Findlay which included John Quinn and Murray Strachan. Adam Findlay's New Wave Media owned Dundee radio station Wave 102, John Quinn is the majority shareholder and chairman of Central FM, a station which covers the Forth Valley in the Central Belt.

Real Yorkshire, the third station, launched on 25 March 2002 and broadcast to South & West Yorkshire. [6] [7] [8]

Heart Yorkshire

Heart Yorkshire is a regional radio station owned by Communicorp and operated by Global as part of the Heart network. It broadcasts to South and West Yorkshire from studios in Leeds.

In 2008, John Myers convinced the GMG board to invest £1 million in documentaries, a first for modern-day UK commercial radio which would lead to several industry awards. [9] [10] Myers left GMG shortly afterwards.

Real North East and Real North West were introduced from the Century Network on 30 March 2009. [11] Both stations were founded by GMG Radio chief executive John Myers, who acquired the two from GCap Media in October 2006. [12] [13] [14] [15] The Discover the Real You strapline was introduced to all stations. [16]

Heart North East

Heart North East is a regional radio station owned and operated by Global as part of the Heart network. It broadcasts to North East England from studios in Newcastle.

Heart North West

Heart North West is a regional radio station owned and operated by Global as part of the Heart network.

Century Radio was the brand name of a group of independent local radio stations in England. The brand was developed with the launch of 100-102 Century Radio in North East England in 1994, with John Myers as managing director and John Simons as programme director. The brand grew when Myers launched 106 Century FM for the East Midlands, and further when 105.4 Century Radio was launched in North West England in 1998. Ocean FM used the Century format, but not the brand.

In July 2008, networked programming was introduced across all stations during evening and overnight timeslots, [17] and in November 2012 this was increased to daytime timeslots. [18] Most networked programming was broadcast from studios in Salford Quays. Notable presenters included Chris Tarrant [19] [20] and Ryan Seacrest who fronted a bespoke version of his syndicated US entertainment show On Air with Ryan Seacrest . [21] [22]

The most recognised strapline Real good, feel good radio, was introduced in March 2012. [23]

In August 2012, the two former Century Network stations, in the North East and the North West, were gaining just half the listeners they once had. [24] [25] Both saw a decline in Listening Share In TSA % when comparing Q2 period in 2011 and 2012, from 6.30% to 4.8%, and 3.9% to 3.0% respectively. [26] Figures for Scotland also lowered whilst Wales and Yorkshire steadied. [27]

Closure and merger with Heart

Heart logo, 2014 onwards The Heart Network logo.svg
Heart logo, 2014 onwards

On 25 June 2012, Global Radio (the owner of stations such as Capital and Heart) announced it had bought GMG Radio, [28] however the GMG radio stations would continue to operate separately until a regulatory review into the sale took place. [29]

Secretary of State Maria Miller announced in October 2012 that the sale would not be investigated on the grounds of plurality. [30] The Competition Commission was due to publish its final report on 27 March 2013, [31] but delays over the decision left the former GMG stations in a hold separate situation. [32] A holding company called Real and Smooth Limited was formed.

On 21 May 2013, the Competition Commission ruled Global would have to sell radio stations in seven areas of the UK - including all areas served by a Real Radio station. [33] A subsequent appeal by Global was rejected at a tribunal. [34]

On 6 February 2014, Global Radio announced it would be rebranding all Real Radio stations as Heart and be selling Real Radio Yorkshire and the Northern licence of Real Radio Wales to Communicorp. Heart's network programming and brand name will be used under a franchise agreement. [35]

On 25 March 2014, the stations began a transition period to the Heart branding. The Real Radio branding was phased out on Sunday 20 April 2014 - for the time being, all stations are referred to on air as The Heart of (TSA).

The full launch of the new Heart stations took place at 6 am on Tuesday 6 May 2014. All local programming is retained with networked output on all stations carried from Global's Leicester Square studios in London, replacing the once networked output from Real Radio's Laser House studios in Salford Quays. Real Radio Wales has now been split into two separate stations following the changes, by providing localised programming from Cardiff and Wrexham respectively.

List of former Real Radio stations

Related Research Articles

Heart Wirral

Heart Wirral was an Independent Local Radio station broadcasting to the Wirral Peninsula, sharing its facilities with Heart Wrexham and Gold, in Gwersyllt, Wrexham.

Heart Wales

Heart South Wales is a British Independent Local Radio station serving South and West Wales. The station is owned and operated by Global Radio and forms part of the expanded Heart radio network of stations.

From 2010 to 2014, Smooth Radio was an independent, commercial, national radio station in the United Kingdom. Owned by Real and Smooth—a company formerly known as GMG Radio—the station was aimed at the over-40 demographic, and competed for its audience with BBC Radio 2. It was broadcast on the DAB Digital Radio Digital 1 national multiplex, Sky, Freesat, Freeview, Virgin Media, online and on regional FM and DAB frequencies in the North West, London, North East, West Midlands, Scotland and East Midlands. Nationally the station attracted a weekly average audience of 3 million.

