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Greatest Hits Radio to replace Absolute on London’s FM dial

By | Published on Friday 26 March 2021

Greatest Hits Radio

Bauer Media has got permission from regulator OfCom to switch the London-based FM frequency currently occupied by Absolute Radio to Greatest Hits Radio. It will give the media group’s ever-expanding classic pop station an FM presence in the capital.

Absolute Radio began life as the original iteration of Virgin Radio, of course. Virgin was never happy with its station only being available on AM nationwide so – after failing to secure a national FM frequency – successfully bid for a local radio spot on the FM dial within London. The station then started broadcasting on 105.8FM within the capital in 1995, subsequently rebranding as Absolute Radio in 2008.

However, Absolute will now lose that FM spot, Bauer having been seemingly prioritising the growth of its Greatest Hits Radio brand for some time now. Absolute had an FM frequency in the West Midlands too for a while, but that was switched over to Greatest Hits Radio at the start of 2019.

Changing what stations go out on any one FM frequency like that requires OfCom approval, because the licence for each FM spot comes with programming requirements.

The regulator has confirmed that, after a consultation, it has approved a change to the 105.8FM London licence so that it can be used for airing “classic pop and rock hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s, with specialist features, music documentaries and a classic album tracks show, plus local news and information aimed at 25-54-year old Londoners”.

Bauer Radio’s Group MD Dee Ford told Radio Today that the media firm was “excited to further unlock Greatest Hits Radio’s huge potential this year”, while Absolute would “move forward with its exciting digital expansion plans”.