|Parent||Bauer Media Group|
Bauer Radio is a UK-based radio division of the Bauer Media Group.
Further information: Timeline of Bauer Radio
Bauer's network of local FM stations was originally known as the Big City Network. In 2006, many of the former Scottish Radio Holdings stations were added to the network and branded as Big City Network Scotland and Northern Ireland, although all stations kept their original logos, with the exception of CFM, which took a version of the 'splash' logo used by other BCN stations in England. West Sound was the only AM station in the network although it did not carry any of the networked programming carried by the FM stations.
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 also become part of the "Bauer Place" division, with branded music-category stations such as Kiss and Kerrang Radio forming a second sub-brand, "Bauer Passion" – the Big City Network identity was dropped as part of the restructuring.
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.
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. 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 (The 'City 3' network was withdrawn in favour of reverting to the networked The Hits service from September 2017.)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. 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.
On 6 May 2016, Bauer announced it had bought Midlands radio group Orion Media for an undisclosed fee, reportedly between £40 and £50 million. 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.
In February 2019, Bauer purchased Lincs FM Group, Celador and the local stations owned by Wireless Group and the following month Bauer purchased the ten FM stations owned by UKRD.
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.
On 1 May 2020 Bauer Media acquired 100% of First Radio Sales.
On 4 February 2022, Media Capital Group in Portugal announced that it had come to an agreement with the Bauer Group to sell all their radio stations for 69.9 million Euros (subject to adjustments at the closure). This has also been communicated to the CMVM (Portugal's stock market regulator) and it effectively marks the entry of the Bauer Group in the Portuguese market (citation in Portuguese).
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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:
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'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:
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.
The ex-Score DAB multiplexes are located in:
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. Now wholly owned by Bauer Radio following the sale of the Wireless local stations in 2019.
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:
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 environmentally conscious members of the public urging them to cancel the planned mass balloon release at midnight on 22 December. The balloon release went ahead. Two leading diver journalists contacted Radio City 2's owner – Bauer Media Group – appealing for this 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, 2 days after the Manchester Arena terror attack in memory of the 22 victims that died.