Radio Today - radio review of 2009
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Radio Today – radio review of 2009

Welcome to the Radio Today look back at what really has been an eventful year in radio. We've seen no less than 11 radio stations close, (three of which returned) a few re-brands and a couple of new stations launch.

This time last year, Duke Street in High Wycombe was the home of TLRC's management and group staff, along with presenters and staff from Mix 107. Now neither of them exist. And Heart was the name of just three radio stations, rather than 33.

We also lost a handful of great radio people, including Tim Grundy, Phil Easton, Freddie Mack, Tim Stewart, Brian James, Rob van Pooss, Keith Macklin, Simon Dee, Dave Kilner, Pamela Reed, Graham Knight, Keith Floyd, Norman Painting, Mike Ahern, John Russell, Paula Hewitt, Malcolm Laycock, Tom Merriman, Nasim Jamil, James Klass, Stevie Fly and Sir Bob Phillis.

Read on as we take you month by month through 12 months of UK radio.

[link=]JANUARY – HEART ATTACK[/link]

2009 kicked off with phase 1 of the Heart re-branding scheme with nine stations including Chiltern Radio and Radio Broadland changing to Heart. Richard Wheatley planned to buy Jazz FM, and Digital One said it wanted to expand the amount of stations available on the national commercial DAB multiplex.

UTV Radio sold Imagine FM to a local company after threatening to close the south Manchester station, and south Cumbria station Abbey FM closed down by its joint owners TLRC, CN Group and The Radio Business.

And Bob Shannan was appointed controller of Radio 2 and 6 Music, replacing Lesley Douglas.


Dream 107.7 was relaunched as Chelmsford Radio, and UBC Media sold its commercial division to GTN UK. UKRD started buying major shares in TLRC and both GMG and Bauer announced pay freezes for staff in all divisions.

[link=]MARCH – REAL GROWTH[/link]

UKRD continued its attempt to buy more TLRC shares, whilst City Talk put in a request to talk less and play more magic music. Global Radio fell out with Ofcom over a Yellow Card given to GWR Bristol, and 12 more stations changed to Heart including Gemini, Fox FM and Plymouth Sound.

The Century Radio name was consigned to history in the UK as the two stations in the north west and north east of England were rebranded as Real Radio.

[link=]APRIL – SHUTDOWN[/link]

Valleys Radio, Zee Radio, South 107.3, Time 106.8 and KCR closed, whilst Wheatley got his hands (back) on Jazz FM, and a bidding war started for TLRC.

BBC Radio 2 won station of the year at the Music Week Awards, Global Radio sold their stake in Digital One and SunTalk launched online.

[link=]MAY – EVANS ABOVE[/link]

Chris Evans hosted the Sonys, at which he won two Gold Awards, Bauer removed five stations from Sky and Cable, and Phil Riley was announced as the new owner for eight Global Radio stations in the midlands, including BRMB.

Hit 40 UK was axed and Radio Hampshire closed down, only to be saved by Play Radio shortly afterwards. May was also the month when UKRD gained controlling interest in TLRC. A number of management exits commenced.

[link=]JUNE – FOR SALE[/link]

Amazing Radio launched on DAB, Banbury Sound launched on FM, and nine more Hearts were born.

TLRC sold Fire 107.6, Sovereign Radio, Arrow FM and Silk FM, CN Group sold the Touch Radio network, and Mix 107 closed down.

Classic FM got new jingles, and John Myers told Ofcom, and an audience at The Radio Festival, that the regulator has about as much vision as Stevie Wonder.

[link=]JULY – THIS IS GOLD[/link]

Play Radio launched in Southampton, Duke Street in High Wycombe was wiped off the radio map, and Ofcom announced further frequencies for London.

CN Group cut back on radio management and Gold got new jingles.

[link=]AUGUST – NO MORE SBES[/link]

Bath FM owner South West Radio went into administration, and SBES was cancelled. Club Asian also went under whilst Kick FM was sold to Andover Sound and Isle of Wight Radio was sold by UKRD.

David Cameron also appeared on Absolute Radio – which provided a clip worthy of the News at Ten.


It was announced Star Radio was heading to the north east to take over from Alpha, Durham and Minster Northallerton. It was rumoured that Chris Evans was to take over from Sir Terry, and it was said that Key 103 was to start using the same station voice-over as BBC Radio Manchester. Oh no wait, that last bit was true.

Original Bristol asked for a Format change – ready for the re-brand to Jack, and The Quay was sold to Portsmouth Football Club.

[link=]OCTOBER – KICK OFF[/link]

Kick FM re-branded as Newbury Sound, IRN's John Perkins retired, UTV resigned from RadioCentre, and Global Radio got a pile of cash from Microsoft to promote Windows 7.

It was finally made public that Chris Evans was to take over breakfast on BBC Radio 2 and Absolute Radio won Gold at the NDL Radio Academy Promotions and Marketing Awards.

And Absolute Radio's One Golden Square Labs upset Bauer by launching


UKRD and TLRC followed UTV in removing themselves from RadioCentre, Sir Terry Wogan entered the UK Radio Hall of Fame, Kiss launched a kick-ass iPhone app, and Ford Ennals was appointed as head of Digital Radio UK.

JAM celebrates 35 years of making jingles.

[link=]DECEMBER – BOR-ING[/link]

Digital One got three more services – Panjab, UCB and NME Radio whilst the big digital debate between UTV, UKRD and RadioCentre went public.

UTV Radio announced Central Radio was to close on Christmas Eve, but Radio Today reported a last minute buyer was found.

City Talk cut most of its main presenters ready to go rolling news, Ralph returned to radio and Wogan said a tearful goodbye to all the TOGGS.

And Tom Binns made world headlines after calling the Queen Bor-ing.


What will the next 12 months bring? Stay with to find out, and come back in 12 months from now when we'll review it all.

Hear more radio industry news like this at the top of the hour on inRadio - the radio industry's very own radio station. Listen now in a new window whilst you continue reading RadioToday or press play below.

0 0 643 01 January, 2010 Station News 3:32 am 20091 Friday, January 1st, 2010

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