Key 103

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Key 103
Key 103 logo 2015.png
City Manchester
Broadcast area Greater Manchester
Slogan All the biggest hits - All day long
Frequency FM: 103.0 MHz
DAB: 11C
First air date 2 April 1974 (as Piccadilly Radio)
3 September 1988 (as Key 103)
Format CHR/Pop
Owner Bauer Radio
Sister stations Key 2
Key 3
Webcast Radioplayer

Key 103 is a local radio station owned and operated by Bauer Radio as part of the City 1 network. It broadcasts to Manchester from studios in Castlefield.


Key 103 logo used 2004 to 2015.

Originally named Piccadilly Radio, from its setup in 1974, broadcasting across greater Manchester on 261 metres medium wave (1152AM) and 97.0 VHF stereo. In early 1987, due to a nationwide re-organisation of the FM band, the station moved from 97.0 to 103.0 FM. Following the IBA’s announcement that all commercial stations with two simulcast frequencies should split in to two different programmes to provide listener choice, in August 1988 it was decided to re-brand Piccadilly Radio's FM frequency to the new name Key 103, With a focus on youth orientated music, the original Piccadilly Radio continued on 1152 AM.[citation needed] In 1990 the station decided to recognise its heritage and incorporated the Piccadilly name back in, with the re-brand to Piccadilly Key 103 but, during the 1990s, the Piccadilly element of its name was eventually dropped, the original Piccadilly Radio, re-branded to Piccadilly Gold in 1990 and then merged with North of England-based AM frequency stations in 1998 to create a network called Magic AM, has now been known as Key 2 since 2014 on the AM frequency of 1152 kHz as well as DAB.

The station broadcasts on the analogue frequency 103 FM, from a transmitter on high ground to the North and East of the region. Broadcasts started from here at the station's launch in 1974, the station also broadcasts on DAB across the region.

Previous notable presenters include Chris Evans, Mike Sweeney, Steve Penk, James H Reeve, Andy Peebles, Gary Davies, Tim Grundy, Timmy Mallett, Pete Mitchell, Geoff Lloyd, Mark Radcliffe, James Stannage, Stu Allan, Nick Robinson and Karl Pilkington.


The DAB signal is broadcast from transmitters located at Winter Hill and City Tower, Manchester on the CE Manchester multiplex. With the addition of Sutton Common, near Macclesfield, the DAB signal has a reliable coverage area that includes Greater Manchester, South Lancashire, most of Cheshire, parts of North East Wales and Merseyside, with much better reception than the FM frequency can provide as 103.0 suffers from co-channel interference from other stations on nearby frequencies.

In May 2016, two additional digital transmitters were launched at Littleborough and Saddleworth.


The majority of programming – local and networked - is produced and broadcast from Key 103's studios in Castlefield, Manchester.

The station's presenters include Gemma Atkinson, Mike Toolan and Matt Haslam (Key 103 Breakfast), Adam Cole (weekday drivetime), Darryl Morris and Wes Butters.[1]


Key 103 broadcasts local news bulletins hourly from 6 am to 7 pm on weekdays, from 7 am to 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Headlines are broadcast on the half hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside sport and traffic bulletins.

National bulletins from Sky News Radio are carried overnight with bespoke networked bulletins on weekend afternoons, usually originating from Radio Aire's Leeds newsroom.


  1. ^ "More presenter changes across Bauer's City stations – RadioToday". Retrieved 17 August 2017. 

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