Jazz FM (UK)

Jazz FM, is a radio station broadcasting on digital radio in the United Kingdom and Malta which predominantly plays jazz music, jazz standards as well as blues and soul music. The station also plays specialist programming in a wide variety of jazz disciplines. The station, in this incarnation set up by Richard Wheatly, can trace its roots back to 102.2 Jazz FM, which launched in 1990. The current station launched on 6 October 2008 at 19:00 BST.

Nation Radio Scotland

Nation Radio Scotland is a Scottish independent local radio station for Renfrewshire, Glasgow and West Central Scotland, owned by Nation Broadcasting.

John Simons is a British radio executive, former group programming director for GMG Radio now working as an International Radio Consultant, mainly in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Real Radio XS (Digital)

Real Radio XS was a classic rock independent local radio service broadcast on DAB in various parts of the United Kingdom. It was formerly part of the Rock Radio group of stations owned by GMG Radio, and whilst initially a separate station, latterly carried programming sourced from 106.1 Real Radio XS in Manchester.

Heart North Wales

Heart North Wales is a local radio station owned by Communicorp and operated by Global Radio as part of the Heart network. It broadcasts to North and Mid Wales from studios in Gwersyllt, near Wrexham.

Capital (radio network) UK radio network

Capital is a network of eleven independent contemporary hit radio stations in the United Kingdom, broadcasting a mix of local and networked programming. Nine of the stations are owned and operated by Global, while the other two are owned and operated by Communicorp UK under franchise agreements.

Real Radio XS

Real Radio XS was a radio station brand operated by Real and Smooth Ltd based in Salford, Greater Manchester, broadcasting a variety of peak-time news, rock music and talk output. The Manchester-based version of the service broadcast to Greater Manchester on FM, and to a number of areas on DAB: the closure of the MXR regional multiplexes ended most digital carriage of the service, with the last remaining digital transmission, to Yorkshire, ending in 2014. The other Real Radio XS service, serving Paisley and Renfrewshire on FM and central Scotland, became Xfm Scotland in 2014 before closing entirely in 2015. The Manchester frequency now transmits as XS Manchester under the control of Communicorp UK.

Smooth Radio

Smooth Radio is a network of adult contemporary local radio stations broadcasting on FM and MW stations in the United Kingdom. Launched in March 2014, they replaced the national Smooth Radio that had launched in 2010 on FM, and most outlets of Gold on MW. Each FM station broadcasts localised breakfast and drivetime programming on weekdays, with networked shows simulcast from London at all other times. Three of the six FM stations, and all eighteen AM frequencies, are owned and operated by Global, with the remaining three FM licences owned by Communicorp and run as a franchise.

Heart Scotland

Heart Scotland is a regional radio station owned and operated by Global Radio as part of the Heart network. The station relaunched as Heart on Tuesday 6 May 2014, serving Central and Southern Scotland from studios in Glasgow city centre.

A timeline of notable events relating to Global Radio, a British media company founded in 2007.


  1. Andrews, Amanda (28 February 2008). "John Myers tends Guardian Media's radio unit". The Times. London. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  2. GMG Radio wins Yorkshire radio licence Georgina Lipscomb, Broadcast, 18 July 2001
  3. GMG Radio sale: Look back at group’s history Radio Today, 25 June 2012
  4. Lorna Martin (2002-01-09). "Real Radio launches big bold challenge to rivals". Sport | SPL | Aberdeen. Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  5. agnes stevenson (2002-01-08). "A new station joins the air wars". Sport | SPL | Aberdeen. Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  7. name=broadcast>
  8. Radio Authority publishes assessment of South and West Yorkshire licence award Ofcom, 23 July 2001
  10. Andrews, Amanda (28 Nov 2010). "BBC enlists commercial sector help to shake up radio". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
  12. Guardian buys GCap radio stations Julia Day, The Guardian, 18 October 2006
  13. GMG Radio purchase Century FM Radio Today, 18 October 2006
  14. Who are Real Radio? Real Radio North East
  15. Day, Julia (18 October 2006). "Guardian buys GCap radio stations". The Guardian. Retrieved 2006-03-12.
  16. Real Radio launches £2m ad push Mark Sweeney, The Guardian, 31 March 2009
  17. Galloway to replace Davis for Real, Radio Today, 27 June 2008
  18. Real Radio introduces networked daytimes Radio Today 15 October 2012
  23. Real Radio has a rebrand Jonathan Jacob, Earshot Creative, 17 March 2012
  24. Real Radio North East: audience figures
  25. Real Radio North West: audience figures
  26. RAJAR
  27. Around the groups and brands in Q2, 2012 Radio Today, 2 August 2012
  28. Global Radio seals £50m purchase of GMG Radio Maisie McCabe, Media Week, 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  29. GMG Radio sold to Global for £50m Mark Sweeney, The Guardian, 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  30. No plurality issues for Global GMG merger Radio Today, 11 October 2012
  31. Date set for Global Radio’s CC results Radio Today, 11 October 2012
  32. CC delays Global GMG takeover decision Radio Today, 21 February 2013
  33. Global/GMG final report Archived 2 April 2014 at the UK Government Web Archive Competition Commission, 21 May 2013
  34. Global Radio appeals against order to sell off GMG Radio stations Mark Sweney, The Guardian, 14 June 2013
  35. Martin, Roy (2014-02-06). "Communicorp buys 8 Global stations". RadioToday. Retrieved 2014-02-06.