Rock FM
Logo used since 2015.
Broadcast areaLancashire
FrequencyFM: 97.4 MHz
DAB: 12A
BrandingYour Local Hits Radio Station
Across Lancashire & The North West
NetworkHits Radio
OwnerBauer Media Audio UK
Greatest Hits Radio Lancashire
Radio City
First air date
5 October 1982; 41 years ago (1982-10-05)
Former names
Red Rose Radio
Red Rose Rock FM
97.4 Rock FM
Former frequencies
97.3 FM
999 MW
Technical information
Licensing authority
WebcastRock FM - Rock FM Player
WebsiteRock FM

Rock FM is an Independent Local Radio station based in Liverpool, England, owned and operated by Bauer as part of the Hits Radio network. It broadcasts to Lancashire, North West England.

As of December 2023, the station has a weekly audience of 212,000 listeners according to RAJAR.[1]


Rock FM logo used from 2008 to 2015.

Originally launched in 1982 as Red Rose Radio, transmitting on 97.3 MHz and 999 kHz (301m MW). The FM frequency transmission changed when the station split to 97.4 MHz in 1990.

In 1990, Red Rose Radio was split into two stations - Red Rose Rock FM using the FM frequency and Red Rose Gold on the medium wave frequency. Rock FM was given its name as the station was initially going to be based in Blackpool, Lancashire. However the agreement for the studio premises subsequently fell through and the station remained in Preston.

The managing director was Dave Lincoln, with Mark Matthews as programme director, and at that time the station was owned by the Miss World Group, later known as Trans World Communications (owned by Owen Oyston) and which subsequently became part of Bauer Radio (previously EMAP Radio).

The total survey area of the station for RAJAR is broadly defined as western, southern and central Lancashire including parts of Greater Manchester and Merseyside, but the station is audible on FM from Cumbria down into Wales towards The West Midlands and minor parts of North Shropshire

From its launch, Rock FM was based at studios in a converted church (St. Paul's) in Preston.[2] The station consistently rates as the number one commercial radio station in its target service area by reach, share and hours. Over a quarter of all adults in its market listen every week.

In January 2020, Bauer announced Rock FM would cease broadcasting from its Preston studios and co-locate with Hits Radio at Bauer's Northern headquarters in Manchester the following month. The station retains local news, advertising and charity staff at offices elsewhere in the city.[3][4][5]

As of December 2023, plans are in place to convert the former studios at St Paul's Church into office space.[6]

On 16 November 2023, it was announced that Rock FM's weekday breakfast show - the station's sole remaining local programme - would be merged with Radio City in Liverpool and simulcast across the two stations.[7]

As of January 2024, presenter Joel Ross continues with Bauer, with the joint breakfast show broadcast from Bauer's Liverpool studios.[8] Rock FM retains its own local news bulletins, traffic updates and advertising.[9]

Hits Radio rebrand

On 10 January 2024, station owners Bauer announced Rock FM would be rebranded as Hits Radio Lancashire from April 2024, as part of a network-wide relaunch involving 15 local radio stations in England and Wales.[10][11]

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


Networked programming originates from Hits Radio at Bauer's Manchester studios.[12][13]

Regional programming is produced and broadcast from Bauer's Liverpool studios at the Radio City Tower on weekdays from 6-10am and is syndicated between Rock FM and Radio City.[14][15]


Rock FM broadcasts local news bulletins hourly from 6am-7pm on weekdays, 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, originating from Bauer's Manchester newsroom.


  1. ^ "Quarterly listening". RAJAR.
  2. ^ Earnshaw, Tom (27 January 2020). "End of an era as Rock FM presenters to leave Preston - for good". Lancs Live. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  3. ^ Bauer moves Rock FM programming to Manchester, RadioToday, 27 January 2020
  4. ^ "Rock FM to leave Preston HQ at end of February - Prolific North". Prolific North. 27 January 2020. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  5. ^ Ainscough, Colin (5 March 2020). "In pictures: Rock FM's past and present DJs reunite at Preston Church for emotional farewell". Lancashire Evening Post. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  6. ^ "Plans proposed to convert former Rock FM church building into offices". Blog Preston. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Rock FM to lose last local show as new shared breakfast show launches". RadioToday. 16 November 2023. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  8. ^ "Rock FM's last local show axed in Joel Ross breakfast shake-up". 19 November 2023. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  9. ^ Lopez, Jamie (20 November 2023). "Rock FM loses last Lancashire-only show as merger announced". Lancs Live. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Fifteen local stations get set for Hits Radio rebrand". Bauer. 10 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  11. ^ "Bauer to rebrand heritage FM stations in England and Wales to Hits Radio". RadioToday. 10 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  12. ^ Hits Radio Network stations drop local weekend programmes, Radio Today, 30 May 2019
  13. ^ Bauer to network drivetime across 11 licences in North and Midlands, Radio Today, 5 August 2019
  14. ^ Rock FM - Public File
  15. ^ "Rock FM to lose last local show as new shared breakfast show launches". Radio Today. 16 November 2023. Retrieved 16 November 2023.

53°48′N 2°36′W / 53.8°N 2.6°W / 53.8; -2.6