|Broadcast area||United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland|
Global (Premier League games only)
|Frequency||MW: 1053 kHz, |
1071 kHz (Tyne & Wear, Notts),
1107 kHz (Lincs, M'side, Hants, Kent, Surrey)
DAB: 11D/12A Digital One
Sky (UK only): 0108
Virgin Media: 927
Virgin Radio UK
First air date
|14 February 1995 (as Talk Radio UK)|
17 January 2000 (as Talksport)
Talksport (styled as talkSPORT), owned by Wireless Group, is a sports radio station in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The station was originally launched as Talk Radio UK in 1995.
Talksport's content includes live coverage of sporting events, interviews with the leading names in sport and entertainment, phone-ins and discussion. Talksport, alongside sister station Talksport 2, is an official broadcaster for several sporting contests, including the Premier League and English Football League.
In the UK, Talksport is one of the Independent National Radio licensees, holding the INR3 licence for a speech-based service. It 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. Talksport has been available on Freesat since April 2016. Outside the UK 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.
As of June 2023, the station broadcasts to a weekly audience of 3.2 million listeners, according to RAJAR.
The station was originally and officially launched as Talk Radio UK on 14 February 1995, with the original Talk Radio Breakfast Show. However, the first live broadcast had been Caesar the Geezer's phone-in which aired the previous night. Other presenters on Talk Radio included Jeremy Beadle, Tommy Boyd, Anna Raeburn, Lorraine Kelly, Gary Newbon, Terry Christian, and Dale Winton. Also in the line-up were Caesar the Geezer, Wild Al Kelly and Nick Miller, dubbed as shock jocks.
After quitting the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1 FM in April 1995, Steve Wright joined the station, presenting Steve Wright's Talk Show - a live Saturday morning programme. He was joined on the air by his former posse member and comedy writer Richard Easter, as well as female sidekick Georgey Spanswick. The show was guest-focused and popular at the time, but short-lived, as it moved to BBC Radio 2 in March 1996 and re-launched as Steve Wright's Saturday Show.
A year later Talk Radio launched a new breakfast show presented by Paul Ross and Carol McGiffin. Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Simon Bates also joined the station, along with James Whale, Ian Collins, and Mike Dickin.
Talk Radio made its first foray into the world of sports radio rights bidding by purchasing from BBC Radio 5 Live the rights to broadcast Football League matches for the 1997–98 season. In addition, the station broadcast its first FIFA World Cup from France in 1998, bringing in the Sky Sports commentary team of Alan Parry and Andy Gray to commentate on the major matches. Dave Roberts covered additional games in France. Talk Radio also acquired up the rights to broadcast Manchester United's matches in the Champions League for the 1998–99 season.
On 12 November 1998, TalkCo Holdings – whose chairman and chief executive was Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun – purchased Talk Radio. This led to a mass clearout of presenters including Nick Abbot, Anna Raeburn, Tommy Boyd and Peter Deeley, with MacKenzie placing an emphasis on a sports-oriented programming schedule, including The Sportszone with Alan Parry, Gary Newbon, Tony Lockwood, Tom Watt, and former Century Radio sports editor Dave Roberts presenting the weekend edition of The Sports Breakfast.
In late 1999, TalkCo, rebranded as The Wireless Group, announced a relaunch of Talk Radio to become the UK's first national commercial sports radio station called Talksport. The relaunch occurred at midnight on 17 January 2000, and was accompanied by the station moving from Oxford Street to a new studio at Hatfields on the South Bank of the River Thames. Now mainly dedicated to sport, the programming lineup was drastically altered, beginning with The Sports Breakfast show; this was followed by a mid-morning motoring show called The Car Guys, with further sports programming in the afternoon and evening. Almost all the station's talk show presenters were axed at the time, including The Big Boys Breakfast with David Banks and Nick Ferrari, with only James Whale, Ian Collins and Mike Dickin surviving. To complement its new format, Talksport purchased the rights to broadcast Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United matches in the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup, England football internationals, UEFA Cup, England's winter cricket tours to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and India, British & Irish Lions tours to South Africa and New Zealand, and rights to the Super League, Rugby League World Cup, and world title boxing Fights.
The new line-up involved a number of presenters and commentators, including Alan Brazil, Mark Nicholas, Chris Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Parry, Peter Shilton, Brian Moore, Brough Scott, Tom Watt, Gary Newbon, Ian Darke, Tony Banks, and Alvin Martin.
Sound Digital's successful bid for second national commercial DAB multiplex in 2016 also saw the return of Talkradio, as well as Virgin Radio and the creation of Talksport 2. On 25 June 2016, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp announced that it was acquiring the parent Wireless Group company for $296 million. Since June 2020 it has also produced sports bulletins for Times Radio. In 2022 a televised version of TalkRadio launched on TV.
Talksport and Talksport 2 hold exclusive and non-exclusive rights to various sports[which?] in the UK.
Broadcast from London to the UK, Talksport is the only UK radio station broadcasting sporting discussions and commentaries 24 hours a day, having dropped 39 hours of weekly non-sports content on 2 April 2012.
According to the RAJAR audience figures as of December 2022, Talksport's audience is around 2.9m listeners per week. Talksport 2 has an audience of around 344,000 listeners per week.
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:
The 1089 and 1053 kHz frequencies were previously used by BBC Radio 1 between November 1978 and June 1994.
It is also transmitted across the UK digitally via DAB digital radio, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat. Talksport is also streamed online; however, due to rights restrictions on live coverage, some live sport commentaries are not available online.
Since August 2011, several shows on Talksport have been available on Sirius XM satellite radio in the US and Canada.
During the 2006 FIFA World Cup Talksport was available on Digital Radio DAB in some German cities.
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. 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 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.
In its first two years on air, Talksport 2 acquired broadcast rights to the Aviva Premiership, Super League, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, French Open, ICC World Twenty20, NatWest t20 Blast, Royal London One-Day Cup, Indian Premier League, WGC Match Play, La Liga, MotoGP, ICC Champions Trophy, Premier League, English Football League, Champions League and Europa League.
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 was re-positioned as a rolling sports news and live sport station.
As of June 2023, the station broadcasts to a weekly audience of 406,000 listeners, according to RAJAR.
Talksport is the global audio partner of the Premier League, which enables them to broadcast commentary of every Premier League match outside the United Kingdom and Ireland in several languages including English, Spanish and Mandarin.
Talksport International also broadcasts selected fixtures in the FA Cup, League Cup and provides commentaries for Amazon Music's Bundesliga coverage.
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