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Hits Radio

The Hits Radio | Music Gateway

United Kingdom, Manchester

The Biggest Hits, The Biggest Throwbacks


hits radio logo

Around the 1920s, public radio is used as a platform for discovering new music. According to RadioCentre, 9/10 people listen to the radio each week. That’s roughly 90% of the UK population! Despite recent growth trends in playlisting and streaming, radio is still one of the top leading platforms for new music. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at a station with the biggest hits and the biggest throwbacks – The Hits Radio

What Is The Hits Radio?

The Hits Radio is a radio station that relays The Hits Machester broadcasted from Manchester in the UK, with the addition of UK-wide news and information. With such focused playlisting, the popular demographic for this station sits between adults aged 25 – 44. 

The station has a staggering 6.7 million yearly listeners! The network features a diverse news section that contains detailed updates on important worldwide events as well as all the celebrity gossip. You can listen to The Hits Radio live or from anywhere online on Planet Radio.

Frequency: 103.0 

Call sign: HITS

City of license: Manchester, UK

Format: CHR/Pop

Owner: Bauer Radio

Area: Greater Manchester/National

Branding: Hits Radio UK

First air date: 1974

Sister stations: KFI AM 640, Real 92.3, 104.3 MYfm, 102.7 KIIS FM, The Patriot AM 1150, ALT 98.7 & AM 570 LA Sports

Who Owns The Hits Radio?

bauer media group logo

Bauer Radio is a radio division of the British media company Bauer Media, founded in 2007. Bauer Radio owns over 15 radio stations, these include; Kerrang, Heat, Hits Radio Pride, Jazz FM and many more! Bauer’s decision to merge The Hits Radio and The Hits Radio Manchester created a huge influx of listeners. In 2008 Radio City 2 (owned by Bauer Media Group) began annually releasing hundreds of balloons in memory of loved ones missed at Christmas from the roof of Radio City 2.

Bauer had complaints from environmentalists, who were outraged as the balloons were affecting wildlife and sea pollution. In 2016, Bauer Media Group agreed to not send off the balloons in future with the exception of 22 balloons released for the victims of the Manchester Terror Attack in 2017.


fleur east host

The Hits Radio live has a number of well-known, popular hosts. These include; Fleur East (X-Factor star), Greg Burns, James Barr, Sarah-Jane Crawford, Gemma Atkinson and many more! 10 am on weekdays is a popular show ‘Hits Radio Throwbacks’, the show plays golden oldies, and songs you forgot you knew.

Young and fresh hosts keep the station fun, bringing you all the greatest tracks and celebrity gossip as well as national news and traffic updates.

Brief History

Piccadilly Radio 261

piccadilly radio 261 logo

Piccadilly Radio 261, founded by Philip Birch first aired on April 2nd 1974 in Manchester, UK. Its first offices were at Piccadilly Plaza, hence the name. Piccadilly Radio 261 made history by being the first commercial radio station to ever be broadcast in the city. The first broadcast was at 5am on April 2 hosted by Roger Day with the first song to be played being ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys.

Piccadilly dropped the 261 from its name and logo as more people started to listen on FM. 

Key 103

piccadilly key 103 fm radio logo

Piccadilly radio station split into two services in 1988, with Key 103 broadcast on FM, while the Piccadilly branding went onto AM as Piccadilly Gold. The first presenters on air were Tim Grundy and Rebecca Want. The first song played upon launch was Alive and Kicking by Simple Minds. Key 103’s format was AOR/chart music.

Throughout the 90’s the station repeatedly picked back up the ‘Piccadilly’ name but eventually decided to keep the station as ‘Key 103’.

The Hits

The national station ‘Hits Radio’ first aired on April 1st 2003. The station played current hits as well as throwback songs. The Hits Radio merged with The Hits Radio Manchester. They relay the programming from this station however, they include news and traffic updates nationwide as well.

In 2018 it was rebranded to ‘The Hits Radio’. Sister stations under this network include; The Greatest Hits Radio, Heat, Jazz FM and Kerrang. The Key 103 branding began to phase out from Friday 25 May 2018 as the station entered a transition period ahead of the launch of Hits Radio at 6am on Monday 4 June 2018. The first song played on air was ‘Greatest Day’ by Take That.

The Hits Radio Brand

As previously mentioned, The Hits Radio has a few sister stations. These stations are all branded by the Bauer Radio Network to fit under three distinct categories:

Hits Radio  

Broadcasting nationally as ‘The Hits Radio’, smaller regional stations can be found across the UK playing the latest pop tracks. This network of stations plays a mix of national programming and local shows, keeping the content relevant to its regional listeners. 

Greatest Hits Radio 

Aimed at an older demographic of adults aged 40+, The Greatest Hits Radio brand plays the biggest songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Stations can be found across the UK, playing a mix of national and regional programming. 

Country Hits Radio 

The Country Hits Radio Network has a reported 8.7 million listeners, all tuning in to hear the latest Country songs. The audience demographic for Country Hits is 25 – 44 and features popular Country artists such as Keith Urban, Maren Morris and Carrie Underwood.

Events Held By The Hits Radio

hits live poster

The Hits Radio Live

Each year The Network hosts three huge arena events, known as The Hits Live. Thousands of music fans annually flock to see their favourite artists in concert. Featured names include; Robbie Williams, James Arthur, Ella Henderson and Jax Jones.

Hosted in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, the Hits Live is an event you do not want to miss! 

Competitions And Giveaways 

radio poster

The station frequently hosts a selection of exciting competitions with prizes ranging from festival tickets to the latest gadgets and even big cash giveaways! 

What is even better about the station is they even give away exclusive discounts to top brands, helping you save the pounds on your next shop. Discounts include vouchers for Perfume Direct, Craft Beer, Now TV subscriptions and insurance/car breakdown cover. 

Final Thoughts

The Hits Radio continues to grow from its humble beginnings as a northern pop radio station. Its large network of stations is enough to satisfy even the fussiest of music fans. From the network’s popular annual events to their sought-after celebrity gossip, this station has it all. 

As an artist, there are many ways to improve your chances of success. one would be to get your music played on the radio. It’s a way of getting your music heard and expanding your fan/listener base. It’s not always an easy ride, competition is tough. You have to set yourself apart from other artists. You can do this by understanding promotion as well as reaching out to radio stations and hosts to elevate your chances of getting played!

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