Bauer Media to launch Greatest Hits Radio network

Bauer is to replace its Bauer City 2 branding in England in favour of a new station name launching in January, called Greatest Hits Radio.

Stations in England which are part of the network will get rebranded, whilst its Scottish sister stations will retain their names whilst being part of the “Greatest Hits Network”.

In addition, the new network will sit within the recently launched Hits Radio Network, and operate from hubs in Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. It will be added to the same local multiplexes as Hits Radio to cover most of the country.

Bauer’s 105.2FM licence in the West Midlands (currently Absolute Radio) will adopt the new name and a three-hour local show added.

Radio City 2 on 105.9FM, will rebrand to Greatest Hits Radio, as will the rest of the network including Metro 2 Radio, Rock FM 2 and Key Radio (see below for the full list). The service in England will have one breakfast show hosted by Simon Ross, currently on breakfast at Radio City 2.

In Scotland breakfast will be fronted by Ewan Cameron across the Greatest Hits Radio Scotland stations Forth 2 in Edinburgh, Clyde 2 in Glasgow and Northsound 2 in Aberdeen, Westsound 2, MFR2 and Tay 2 in Dundee and Perth.

Bauer introduced the City 2 network in 2015, which resulted in Manchester adding Key 2 and Key 3 to complement Key 103. With this and other recent strategy changes, all three stations have changed names or will be on January 7th.

Andy Ashton will take up the role of Content Director, Greatest Hits Radio. Andy has worked across the Bauer Hits Radio network for the last eighteen months, launching new breakfast shows in Leeds, Scotland and most recently Birmingham.

Commenting on the launch, Group Managing Director Hits Radio Graham Bryce commented: “The Greatest Hits Network has proved itself to be a popular format with great success in Scotland and Radio City 2 in Liverpool. This audience is ageless in attitude and seeking a station which connects to them and plays a real variety of upbeat classic hits. We know this Network is capable of being one of the biggest in the UK and are excited to roll it out nationally.”

Andy Ashton, Content Director, Hits Radio Network added: “I am thrilled to be heading up the launch and vision for a new national brand there is a genuine gap for. This audience is intelligent, funny and energetic, as well as being passionate about The Greatest Hits! I can’t wait for listeners to hear it.”

The station will also launch with a series of shows which will feature the Greatest Hits of the biggest and most iconic artists in the world, created by Wise Buddah and presented by Mark Goodier. It will feature artists like George Michael, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Prince, Elton John and The Beatles.

As Andy leaves Bauer in the Midlands, James Brownlow will take up the role of Content Director, Hits Radio Network Midlands – a new role overseeing Gem and Free Radio.

Here are the details of the station name changes in England:

Radio City 2 = Greatest Hits Radio Liverpool the North West and North Wales

Key Radio = Greatest Hits Radio Manchester

Rock FM 2 = Greatest Hits Radio Lancashire

Hallam 2 = Greatest Hits Radio South Yorkshire

Radio Aire 2 = Greatest Hits Radio West Yorkshire

Viking 2 = Greatest Hits Radio East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire

TFM 2 = Greatest Hits Radio Teesside

Metro 2 Radio = Greatest Hits Radio North East

Free Radio 80s = Greatest Hits Radio Coventry and Warwickshire

Free Radio 80s = Greatest Hits Radio Hereford and Worcester

Absolute Radio 105.2FM = Greatest Hits Radio West Midlands
Free Radio 80s = Absolute Radio Classic Rock

Free Radio 80s = Absolute Radio Classic Rock

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  1. Stephen Bottomley says

    Where is Andy Crane going,best presenter on the station

  2. Owen says

    Not a bad move, particularly if/when they rename all the Big City stations Hits Radio.

  3. Martin Kong says

    Phew, no more TFM2 and Rock FM 2, as it confuses the heck out of everyone.

  4. Radio Producer says

    Hey, what a great idea…. More of the same, with (another) different name…

  5. Steve says

    So Simon Ross will be heard all over England? What happens to Local news/Sport and travel updates?

