Bauer Media Audio Limited
FormerlyEMAP Radio
Bauer Radio
HeadquartersPeterborough, England
53°24′13.9″N 2°59′33.9″W / 53.403861°N 2.992750°W / 53.403861; -2.992750Coordinates: 53°24′13.9″N 2°59′33.9″W / 53.403861°N 2.992750°W / 53.403861; -2.992750
Area served
United Kingdom
ParentBauer Media Group

Bauer Media Audio UK is a UK-based radio division of the Bauer Media Group.


Further information: Timeline of Bauer Radio

In early 2008, German magazine publisher Bauer bought the radio division of British company Emap, which had been established as East Midland Allied Press in 1947.[1] Consequently, Emap Radio Limited was renamed to Bauer Radio Limited.[2]

Emap's assets included national stations Kiss, Kerrang! and Magic, and local stations under the Big City Network brand in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These included 22 local FM stations in Scotland which Emap had bought from Scottish Radio Holdings in 2005.[3]

In April 2011, Bauer Radio announced it would be restructuring its radio portfolio into two divisions: locally focused and heritage stations – including many of the Big City stations, South Coast station Wave 105 and London station Magic 105.4 FM – would become part of the "Bauer Place" division, with branded music-category stations such as Kiss and Kerrang forming a second sub-brand, "Bauer Passion". The Big City Network identity was dropped as part of the restructuring.[4]

In April 2013, Bauer announced it would merge its two North East England stations, Metro Radio and TFM. Both stations broadcast shared programming from Newcastle and Manchester while carrying separate branding, news bulletins and advertising.[5]

In September 2014, Bauer announced it would be restructuring its radio portfolio as from January 2015. Magic AM in England was dropped in favour of the stations reverting to their heritage station names.[6][7] The stations now form part of the new 'City 2' network serving both Scotland and Northern England. A 'City 3' network on DAB replacing The Hits Radio (in most areas) launched on Monday 19 January 2015. As part of this restructuring, the Place and Passion network banners introduced in 2011 were replaced by the current Bauer City and Bauer National divisions. (The 'City 3' network was withdrawn in favour of reverting to the networked The Hits service from September 2017.)

At the beginning of March 2016, Bauer moved two of its stations, Planet Rock and Absolute 80s, from Digital One onto the Sound Digital multiplex, reducing the availability of these stations (areas including East Anglia, the South West, parts of Kent, Cumbria, and large areas of Wales and Scotland had no Sound Digital network transmitters at all). The issue was reported in local media in some areas.[8] Planet Rock and Absolute 80s on D1 began broadcasting just a retune message loop from 18 April and the switch-off occurred on 30 April.[citation needed]

On 6 May 2016, Bauer announced it had bought Midlands radio group Orion Media for an undisclosed fee, reportedly between £40 and £50 million.[9][10] It was subsequently confirmed that Orion's stations Free Radio (West Midlands) and Gem (East Midlands) would become part of the Bauer City portfolio, with Gem introducing a version of the City sonic logo device to its presentation from August 2016.

On 16 August 2018, Bauer announced that it had bought Jazz FM for an undisclosed sum.[11]

In February 2019, Bauer purchased Lincs FM Group,[12] Celador[13] and the local stations owned by Wireless Group[14] and the following month Bauer purchased the ten FM stations owned by UKRD.[15]

On 14 April 2020 the Competition and Markets Authority revoked the Initial Enforcement Orders in relation to the acquisition by Bauer Radio Group Limited of certain assets of the Celador Entertainment Limited business on 1 March, certain assets of the Lincs FM Group Limited business on 1 March 2019, and of UKRD Group Limited on 12 March 2019 and Scala Radio LP of certain assets of Wireless Group Limited business on 1 March 2019.[citation needed]

Radio brands



Main article: Absolute Radio Network

This comprises seven decade-themed services and a dedicated classic-rock station. The network is aimed at 35 to 54 year olds.[16]

Hits Radio Brand

Jazz FM

From 7 May 2021, the station, along with Kerrang! Radio, Planet Rock and Scala Radio, have had 20 additional spin-off stations each available using a Premium subscription.[18]


Main article: Kerrang! Radio

A network similar to Absolute, dedicated to rock music.

From 7 May 2021, the station, along with Jazz FM, Planet Rock and Scala Radio, have had 20 additional spin-off stations each available using a Premium subscription.[18]


Main article: Kiss Network

The KISS network is aimed at a young 15-34 audience and plays predominantly rhythmic (dance/urban) music.


