The station was originally launched as Talk Radio UK in 1995. Broadcast from London to England, Talksport is the only English radio station broadcasting sporting discussions and commentaries 24 hours a day, having dropped 39 hours of weekly non-sports content on 2 April 2012.
Talksport's content includes live coverage of sporting events, interviews with the leading names in sport and entertainment, phone-ins and discussion. Since June 2020 it has also produced sports bulletins for Times Radio.
In England, Talksport is available on its primary frequency in London, 1089 kHz, as well as 1053 kHz, 1071 kHz, and 1107 kHz, DAB, Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview, on mobile, and online at talksport.com. Talksport has been available on Freesat since April 2016.
Outside England and Ireland, Talksport broadcasts live commentary of every Premier League match around the world in multiple languages including English, Spanish and Mandarin.
On 25 June 2016, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp announced that it was acquiring the parent Wireless Group company for $296 million.
Talk Radio era
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Talksport and Talksport 2 has exclusive and non-exclusive rights to various sports in the UK:
December 2002: Talksport announced plans for the station's first ever music show. An easy listening music show entitled Champagne & Roses with Gerald Harper, was broadcast each Saturday evening. The show was axed after less than six months
June 2004: Talksport broadcast their first international football tournament officially. Euro 2004 from Portugal was broadcast live on Talksport with commentary of various matches, including the final, from Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin.
October 2006: Talksport becomes the first national commercial radio broadcaster to win Premier League commentary rights. Talksport wins a package that allows it to broadcast the second choice Saturday afternoon games that kick off at 3pm – the BBC will get first pick.
April 2009: Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher were signed by Talksport to present a one-off football talk show on 19 April 2009. It was only a few months after Brand resigned from BBC Radio 2 in the wake of the uproar over the Sachsgate affair
February 2010: Talksport gained more Premier League football in the latest radio bidding wars. Whilst relinquishing their 15:00 package to football newcomers Absolute Radio, they won two packages from BBC Radio 5 Live. They took over the national radio rights to broadcast the late kick-off every Saturday evening from the Premier League (usually kicking off at 17:30), and the early Sunday games (before 15:00). This agreement covers the 2010–11 to 2012–13 Premier League seasons
August 2012: Talksport secure a deal to become an official broadcaster of the Aviva Premiership. The deal enables Talksport to broadcast live commentary of selected matches throughout the season either on-air or online.
May 2017: Talksport secures exclusive national radio rights to the English Football League. It gives them the ability to broadcast up to up 110 EFL fixtures a season for three years until the end of the 2019/2020 season.
April 2018: Talksport and Talksport 2 secure exclusive broadcast rights to England's winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies.
April 2019: Talksport and Talksport 2 win three of the four Saturday UK radio rights packages for the Premier League.
April 2020: Laura Woods becomes the new lead presenter of Talksport Breakfast, taking over from Alan Brazil, who moves to two days a week.
Scott Taunton was previously the Business Development Director at UTV, responsible for radio and new media. A native of Australia, he has been working in the UK for a decade and took over from Kelvin MacKenzie as Chief Executive of Talksport in July 2005.
Lee Clayton is head of Talksport. Laurie Palacio is deputy head of Talksport. Joseph Amplett is executive editor. Kathryn Anastasi is head of live sport. Jason Bourne is football editor. Jon Norman is cricket editor.
In a number of areas, particularly in areas where the signal from the main 1089 and 1053 kHz transmitters overlap with each other, Talksport operates a number of filler transmitters on different frequencies:
1071 kHz: Nottingham, Newcastle
1107 kHz: Merseyside, West Sussex, South Kent, The Wash, Hampshire
The 1089 and 1053 kHz frequencies were originally used by BBC Radio 1 between November 1978 and June 1994.
According to the RAJAR audience figures for Q1/2020, Talksport's audience is around 3m listeners per week. Talksport 2 has an audience of around 500,000 listeners per week.
The new station launched on 15 March 2016 as part of a Sound Digital's successful bid for second national commercial DAB multiplex. The launch date coincided with the opening day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
Talksport 2 is a 24-hour sports station which focuses on a broad range of live sporting action from the UK and around the world and includes rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, football and horse racing, plus US sport. On its first day, Talksport 2 broadcast commentary of India v New Zealand in the ICC World Twenty20, Atlético Madrid v PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League and Indian Wells Masters tennis. On 9 June 2020 talkSPORT 2 switched from DAB Mono to DAB+ Stereo to make Room for Times Radio.
It has broadcast specialist programming dedicated to the Football League, La Liga, European football, horse racing rugby league, rugby union, boxing, cricket, tennis, NBA, US sport, and golf.
From January 2019, Talksport 2 re-positioned as a rolling sports news and live sport station.
The winning bid also saw the return of Talkradio, as well as Virgin Radio. Former Talksport chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie had proposed a rival sports station as part of Listen2Digital's opposing bid for the second national commercial DAB multiplex.
Talksport International also broadcasts selected fixtures in the FA Cup, League Cup and provides commentaries for Amazon Music's Bundesliga coverage.
