Virgin Radio UK launches two new digital spin-offs

Wireless is creating two new digital radio services for its Virgin Radio brand – Virgin Radio Anthems and Virgin Radio Chilled.

Both will broadcast nationally on the SDL multiplex, which Wireless jointly owns with Bauer and Arqiva.

Virgin Radio Anthems will play guitar-led classic tracks targeting a 35+ audience. It’s an extension of the Anthems feature on the main station and will become home to longer-form features celebrating classic albums and big music anniversaries. Virgin Radio Chilled will be home to acoustic singer-songwriters and is targeting 25-44 year olds with artists including Damien Rice, James Bay, Rag’n’Bone Man and Sigrid. The Chilled station will also air acoustic sessions recorded exclusively for Virgin Radio UK.

The NewsUK-owned radio group says it is part of a drive to build on the “brand’s momentum as it diversifies its portfolio and continues to grow its audience”.

Both stations, which are already available online via the Virgin Radio website, will also carry the new Chris Evans Breakfast Show when it launches on 21st January.

Francis Currie, Group Content Director – Music Radio at Wireless, told RadioToday: “Virgin Radio Anthems and Chilled demonstrate our commitment to putting our listeners at the heart of what we do. They’re building out from the DNA of the Virgin Radio UK brand and I’m certain they will provide the perfect music blend for our existing listeners as well as hooking new audiences with their must-listen playlists.”

Scott Taunton, Wireless CEO, added: “Virgin Radio UK is a pillar brand in the Wireless portfolio – and the launch of these two new channels underlines our continued commitment to invest and grow the brand, creating amazing content that delivers. With Chris Evans and his team due to land in the breakfast slot in January, we’re on track to making Virgin Radio UK one of the biggest brands in digital radio.”

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22 Comments
  1. Spencer Payne says

    No doubt both will be in beautiful low-fi mono

  2. neil says

    How many are excited the Chris Evans show will no longer be in Hi-fi stereo but inferior to FM stereo online from January and even tinpot mono on DAB? Maybe the clowns at Virgin will work on their bitrates offering soon?

    1. Mb23 says

      Th two new stations are carrying his breakfast show and they are DAB+ stereo.

  3. neil says

    https://radio.virginradio.co.uk/stream?awparams=platform:ts-web&amsparams=playerid:ts-web;skey:1545418345224 <<Dreadful quality 128k chris evans radio followers with decent equipment will notice the plunge in audio quality

  4. Michael V says

    Now this is interesting… I think the chilled music idea is really good. It’s a break away from all the pop music we hear on every big branded name. Not sure if Jack 3 is still chill music based? Maybe someone can update me on that!?

    Both will obviously be in DAB+. Could an existing service be converting the DAB+ also as I thought there wasn’t any more room on the SDL/D2 mux.

    Time for D1 services to start moving over to DAB+!!! Ha!

    1. Alex says

      You can also listen to Global’s Chill – which is a true chilled stream.

    2. Adrian says

      I liked the chilled station playlist (when I can hear it!).Good blend of songs some of which are a pleasant surprise without being too obscure.

  5. neil says

    https://radio.virginradio.co.uk/stream-anthems?awparams=platform:ts-web&amsparams=playerid:ts-web;skey:1545419061996 <<Yep virgin Anthems has launched in tinpot 128k audio..still better than what it will be on dab

  6. neil says

    At least Jack 3 provide a 320aac stream which is hi-fi sound

  7. Pat says

    Yes Jack 3 are still playing the same stuff-I’d call it M.O.R.personally.The chill name seems to be applied to more modern laid back stuff.The DAB offerings will still not be available in much of Wales and no doubt other parts who can’t get the SDL multiplex.I also agree about the low quality streams.Although these stations are already running I haven’t found them very easy to access from the website and are not exactly being trumpeted on there-in fact the website is not exactly user friendly-to me anyway.

    1. Michael V says

      Hi Pat. Yeah sadly much of Wales is not covered. SDL improved in South East Wales nearer the heads of the Valleys towards Powys but I don’t think it goes much further than South East Wales DAB mux. They need to focus on West Wales more.

      1. Owdoo says

        Can’t get anything in Ystradgynlais (South powys boarding Swansea) a shame really.

        1. Michael V says

          It’s seems most of their focus has been South East, shame it doesn’t go much further west than the Valleys. I’m not sure how far past Swansea it goes, I haven’t given it a listen. There’s BBC & D1 in South Powys. They could probably share the site.

    2. Mb23 says

      The UK population coverage of SDL is now 83%. It looks like less on a map because most of the areas not covered are sparsely populated.

      1. Pat says

        Yeah,I suppose people in the 17% not covered should just move then should we?,Quite a few of us also can’t get a good mobile phone signal or more than a few channels on freebies either-all because the population isn’t considered large enough to bother.In Eire where I was recently things are different with rural people not considered as second class citizens,it’s all about money in the UK and how much you can make.

        1. Adrian says

          My problem is not so much the lack of the DAB signal as you can get a much better selection of stations on satellite.However,when you are in an area for dodgy phone and broadband too and the only way to get decent TV is via Sky you do get rather frustrated and the fact that 80-90% of the country has coverage isn’t much use in reducing the frustration!.In our village we have aerials pointing in three different directions on some houses and that’s because reception is better im different directions depending on weather etc-some of you people don’t know how lucky you are!.

  8. Stephen barnes says

    Virgin chill is more modern and upbeat than Jack 3. I love the virgin anthems playlist it’s like absolute decades playlist merged.

  9. Michael V says

    Both are in SDL now. In 32bit. Radios with the new processor in from the last few years will decode it as stereo. Old DAB+ radios from before 2013/2015 will not.

  10. Stephen barnes says

    Listened. To both even though I’m quite old 60 I prefer virgin chilled to anthems. That’s the closest I’ve heard to a radio 1 and half great variety of old and new.

    1. Adrian says

      Agreed,problem is playlists are not large enough.Have tuned-in several times in last few days and heard the same songs.

  11. Mark Levy says

    There’s only so many great anthems around. No one writes many hands up in the air stuff these days.

    1. Pat says

      Plenty of tracks could be added to the chilled playlist (some of the tracks on there are actually a bit heavy and also played on anthems).With Regards to anthems-there are plenty of tracks that could be played as what they class as anthems is quite wide (e.g.Beach Boys-God only Knows(not hands in the air surely?) and Paranoid-Black Sabbath)-perhaps classics would be a better title for that stream?.

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