Bauer National

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Bauer National is a portfolio of eight radio brands in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by Bauer Radio.

Absolute Radio[edit]

Bauer purchased the Absolute Radio group of stations from TIML in 2013. The core Absolute Radio station had been established as one of the three Independent National Radio franchises in 1993, broadcasting on AM radio and, from 1999, national DAB; since 1995, a relay of the station (with split local advertising, and at some times split programming) has been available in London on 105.8 FM. Initially branded Virgin Radio, the station took the name Absolute Radio in 2008. The station has since launched a number of sister stations, currently comprising five decade-themed services and a dedicated classic-rock station.


Kiss plays predominantly rhythmic (dance/urban) music. The East and West versions of Kiss were previously SRH-owned Vibe stations. The three services now simulcast most programming content (from London), though retain the ability to split where needed, including for local advertising and news bulletins.


Magic 105.4 FM is a melodic adult-contemporary music service, available on FM in London and, since January 2015, on DAB nationally. It can also be heard on Freeview, Sky and online.

Two new sister services to Magic launched in March 2016 as part of the Sound Digital national DAB multiplex:

  • Mellow Magic plays predominantly melodic classic hits and love songs, building on the existing evening programming block of the same name within Magic; this station will be provided in the standard DAB format.
  • Magic Chilled plays laid-back modern hits (principally mellow chart pop of the 1990s and 2000s). It will be Bauer's first station to broadcast in the DAB+ format, and will therefore only be available on DAB+-compatible devices.

A third service in the Magic portfolio was added in summer 2016:

  • Magic Soul plays soul, funk, Motown and R&B music. The station launched to local-level DAB in a number of areas in summer 2016 as pop-up service Magic Soul Summer, before being retained - under a shortened permanent title - from the autumn. Presented shows - voicetracked by existing Magic DJs - have been introduced to the station, which is now promoted as part of the Magic family alongside the Chilled and Mellow stations.

Planet Rock[edit]

Planet Rock is a DAB radio station, which plays primarily classic rock music. The station was established in 1999 and was initially run by the GWR Group; it was sold to Malcolm Bluemel's 'Rock Show' consortium in 2008 and from there to Bauer in 2013. Planet Rock is a digital-only service, transmitting on the DAB network (and through digital TV and online platforms). On 1 March 2016, Planet Rock ceased being a fully national station due to the station transferring to the Sound Digital multiplex, which is not available across all of the UK. Devon, Cornwall, parts of Scotland, Wales, East Anglia and other areas of the UK will no longer be able to receive Planet Rock on DAB.

Hits Radio[edit]

  • Hits Radio is a quasinational contemporary hit radio service which launched on 4 June 2018. It was formed from a combination of the Greater Manchester FM station Key 103, which had launched (as Piccadilly Radio) in 1974, and digital service The Hits Radio, which had launched in 2003 abd which broadcast over Freeview and DAB (from January 2015 to September 2017, The Hits' ptogramming content had been broadcast on DAB as a network of localised Bauer City 3 stations.) Hits Radio programme content is the same on the Manchester FM and national digital versions of the station, though local news/travel bulletins and advertising for the Manchester service run. The station's programming is broadcast on Bauer City 1 stations outside of local hours.

Heat Radio[edit]

  • Heat Radio - hot adult-contemporary and celebrity chat; on DAB, Freeview and online. The DAB transmission migrated from local-level DAB to Sound Digital in 2016.

Kerrang! Radio[edit]

  • Kerrang Radio - a service of modern rock music, broadcast on Freeview nationally and online; the station's DAB slots outside London were turned over to Absolute Radio 90s in December 2014, and its London DAB transmission ended in May 2018 to make way for Hits Radio. Kerrang! launched as a digital station on Freeview in 2002, expanding to DAB in London from 2003 and other areas from 2004. From 2005 to 2013, the station, as Kerrang! 105.2, broadcast to the West Midlands on FM from studios in Lionel Street, Birmingham. It was removed from FM to be replaced by Planet Rock (then by Absolute Radio from 2015), with the Birmingham studio closed and the Kerrang! Radio brand retained as a digital-only station run from London.

Jazz FM[edit]

  • Jazz FM - a digital radio service playing jazz, soul and blues music. Broadcast on the Sound Digital DAB multiplex, Norwich trial DAB multiplex and commercial Maltese DAB multiplex as well as Sky, Freesat and online.

Former stations[edit]

  • 3C - country music station, based in Glasgow, acquired as part of SRH takeover, broadcast on DAB in various areas and Freeview nationally; closed 2007; replaced on Freeview by a relay of Clyde 1 for a time.
  • Mojo Radio - classic rock, early pop, blues and soul; broadcast on digital TV and online; ceased broadcasting in 2008.
  • Q Radio - rock, alternative rock; broadcast nationally on Freeview and online; closed on 7 May 2013; replaced by Kisstory.
  • Smash Hits Radio - contemporary pop hits; following its removal from DAB it continued over Freeview, until being withdrawn to release a slot for KissFresh
  • The Hits Radio - contemporary hit music; merged with Key 103 in June 2018 to form the current Hits Radio service.

External links[edit]