Dawn French to be the ‘voice’ of GHR, which launches next month.

GHR brings the brand almost full circle back to the GNR name of 1988-1998.

“Dawn is one of the UK’s most loved and instantly recognisable performers. Her voice and personality set the tone for Greatest Hits Radio perfectly. The greatest hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s… Queen, Blondie, Elton John, Billy Joel, Prince and David Bowie AND Dawn French? What’s not to love!?” – Andy Ashton, Network Content Director

GHR – Greatest Hits Radio – replaces ‘City 2’ stations such as Metro Radio 2, a brand which took over the airwaves of the much-missed Magic AM stations in 2015. A callous axing of popular presenters and a unique music mix saw ratings for the station’s nosedive – with City 2 (also sub-named Greatest Hits Network) failing to recapture the audiences. Magic AM suffered by being mainly on AM in the north. It’s mix of album tracks, lesser-known releases and populist chart music has been in recent years in some forms used to success by Vita Radio and Nation Radio, neither part of the Bauer family.

The voice of Dawn French will be heard on the jingles of GHR.

The former Magic AM regions.

Now the company hopes to turn the fortunes around of the former Magic stations with the launch of the Greatest Hits Radio brand in January. The network which became Magic AM was originally the Medium Wave service of stations such as Metro Radio, which when switching to FM left an AM gap. Metro Radio, for example, launched ‘oldies’ station GNR – Great North Radio – in 1988, with a mix of music from the 1950s to the 80s. The Magic AM brand began in Yorkshire in the early 1990s. By 1998 stations such as GNR had all been rebranded as Magic.

The Greatest Hits Network will follow the Magic Radio of 1998 launch format with the best music from the 1970s to the 1990s. Radio Today report that the new-sounding stations ‘will be on numerous DAB multiplexes around the UK, 105.2 FM in the West Midlands and 105.9 FM in Liverpool, AM in the North and online.’ There will also be an FM version in the West Midlands, while they note ‘in Scotland, [City 2] keeps its current identity and Scottish programmes.’

“Through a change in management, most now also departed, we lost the great Magic AM which Ray Rose, as Head of Music, had built up to be ‘the’ music station for music lovers. It filled the gap left by Radio 2 as they dropped their knickers and chased youth with celebrity names over ‘proper DJs’. Magic AM gave us an extensive playlist. So getting sick of hearing the same 100 songs over and over was left to the repetitive Smooth, Gold, Magic FM and local BBC. Sadly Magic AM was ruined by ‘trendies’ in the Bauer Ivory management towers who were clueless, and I suspect uninterested, in the ‘oldies’ stations. Sadly I can’t see the new AM version regaining its listeners, as we all love good quality sounding music stations, something AM just doesn’t provide anymore. I wish Vita Radio all the best in filling the void left by Magic. ” – Media critic Vivian Summers

Bauer note that Dawn French ’embodies the station’s brand values’ for Greatest Hits Radio. Magic Radio continues now as a national station. This was spun-out from the London based Magic FM, which was of an entirely different format to its sister AM stations.

The GHR is launching under the promo of ‘bigger and better’ which is exactly the same wording used when City 2 replaced Magic AM, whether this time it really will be ‘bigger and better’ remains to be heard.

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