Today’s news that Global Radio is buying the radio assets of the Guardian Media Group could lead to the end of the decade-old Real Radio brand and the expansion of Heart.
But where did Heart come from and where could it go?
Heart started life as a regional station in the West Midlands in 1994 – on the 6th of September – around the same time as other new regional stations such as Jazz FM North West and Century Radio North East. A year later Heart’s owner Chrysalis won a licence for London and launched Heart 106.2. Almost a decade later Heart 106 was launched in the East Midlands, replacing Century 106.
When Global Radio bought Chrysalis in 2007, Heart was rolled out to over 30 local stations around the South of England, putting an end to heritage names such as Invicta and Fox FM – before Global took advantage of new rules which allowed the merging of neighbouring Heart stations, creating the 17 “mini-regions” we have today.
This is the map as it stood a month ago, minus the recent expansion in Cornwal.
View This is/was Heart in a larger map
Heart East Midlands was sold to Orion Media and ran as a franchise until 2010/2011 when it was re-named Gem 106, leaving only the original Heart West Midlands as a regional licence.
With the addition of GMG Radio’s regional licences, Heart would be heard on FM for the first time in Scotland, the North East of England and Yorkshire.
Global Radio are currently saying they have no news on what will become of GMG Radio’s brands – but we are expecting the changes to be complete as soon as possible.