Main article: Magic (UK radio station)

Planet Rock

From 7 May 2021, the station, along with Jazz FM, Kerrang! Radio and Scala Radio, have had 20 additional spin-off stations each available using a Premium subscription.[18]

Scala Radio

From 7 May 2021, the station, along with Jazz FM, Kerrang! Radio and Planet Rock, have had 20 additional spin-off stations each available using a Premium subscription.[18]

Stand alone

National/ part-national



DAB multiplexes

Bauer is a partner in one of the UK's national commercial multiplexes, operates twelve wholly owned local DAB multiplexes, and jointly owns a further three with Global Radio; the firm was also formerly a minority partner (of Wireless Group) for local services in three further areas. Bauer operates the following DAB multiplexes:

Sound Digital

Bauer has a 30% holding in Sound Digital, operator of the second national commercial DAB multiplex to launch in the UK; this began transmissions in spring 2016 and several Bauer stations broadcast on it, some transferred from other multiplexes. The other partners are Wireless Group (30%) and Arqiva (40%).

Bauer Digital Radio

Bauer's wholly owned digital multiplexes are primarily located in areas where the firm operates local FM stations; the original group of Bauer (formerly Emap) DAB multiplexes are located in the following areas:

Score Digital

As part of Emap's takeover of Scottish Radio Holdings, the firm gained control of Score Digital, the DAB multiplex operator owned by SRH. Competition guidelines required the merged firm to divest of one of the multiplexes obtained in this deal, and so the Ayr multiplex formerly run by Score was sold on to Arqiva. The remaining Score multiplexes have since been relabelled as Bauer multiplexes.[19]

The ex-Score DAB multiplexes are located in:

Bauer DAB

The Wireless Group and Emap entered into a venture to run the following three DAB multiplexes. These multiplexes were initially branded as TWG-Emap multiplexes; following the sale of TWG to UTV (creating UTV Radio), the multiplexes were relabelled as UTV-Emap, and following the sale of Emap's radio assets to Bauer, the blocks were renamed again as UTV-Bauer. Bauer owned 30 per cent of the UTV-Bauer venture, but sold its stake in November 2013.[20] Now wholly owned by Bauer Radio following the sale of the Wireless local stations in 2019.

CE Digital

Bauer and Global Radio jointly own CE Digital Ltd, each holding 50% of the venture. The CE operation was established by Emap in partnership with the Capital Radio Group, which through mergers subsequently became part of GCap Media and later Global Radio. The 'CE' multiplexes take their name from the initials of Capital and Emap, and have not been renamed despite the identity changes of both operators.

CE Digital operate the following DAB multiplexes:

Radio City 2 balloons

In 2008 Radio City 2 started annually releasing hundreds of balloons (with messages attached) from the roof of the Radio City 2 "in memory of loved ones that we miss at Christmas time." This practice continued on an annual basis until December 2016. On 22 December 2016, Radio City 2 and Pete Price – a radio presenter at Radio City 2 – were contacted by numerous scuba divers and members of the public urging them to cancel the planned mass balloon release at midnight on 22 December. The balloon release went ahead. Two diving journalists contacted Radio City 2's owner, Bauer Media Group, asking for the practice to be stopped. Bauer Media confirmed that no company within the Group would conduct a balloon release in the future. An exception to this was made by Key 103 on 24 May 2017, two days after the Manchester Arena bombing, in memory of the 22 victims.[21]


  1. ^ "History". Emap. Archived from the original on 25 April 2008 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ "Bauer Radio Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Will Clyde flow on after takeover? Concern over future of city station after pounds-391m buyout". The Herald. 22 June 2005. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Bauer drops Big City image". Radio Today. 14 April 2011.[dead link]
  5. ^ TFM leaves Teesside to share with Metro, Radio Today, 5 April 2013
  6. ^ Greatest Hits Network Change request form Ofcom
  7. ^ Magic Changes Ofcom Request Form Ofcom
  8. ^ "Digital radio listeners in East Anglia miss out on 18 DAB stations | Eastern Daily Press".
  9. ^ "Bauer buys radio group Orion Media", The Guardian, 6 May 2016
  10. ^ "Orion Media sold to Bauer for £50m", The Telegraph, 6 May 2016
  11. ^ "Bauer takes over at Jazz FM; plans to enhance offering". a516 Digital. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Bauer Media acquires Lincs FM Group". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Bauer Media continues to grow with two acquisitions". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Bauer buys Wireless Group's local radio stations". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  15. ^ "BAUER MEDIA UK TO ACQUIRE UKRD GROUP". Bauer Media. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Brands – Radio". Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Bauer Media Group agrees to acquire Jazz FM". Radio Today. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d "Bauer introduces subscription radio services". Prolific North. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  19. ^ "DAB Ensembles WorldWide – UK Local & Minimuxes".
  20. ^ "See 'End Notes' on page 28" (PDF).
  21. ^ Rosemary E Lunn (9 January 2017), "Bauer Media To Stop 'Balloon Releases' Within The Group", X-Ray Mag