Metro Radio
Broadcast areaTyne and Wear, Northumberland, and County Durham
Frequency
  • FM: 97.1 MHz (Burnhope)
  • 102.6 MHz (Alnwick)
  • 103.0 MHz (Fenham)
  • 103.2 MHz (Hexham)
  • DAB: 11C
RDSMetro
Programming
FormatContemporary hit radio
NetworkHits Radio
Ownership
OwnerBauer Media Audio UK
TFM
Greatest Hits Radio North East
History
First air date
15 July 1974; 49 years ago (1974-07-15)
Former frequencies
97.0 MHz
1152 KHz
Technical information
Licensing authority
Ofcom
Links
WebcastMetro Radio Player
Websiteplanetradio.co.uk/metro/ Edit this at Wikidata

Metro Radio is an Independent Local Radio station based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, owned and operated by Bauer as part of the Hits Radio network. It broadcasts to County Durham, Northumberland, and Tyne and Wear.

As of September 2023, the station has a weekly audience of 308,000 listeners according to RAJAR.[1]

History

Logo used from 2003 to 2015. (A variant used between 2000 and 2003 had a dark blue background)

Launch

The Newcastle-based station, broadcasting to North-East England, launched on 15 July 1974.[2] The first breakfast show was presented by Don Dwyer, an Australian radio presenter formerly at ABC and the United Biscuits Network. The first show included messages of congratulations from Kenny Everett at the equivalent local commercial station in London, Capital Radio.

Studios

Former home of Metro Radio on the Swan House roundabout in Newcastle upon Tyne. Metro Radio vacated this building in 2021.

The station transmitted from a studio in Swalwell, Gateshead, which in later years would be adjacent to the Metrocentre and is now Metropolitan House—a business centre providing serviced office accommodation. Metro, and sister station Magic 1152, moved in 2005 to the former BT building previously known as Swan House – now known as 55° North – next to the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne. In April 2021, it was announced that Metro Radio were relocating their studios once more. Later in 2021 as planned, they relocated their broadcasting studios to the Grade II listed building, Gainsborough House on Newcastle's Grey Street. Before the move, the studio had undergone a purposed fit-out which included 2 additional studios and a contemporary, flexible office space.

Football commentary

Until 2005 the station broadcast live football commentary for the region's two biggest clubs; Newcastle United and Sunderland. In an attempt to boost ratings, the football commentary was stopped. However, a negative response from football fans prompted the owners to cover all Newcastle and Sunderland games on sister station Magic 1152.

TFM co-location

From 8 April 2013, all Metro Radio's programming has been shared with TFM. However, the Metro Radio branding was retained along with separate advertising and local news bulletins.[3] The two stations were able to co-locate without consultation, for the Metro Radio licence area is located in one approved broadcast area (north-east England).[4]

Hits Radio rebrand

On 10 January 2024, station owners Bauer announced Metro Radio would be rebranded as Hits Radio North East from April 2024, as part of a network-wide relaunch involving 15 local radio stations in England and Wales.[5] The announcement signalled the end of the Metro Radio brand after nearly 50 years of broadcasting.[6]

The station's local news and regional output will not be affected as a result of the relaunch.

Programming

Networked programming originates from Bauer's Manchester headquarters.[7][8]

Regional programming is produced and broadcast from Bauer's Newcastle studios, weekdays 6-10am (Steve & Karen's Breakfast Show) and is syndicated with sister station TFM.[9]

The station's long-running talk show Night Owls, presented by Alan Robson since 1983, ran for over 40 years before airing its final edition in June 2019.[10] It then aired weekly on GHR North East and GHR Teesside until 24 April 2022, after which Robson moved into making material for online distribution only.[11]

News

Bauer's Newcastle newsroom broadcasts local news bulletins hourly from 6am-7pm on weekdays, and from 7am-1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Headlines are broadcast on the half-hour during weekday breakfast and drivetime shows, alongside traffic bulletins.

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

Notable former presenters

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References[edit]

  1. ^ "RAJAR".
  2. ^ Metro Radio Media UK
  3. ^ TFM leaves Teesside to share with Metro, RadioToday, 5 April 2013
  4. ^ Leading MEP to demand action from Ofcom over TFM/Metro merger The Northern Echo, 7 April 2013
  5. ^ "Fifteen local stations get set for Hits Radio rebrand". Bauer. 10 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Bauer to rebrand heritage FM stations in England and Wales to Hits Radio". RadioToday. 10 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  7. ^ Hits Radio Network stations drop local weekend programmes, Radio Today, 30 May 2019
  8. ^ Bauer to network drivetime across 11 licences in North and Midlands, Radio Today, 5 August 2019
  9. ^ Metro Radio - Public File
  10. ^ Night Owls on Metro Radio to end, Sonia Sharma, The Chronicle, 14 June 2019
  11. ^ Alan Robson's Night Owls to end on radio, but beloved presenter has new plans, Simon Meechan, The Chronicle, 4 April 2022
  12. ^ "Lisa Shaw: BBC Radio Newcastle presenter dies aged 44". BBC News. 23 May 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021.

External links[edit]