Soccer Bet was a short-lived 68-page weekly magazine which Talksport had hoped would appeal to football fans that enjoyed betting on games. It was designed in a smaller A5 format to make it easy for fans to carry and the launch was backed by a £500,000 promotional campaign. Soccer Bet lasted just two months before it was axed in October 2003 due to poor sales.
Talksport TV launched in October 2004 platform broadcasting for six hours a day on the Sky Digital television platform aiming to catch listeners who've come home from work. The service amounted to little more than the televisualisation of TalkSport's broadcasters and pundits presenting the station's Drive Time and Kick Off programmes. The channel closed in 2005 following the takeover of Talksport by UTV Radio.
Talksport Magazine launched in May 2008 as a weekly online-only digital publication to extend the station's brand beyond the radio. The magazine was integrated into the newly relaunched Talksport website in 2010
Sport was targeted at the affluent male and hand distributed in locations across the country including London mainline and tube stations. It was also available at many hotels, gyms and airports
Books, DVDs, and games
Talksport Road Trip is a DVD including exclusive footage of the English team and a host of celebrity interviews at the 2006 World Cup released in 2006
Ten Years of Talksport is a book describing the station's history. Originally released in 2009, an updated version of the book including two new chapters was released in 2011
The Talksport Book of World Cup Banter – Released in 2010, this is a book of football facts about the FIFA World Cup
The TalkSport Book of Cricket's Best Ever Sledges features contributions from Talksport presenters Darren Gough and Ronnie Irani among others, recounting 'sledging' (mind-games within cricket). Released in 2010
TalkSPORT Clash Of The Titans is a game created by Mat Dickie (MDickie), It's not available on his download page anymore but can still be downloaded on web.archive.org
June 2000: Talksport caused a stir with the BBC, after it was revealed Talksport had been broadcasting its live commentaries of matches at Euro 2000 from television monitors rather than from each of the stadia, due to the lack of available broadcast rights. Talksport's commentary team included Alan Parry, Jim Proudfoot, Mark Tompkins, Alvin Martin and Frank Stapleton.
April 2002: Tommy Boyd and his production team were sacked from Talksport after a call from someone who wanted to shoot the Royal Family went through on air. Boyd went on record that he did not share the views of the caller.
June 2002: Talksport broadcast unofficial coverage of the 2002 World Cup taking place in Japan and South Korea. The station flagged up its inability to broadcast live from the stadia, taking out full page advertisements in national newspapers containing the tag line "It's unauthorised. It's unofficial. And it's brilliant." Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin were Talksport's main commentary team from its studios in London.
February 2003: Talksport received over 200 complaints for giving a platform to the controversial Muslim extremist cleric Abu Hamza. Hamza and his aides were invited into the station to contribute to a religious debate on The James Whale Show, alongside other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim delegates. On the night of the live broadcast, 24 February, a mass of protesters gather outside the station's London studios. Despite this, both Whale and head of programming Bill Ridley defended the station for having invited Hamza onto the programme.
March 2004: Alan Brazil was fired by Talksport when, after spending three days at the Cheltenham Festival, he subsequently failed to show up to present The Sports Breakfast on Friday 19 March. He was reinstated less than three weeks later.
May 2006: Alan Brazil was reportedly given three months' notice by Talksport after a bust-up with the station's management. Brazil and Talksport management held talks less than two months later, and the former Ipswich Town and Scotland footballer signed a new long-term contract with the station.
August 2007: Mike Mendoza and Garry Bushell made derogatory comments about gay people, and the station was subsequently censured by regulator Ofcom. Bushell left soon afterward, when his six-month contract expired.
November 2008: Controversial presenter Jon Gaunt was fired for repeatedly calling a local councillor a "Nazi". Gaunt has since sought legal action for unfair dismissal, but any potential case has yet to go to court. His campaign was backed by Liberty activist Shami Chakrabarti, who had previously been one of Gaunt's pet hates.
November 2008: Rod Lucas was dropped by Talksport, and the company stated they had "no plans to use him in the immediate future" after the membership list of the BNP which was leaked on a Google blog named him as one of its members. The station clarified that this was not a sacking, for Lucas was only a temporary member of staff. The presenter himself claimed that his membership of the party was part of a covert research project.
April 2017: Ofcom upheld complaints against Mike Parry and Mike Graham for comments made on their daytime show the previous December, in which they laughed while telling anecdotes about one of their former colleagues at the Daily Express who allegedly sexually harassed female co-workers. Talksport said in its statement that the two presenters were laughing at the lack of action against sexual harassment, rather than the harassment itself.
August 2021: A caller to Jordan Jarrett Bryan and Perry Groves on The Sports Bar said of Tottenham Hotspur owner Daniel Levy's role in Harry Kane's potential transfer "Levy, he’s a Jew. He’s not going to let him go for nothing, is he?". The remark was not heard on radio due to a tape delay to avoid offensive callers, but was heard on a YouTube simulcast. Talksport apologised and suspended their YouTube simulcast until a similar delay could be enabled.