Two radio stations are set to hit the airwaves across the country in the coming months.

The move by owners Bauer Radio aims to create 'the UK's largest comercial radio network', by rebranding dozens of existing local radio stations across England.

The switchover will take place in early September, with all but a few of the newly acquired stations by Bauer rebranded to either Hits Radio or Greatest Hits Radio.

Of the 56 FM licences Bauer bought during a 'mega-merger' with companies UKRD, Wireless, Lincs FM and Celador in February and March last year, a total of 49 will be rebranded. Those acquisitions faced an in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which concluded in March this year. 

This is what you need to know.

What is Greatest Hits Radio?

Bournemouth Echo: Greatest Hits Radio. Picture: Bauer RadioGreatest Hits Radio. Picture: Bauer Radio

Greatest Hits Radio plays a variety of the songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

The station's playlist includes music from artists like Blondie, Queen, Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, INXS, and Elton John.

Presenters on the station include; Mark Goodier, Paul Gambaccini, Janice Long, Pat Sharp, Andy Crane, Alex Lester, Tony Dibbin and Des Paul.

While the station is set to be rolled out to other regions across England in September, it is already on air in Manchester, the North West and North Wales, Teesside, the North East, Lancashire, the West Midlands, plus East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.

It is already on air to listen online at, or by asking a smart speaker to play 'Greatest Hits Radio'.

What is Hits Radio?

Bournemouth Echo: Hits Radio. Picture: Bauer RadioHits Radio. Picture: Bauer Radio

Hits Radio is a hit-music station that plays a variety of the latest pop, rap and dance tracks, along with throwback songs from the last twenty years.

The stations playist features songs artists such as Rita Ora, Lewis Capaldi, Sia, Lizzo, Sam Smith, Harry Styles, Jax Jones, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, George Ezra and Little Mix.

Presenters on the station include; Fleur East, Greg Burns, Wes Butters and Gemma Atkinson.

While Hits Radio is set to be rolled out to other areas across England in September, it is already on air across several regions under the 'Hits Radio brand', but not named as Hits Radio. Those areas which carry the station on FM in everything but the 'Hits Radio' name are; Cumbria, the North East, Teesside, Lancashire, Liverpool, East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, West Midlands, East Scotland, West Scotland, Scottish Borders, Tayside and Fife, plus the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire.

It is already on air to listen to online at, or by asking a smart speaker to play 'Hits Radio'.

Which stations are being rebranded to Greatest Hits Radio and Hits Radio?

Industry website RadioToday has compliled a full list of the stations affected by the changes.

Stations that will rebrand to Greatest Hits Radio in September:

  • The Beach (Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft)
  • The Breeze (Alton, Petersfield, Haslemere and Bordon)
  • The Breeze (Andover)
  • The Breeze (Basingstoke)
  • The Breeze (Bath)
  • The Breeze (Bridgwater and West Somerset)
  • The Breeze (Bristol)
  • The Breeze (Cheltenham)
  • The Breeze (Newbury)
  • The Breeze (Reading)
  • The Breeze (Shaftesbury)
  • The Breeze (Torbay)
  • The Breeze (Warminster)
  • The Breeze (Weston super Mare)
  • The Breeze (Yeovil)
  • Compass FM (Grimsby)
  • Dearne FM (Barnsley)
  • Dream 100 (Tendring)
  • Eagle Radio (Guildford)
  • KCFM (Hull) - Under a brand licence with Nation Broadcasting
  • KLFM (Kings Lynn)
  • Minster FM (Northallerton)
  • Minster FM (York)
  • Mix 96 (Aylesbury)
  • North Norfolk Radio (North Norfolk)
  • Peak FM (Chesterfield)
  • Pulse 2 (Bradford and Huddersfield)
  • Radio Norwich (Norwich)
  • Ridings FM (Wakefield)
  • Rother FM (Rotherham)
  • Rutland Radio (Rutland)
  • Sam FM (Swindon)
  • Sam FM South Coast (Solent area) - Under a brand licence with Nation Broadcasting
  • Signal 107 (Kidderminster)
  • Signal 107 (Shrewsbury and Oswestry)
  • Signal 107 (Telford)
  • Signal 107 (Wolverhampton)
  • Signal 2 (Stoke-on-Trent)
  • Spire FM (Salisbury)
  • Spirit FM (Chichester)
  • Stray FM (Harrogate)
  • Swansea Sound (Swansea)
  • Town 102 (Ipswich)
  • Tower FM (Bolton and Bury)
  • Trax FM (Bassetlaw)
  • Trax FM (Doncaster)
  • Wave 96.5 (Blackpool)
  • Wessex FM (Weymouth)
  • Wire FM (Warrington)
  • Wish FM (Wigan)
  • Yorkshire Coast Radio (Bridlington)
  • Yorkshire Coast Radio (Scarborough)

The following radio stations will not rebrand and will keep their name and operate as a stand-alone station:

  • Lincs FM (Lincolnshire)
  • Pirate FM (Cornwall)
  • Sam FM (Bristol)

These radio stations will not reband, but will become part of Hits Radio (taking the same music playlist and networked shows from London and Manchester). They will have a local breakfast show, which will air from 6am to 10am weekdays:

  • Pulse 1 (Bradford and Huddersfield)
  • Signal 1 (Stoke-on-Trent)
  • 96.4 The Wave (Swansea)
  • Fire Radio (Bournemouth)

These stations will rebrand as Hits Radio under a brand licence agreement with Nation Broadcasting:

  • The Breeze (Portsmouth)
  • The Breeze (Southampton)
  • The Breeze (Winchester)

Here are the radio stations that are closing in the coming months:

  • Encore
  • Suffolk First 
  • Pirate 70s 
  • Pirate 80s 
  • Escape to Cornwall 
  • Eagle 70s 
  • Eagle 80s 
  • Signal 80s 
  • Pulse 80s 
  • Wave 80s 
  • Total Access

What have Bauer Radio said about the changes?

Bauer Radio also says it will continue to provide local news, travel, weather, advertising plus other information for listeners. 

Dee Ford CBE, group managing director of radio at Bauer Radio said: “Audiences love and trust radio. 

“Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world.

“This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”

Graham Bryce, group managing director of the Hits Radio Network Brand, added: “We are committed to ensuring the future of radio in local markets and serving the needs of our listeners and advertisers.

“However, our top priority right now will be to support those affected through this period.”