    1. Martin Kong says

      It will still be there.

  6. Scott Donald says

    It’s great the English stations are going under one brand. For it to be truly national would it be better the Scottish stations followed suit and become Greatest Hits Radio with the status quo, it seems an odd decision to do it this way

    1. Adrian says

      It’s not odd,Scottish listeners actually warm to local branding-otherwise many say it’s coming from those Sassenachs and turn over.

      1. Allan Wallace says

        Scott Donald is absolutely correct to say it is an odd decision not to make the branding truly national. Frankly, your comment is borderline racist.

        1. Adrian says

          Sorry,I did not mean to cause offence to anybody,I was merely trying to emphasise the point that Scottish people like to hear material from their own country-and why shouldn’t they?.If they didn’t then Bauer would not be providing specific programmes for them now on their AM stations in Scotland.To be honest I would be happy if people in my locality felt the same amount of identity for where they live,then the amount of local programming would not be so much on the wane.Once again sorry if you were offended-I didn’t think It would cause upset.

  7. Pat says

    So this new station for the Midlands will actually only have one 3 hour local show plus no doubt a minute of news on the hour with around one local story and play pop stuff like so many other stations.It should have been left as Absolute-why should fans of anything other than mainstream have to put up with inferior quality-or is it just a ploy to get more take up of DAB?.

  8. Sj says

    Magic and Kiss are big brands on FM on London. Yet, outside of London, they waste time and money inventing new, weaker brands from scratch. Bauer are great when it comes to national/London brands but always hopeless and baffling when it comes to their local stations.

    1. Nick says

      They should have left AM stations as ‘Magic’ and rebranded the FM as ‘Kiss’
      They are 10 years behind Global’s branding equivalent.

    2. mb23 says

      The Kiss brand doesn’t fit with the pop tracks that are played on the heritage FM stations, they are too mainstream. The Ofcom format for Kiss is contemporary and classic dance music.

  9. Radio Geordie says

    No real surprise there. It’s only a matter of time before the rest are rebranded as Hits Radio.

  10. Peter says

    what about coverage for the whole of Lincolnshire

    1. Nik says

      You’ve got lincs FM. Sorry mate.

  11. Radio Producer says

    Lincs FM… Stone age radio, with a play list to match

    1. Pat says

      Sorry,playlist in last hour Go West,Anne Marie,George Ezra,Lenny Kravitz,Swing Out Sister,Olly Murs,Taylor Swift,Take That,James Arthur,Plain White T’s,Texas.Uninspiring maybe but surely not prehistoric?.

  12. Clive Shutler says

    Shame Free radio 80s is changing!

  13. Danny Williams says

    I’m a senior brand marketeer in the travel sector – my brands spend millions on radio advertising. Not with Bauer. Bauer’s branding is the most confused effort I’ve ever seen – has been for years – and continues to be with this latest announcement. There’s no branding or marketing person in the world that would sanction such continued inconsistent, randomised branding; which leads me to think it must be the misguided director/ownership who are calling the shots. Global are branding EXPERTS by comparison. Global will be really pleased with this announcement – it extends their opportunity to further amplify their lead on Bauer. In 5 to 10 years we’ll have BBC and Global. That’s all.

    1. Mr Nice Guy says

      Danny, love your train of thought, you’re spot on drastic from the moment they rebranded all the magic network stations and remember at one point it was also rebranded Radio 2 which swiftly had to be rebranded to (local station name 2) which was was totally ignored when first noted.


    The idea of a strong Classic Hits brands nationwide – Good
    As usual I’m sorry but Bauer seem confused, lackluster and whilst this could be a great opportunity to doing something good- they seem to always have the capability to mess it up.
    The name sucks, the logo sucks, again it’s all a bit confused.
    I’m no fan of Global (rreally!) but they are always clear, bold & well executed for which I have to give them credit. The DAB Access The FM coverage, the AM coverage Bauer have and it’s just become a mess. They should be as big and strong as Global. They have Magic, Kiss, Absolute, Jazz FM what a portfolio.

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