Gold to be Free Radio 80s in West Mids
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Gold to be Free Radio 80s in West Mids

Orion Media has announced it will be launching an 80s station on DAB and four medium wave frequencies later this year under the Free Radio brand.

Free Radio 80s will take over from Gold, which Orion runs as a franchise from Global Radio and currently takes network programmes from Leicester Square with opt outs for sports commentary.

Orion says the station will be locally produced and presented and offer 80s hits along with local news, travel and information aimed at the 35+ audience. Football show ‘The Goalzone’ will feature live commentaries fronted by local sports broadcasting legend Tom Ross. It means the Gold weekday line-up of Paul Coyte, Tony Dibbin, Eamonn Kelly, David Andrews and Dean Martin will no longer broadcast to the West Midlands.

The Gold stations becoming Free Radio 80s in the autumn are the former AM sister stations of BRMB, Mercia and Beacon – which have had names in the past such as Xtra AM, WABC, Capital Gold and Classic Gold. Before the FM/AM split in the late 80s, the frequencies were used by the three heritage stations BRMB, Mercia and Beacon Wolverhampton.

Free Radio 80s will broadcast on DAB across the West Midlands as well as on 990/1017 AM (Wolverhampton and Shropshire), 1152 AM (Birmingham and North Worcestershire) and 1359 AM (Warwickshire).

Orion CEO Phil Riley said “We currently have 120,000 listeners across our AM/DAB network in the West Midlands. Our goal is to grow this audience by developing a music radio station that naturally sits closer to our FM brand.”

Free Radio launched on FM in March this year, replacing heritage brands BRMB, Mercia, Beacon and Wyvern.

The move to an all-80s format follows Absolute Radio’s digital station Absolute 80s and Swansea station Bay Radio, which also now just plays music from the decade.



0 31 333 24 May, 2012 Industry News May 24, 2012

About the author

Stuart Clarkson is Deputy Editor of RadioToday and Freelance Journalist for a number of UK radio stations. Follow him on Twitter @stuartclarkson.

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31 comments

    1. MB

      No, Gold 774 is owned by Global so it will stay as it is.

      Free Radio 80s may be on DAB in Gloucestershire when it launches as the current proposal is for the same station line-up to be on MuxCo in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire.

      Reply
      1. Davewiggywiggins003

        That Is No Good Global Gold  Stations 
        Are No Good Now Beacuse It Is Bad I Do Think And Feel That Gold 774 Am Gloucestershire Should Be Own By Bauer And ReName Gold 774 Am Gloucestershire As Magic 774 Am Gloucestershire That Would Be Better Now

        Reply
  1. Martin Kong

    I take it that listeners who like music from the 60’s and 70’s will have to retune to Smooth Radio.

    Reply
    1. Martin Kong

      Yes it would be great to get Les back. However I believe we found the identity of one presenter who will be on the new station.

      Reply
  2. Radio Geordie

    The only good thing is that it will have local presenters again rather than just as part of an opt-out.  But why an 80s station?  They could’ve done their own gold format and called it Free Gold.  After all, it is supposed to be aimed at the 35+ audience.  People born in the 1960s and 70s are 35+ these days.

    All that’s left will be for GEM 106 to be rebranded Free Radio – give it time.

    You can bet your ass that Gold will reappear on MXR as Asian FX disappeared about a year ago and as far as I can remember, was never replaced.

    Reply
  3. Dave Wiggy Wiggins

    It Is A Big Big Shame That Free Radio 80s Will Not Be Here In Gloucestershire On 774 Am I Just Hope Bauer Media Will Come On Down Here To Gloucester And Take Over Gold 774 Am Gloucester And Re Name It As Magic 774 Gloucestershire That Would Be So Much Better Now

    Reply
  4. Gold listener from Coventry

    Pity that as usual the west midlands like to cut themselves off from the rest of the uk. Must think with all their footie programmes they are they bees knees! Now we can only listen to 80’s all the Gold 60/70/80 music progs are gone! Thanks really good living here pity I do. Can only use the Internet now thanks

    Reply
  5. Ralph Rowley

    Is there any radio station in the West Midlands that will be the equivalent of Gold?I like 80s music but want to hear ssongs from the 60s.70s too,Personally Smooth doesn’t appeal.

    Reply
  6. Birmingham Radio Fan

    I think this is a great shame, as I quite like Gold radio and now all we will get is 1980s music, which by and large I despise and pretty much hate. Wall to wall Bryan Adams and Phil Collins anyone? Aaaaaaaarghhhh!! What am I going to listen to now on the radio? Certainly not this 80s station ‘Free Radio’. Oh well…….

    Reply
  7. Wolverhampton listeners

    Think you’ve made a big mistake trying to make us listen to 80s music. Listeners switching off or retuning to other stations. Even radio 2 is better than this one . My family and friends will continue to listen to Gold via the internet! That’s free too!!

    Reply
  8. gold music fan

    i loved gold for its 60s & 70s music, i’ll be looking to retune to other stations as i hate what i’v heard so far.what a bad move orion media.

    Reply
  9. VINTAGEACT

    A CRYING SHAME- Are decisions driven by the ages of the management of the new set up.A loss of 2 or 3 decades of listeners I fear.We had only recently moved from WM,

    Reply
  10. Jean Rowley

    What a load of rubbish, big mistake, have listened to Gold for years, now I will look for another station which does 60’s and 70’s. Jean Rowley

    Reply
  11. gerry from birmingham

    never heard such a load of rubbish in my life who in there right mind would want to listen to a radio station that only plays 80s music wat a total waist of time and why werent the listeners informed absolutly discussed

    Reply
  12. Shropshire Gold Listener

    Why just the 80’s ? Free Radio have just alienated most of the Gold listeners, we like the mix of 60’s & 70’s so I will now be switching to another station.Big mistake to take off a station that everybody likes so much and if free radio think that this is what we want well that’s just rubbish, when were we asked ?

    Reply
  13. Wolverhampton listeners

    Update:- If you need to set a radio alarm, then probably the best radio station to tune in to, is Smooth on 105.7. They do play some 60’s & 70’s music. Simon Bates is the breakfast show presenter. If you don’t have a computer, or access to the Internet, then you can still listen to Gold through your tv. Virgin media 959. Not sure about Sky or free view though! Hope this of help to someone. BRING GOLD RADIO BACK TO THE WEST MIDLANDS !!!

    Reply
  14. chrisp

    Can’t think why anyone would listen to only the 80’s. Will now use the internet to Gold via the internet until the mistake is put right and Gold returns on DAB.

    Reply
  15. Bob Adams

    Free radio, no thanks, again some guy sitting in his ivory tower decides what the people of B,Ham want to listen to. You have lost your unique selling point….you were different from the rest..now your the same as all the other stations only worse because you offer no variety…..Good Bye

    Reply
  16. mervyn

    Bring back Gold to the WM. You have lost another listener, I’m switching to listen to Gold on the internet and mobile app. Why on earth change something that was so good.

    Reply
  17. Rod. Lichfield

    I have listened to XTra AM since it started and then Gold, driving along in the car. Who on earth wants to listen to 80s music all day? Only a moron. I shall remove the frequency setting from my car radio.

    Reply
  18. James O Horton

    I am very disappointed that they have taken Gold off. However I have managed to find it on a medium wave frequency broadcasting from Gloucestershire. It is only low power, intended for the local area, so not as good a signal as DAB but better than listening to Free radio.

    Reply

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