Biggest radio industry stories of 2019 on RadioToday

More has happened in the UK radio industry during the last 12 months than any other 12 month period in the last 15 years, based on the number of stories, reaction and visitors at RadioToday.

The year 2019 has seen it all – major consolidation – major brand networking – major radio talent moving, and sadly some radio greats have left us.

Our stories are industry focussed so are based on the views by radio people rather the general public. Radio stories that also appear on mainstream sites get fewer views on RadioToday, as the details are available elsewhere. The majority of our stories are unique and exclusive.

OK, so here we are, the biggest stories viewed by visitors of of 2019:


Gethin Gemma and Dave quit Hits Radio Breakfast

The trio lasted just 12 months after a fanfare of publicity surrounding the new show and the launch of a national radio station from Manchester in June 2018. They were replaced by Fleur East, Greg Burns and James Barr in 2019.


Johnnie Walker – Radio 2

Johnnie Walker started 2019 with a break due to illness but returned shortly afterwards.


Phil Williams – 5 Live

Phil Williams left BBC Radio 5 Live after an 18-year run. His evening show was taken over by Sarah Brett.


Greatest Hits Radio launches

It seems like longer ago but Greatest Hits Radio launched in January 2019 with Simon Ross on Breakfast, Mark Goodier on mids, Andy Crane on afternoons, Darren Proctor on Drive (Rachel New in the WM) and Rick Houghton on evenings. It replaced the ‘2’ stations from Bauer including Metro 2 Radio, Rock FM 2 and Hallam 2.


Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show

Also in January 2019, Zoe Ball replaced Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2 Breakfast. Zoe’s first song was Respect by Aretha Franklin. Fandabbyruddydozy.


Simon Mayo Scala Radio

It was only in January 2019 that Simon Mayo and Bauer announced details of Scala Radio, and that he was lined up for the mid-morning show. His reveal and subsequent station launch made the 5th biggest story of the year.


John Myers

The words radio legend were reserved for John. He left a great big hole in the industry when he suddenly passed away in June 2019 whilst enjoying his third favourite thing in life, behind family and radio. Your contributions to our tribute podcast made this one of our biggest articles of 2019 – one we wish we didn’t have to write.


Chris Evans Virgin Radio

Whilst this was announced at the end of 2018, Chris Evans took over the breakfast show on Virgin Radio at the start of 2019 and made our third biggest story of the year.


Bauer buys Wireless, Lincs FM, Celador and UKRD

It started off like any other week, but Bauer bought Wireless Group, Celador Radio and Lincs FM Group in early February 2019, and competed the acquisitions with the purchase of UKRD a few weeks later. The ramifications of the move are yet to be seen, whilst the CMA investigates any potential competition issues.


Global networks

No surprise to some but the biggest story for radio in 2019 was the news that Global was to network breakfast shows across local and regional Heart, Capital and Smooth stations.

The company later said it would network Smooth Drive instead of Breakfast, for reasons not announced.

We had various stories on the topic – including our most shared story of the year predicting how many presenters and producers would be out of work following the move. Other stories within the news included the appointment of Amanda Holden joining Jamie Theakston at Heart.

Fancy a trip down memory lane? Check out our biggest stories of 2018 here and 2017 here, and look out for our 2020 predictions coming soon.

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  1. Barry says

    See what happens this year.

  2. Mark budgen says

    Global takes over all radio in UK and renames itself Conservative Party Radio.

  3. JW says

    Mark Budgen posts something sensible.

  4. Dr Alan Kirsz says

    Greatest Hits Radio is one of the year’s biggest disappointments with poor breakfast show and afternoon shows and presenters, a repetive playlist and station promotions and endless prattle from most of its presenters

    1. T1 says

      Poor name as well. Would you see sweets called “greatest chocolate bar” or shop at “greatest supermarket shop”. They need a one word brand like capital, heart, kiss, magic. They seem to have a slogan and not a brand.

    2. Nathan pick says

      Greatest hits radio has been counting down the top 500 this week and I must say it’s been brilliant radio.nothing wrong with it only problem I have is I wish we could have it on fm in the east Midlands or in stereo on the Derbyshire multiplex

  5. Lee says

    I predict Global will take over OFCOM, take over UK Commercial Radio as a whole, make much more profit and spend some of the additional income on reintroducing local content. Oh well three out of four might happen. I think any company or group wishing to syndicate over sat 50% of the output should be stopped. If they can’t make a profit then the licence should be returned for others to try. There are only so many Hearts and Capitals that anyone can put up with! You can hear Heart and Capital on numerous frequencies in some areas such as Essex, and Derby such a waste of frequencies.

    1. AlMorr says

      Why not just that Gobal will take over the BBC as well. 😊

    2. Nathan pick says

      Yeah we can now hear capital in derby on 96.2 96.5 101.6 102.4 102 8 and 105.4 its utter rubbish

  6. Harjeet says

    Happy New year to all
    My concern with amount of station allocated to many freq and the s, cast same music on on all freq utter waste time money and fm frequency
    New independent radio operators on these freq and radio 1,2 so on can broadcast on one freq as modern technology has come on long way and it’s possible to have one station broadcast on same frequency in many cities, towns just get rid of multi frequency operating it free up fm band and allow new stations on air giving more choice for listern it can be done

  7. Alan Hall says

    I do not know why there is no mention on this website that Go Radio in Glasgow is now going full time this month, January 2020.
    All the very best to everyone at Go Radio. It is available on DAB in Glasgow.

  8. Alan says

    Greatest Hits Radio in 2019 was a disaster killing off whole of local radio in uk, plus can’t stand Dawn French announcement but she good comedian just not good on radio and so shame on you Bauer Radio. On Radio 2 well done to Huey Morgan and Tom Robinson stand in for Johnnie Walker’s The Rock Show & Sound Of The 70s from last year.

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