Virgin Radio

Virgin Radio

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Absolute Radio is one of the UK's three Independent National Radio
Independent National Radio
Independent National Radio is the official term for the three national commercial radio stations broadcasting on analogue radio in the United Kingdom...

 stations. The station rebranded to its current name at 7.45am on 29 September 2008.

The station is based in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and plays popular
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

. It currently broadcasts on mediumwave
Mediumwave
Medium wave is the part of the medium frequency radio band used mainly for AM radio broadcasting. For Europe the MW band ranges from 526.5 kHz to 1606.5 kHz...

 and DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

 across the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, on 105.8 FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Sky (channel 0107), Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

 (channel 915), Freeview (channel 727), Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

 (channel 724) and TalkTalk TV (channel 620). It is also available in other parts of the world via satellite, cable
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

, and on the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. Absolute Radio is a patron of The Radio Academy
Radio Academy
The Radio Academy is a registered charity that is dedicated to 'the encouragement, recognition and promotion of excellence in UK broadcasting and audio production'....

.

1993-1997: Virgin Radio launch and early years



The 1990 Broadcasting Act
Broadcasting Act 1990
The Broadcasting Act 1990 is a law of the British parliament, often regarded by both its supporters and its critics as a quintessential example of Thatcherism. The aim of the Act was to reform the entire structure of British broadcasting; British television, in particular, had earlier been...

 allowed for the launch of independent national radio (INR) stations in the United Kingdom. The Radio Authority was mandated to award three INR licences, one of which (INR1) had to be for a 'non-pop' station (which was awarded to Classic FM
Classic FM (UK)
Classic FM, one of the United Kingdom's three Independent National Radio stations, broadcasts classical music in a popular and accessible style.-Overview:...

), and one of which had to be for a predominantly speech-based service (this would be advertised later as INR3 and would be awarded to Talk Radio
TalkSPORT
Talksport , owned by UTV radio, is one of the United Kingdom's three terrestrial analogue Independent National Radio broadcasters, offering a sports and talk radio service broadcast from London to the United Kingdom....

). The remaining licence was to be open to 'all-comers'. The licences were to be awarded to the highest cash bidder, providing that the applicant met criteria set down in the Broadcasting Act.

The second national licence, INR2, would take over the 1197 kHz and 1215 kHz frequencies, which were to be relinquished by BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

. The licence was advertised in October 1991 and five organisations bid: the Independent National Broadcasting Company of Sheffield, which bid £4,010,000 per year; a TV-am
TV-am
TV-am was a breakfast television station that broadcast to the United Kingdom from 1 February 1983 to 31 December 1992. It made history by being the first national operator of a commercial television franchise at breakfast-time , and broadcast every day of the week for most or all of the period...

/Virgin
Virgin Group
Virgin Group Limited is a British branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by business tycoon Richard Branson. The core business areas are travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding...

 consortium (£1,883,000); Radio Chiltern's
Chiltern Radio Network
The Chiltern Radio Network was the parent group of several radio stations which operated two radio brands in the UK in the 1990's.-Branding:The two main brands were:...

 20/20 Radio (£1,311,000); Radio Clyde's
Radio Clyde
Radio Clyde is a division of Bauer Radio based in Glasgow, Scotland. They currently operate an FM station and an AM station from studios in Clydebank West Dunbartonshire.- History :...

 Score Radio (£701,000); and a consortium of CLT
RTL Group
RTL Group is Europe's largest TV, radio and production company, and is majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. It has 45 television and 32 radio stations in 11 countries...

, Harvey Goldsmith
Harvey Goldsmith
Harvey Goldsmith CBE is a British performing arts promoter. He is best known as promoter of rock concerts, charity concerts, television broadcasts for the Prince's Trust and more recently the Teenage Cancer Trust shows at the Royal Albert Hall.During early 2007 he appeared on the Channel 4...

 and RTÉ
Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Raidió Teilifís Éireann is a semi-state company and the public service broadcaster of Ireland. It both produces programmes and broadcasts them on television, radio and the Internet. The radio service began on January 1, 1926, while regular television broadcasts began on December 31, 1961, making...

 (£211,000). The TV-am/Virgin consortium was awarded the licence in April 1992, after the Radio Authority said that it was not satisfied that Independent National Broadcasting would be able to sustain the service. Later that year, TV-am lost its ITV license and its stake in the radio station was sold in March 1993 to Apax Partners
Apax Partners
Apax Partners LLP is a global private equity and venture capital firm, headquartered in London. The company also operates out of eight other offices in New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tel-Aviv, Madrid, Stockholm, Milan and Munich. The firm, including its various predecessors, have raised...

, JP Morgan Investment Corporation and Sir David Frost
David Frost
Sir David Frost is a British broadcaster.David Frost may also refer to:*David Frost , South African golfer*David Frost , classical record producer*David Frost *Dave Frost, baseball pitcher...

.

The station launched as Virgin 1215 at 12.15pm on 30 April 1993. The first song was a cover version of the Steppenwolf
Steppenwolf (band)
Steppenwolf are a Canadian-American rock group that was prominent in the late 1960s. The group was formed in 1967 in Los Angeles by vocalist John Kay, guitarist Michael Monarch, bassist Rushton Moreve, keyboardist Goldy McJohn and drummer Jerry Edmonton after the dissolution of Toronto group The...

 song "Born to be Wild
Born to Be Wild
"Born to Be Wild" is a rock song written by Mars Bonfire and made famous by the Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf. It is often used in popular culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude...

", recorded by Australian group INXS
INXS
INXS are an Australian rock band, formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales. Mainstays are Garry Gary Beers on bass guitar, Andrew Farriss on guitar/keyboards, Jon Farriss on drums, Tim Farriss on lead guitar and Kirk Pengilly on guitar/sax...

. Richard Branson
Richard Branson
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies....

 was the first voice to be heard, live from the Virgin Megastore in Manchester, with Richard Skinner
Richard Skinner (broadcaster)
Richard Skinner is a British radio and television broadcaster.He is the only presenter to have fronted the three BBC 'flagship' pop music programmes Whistle Test, Top of the Pops and Top 40 show. -Early career:...

 the first voice back in the London studios. Skinner was also Programme Director, a role he shared with John Revell. David Campbell, previously managing director of one of Virgin's post-production television companies, was the chief executive at launch.

From before its launch on AM, Virgin Radio was campaigning for a national FM network. Initially, it lobbied for Radio 4's
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 FM network to be made available and then, when the Radio Authority launched a consultation on the use of the 105-108 MHz band, it lobbied for it to be set aside as a national network. The Radio Authority decided, however, that 105-108 MHz would be licensed to new local and regional stations and Virgin Radio applied for and won one of the new FM licences advertised in London as a result.

Virgin Radio launched on 105.8 MHz FM in London on 10 April 1995 beginning with a message from David Frost at 6am followed by the Russ ‘n’ Jono breakfast show. Part of the licence requirements for the London service meant that a daily London opt-out was broadcast on FM, presented initially by Rowland Rivron
Rowland Rivron
Rowland J. Rivron is a British comedian, musician, writer and television presenter.-Early life: Rivron was brought up in Hillingdon, West London and attended Abbotsfield Secondary School...

.

Within a year, Virgin Group was considering the next steps for the radio station, including the option of a flotation or buying back the shares of JP Morgan, Apax and Sir David Frost. In May 1997, it was announced that Capital Radio had agreed to acquire Virgin Radio in an £87 million deal. Capital's plans included moving Virgin Radio from 1 Golden Square
Golden Square
Golden Square, Soho, London in the City of Westminster is one of the historic squares of Central London. The square is just east of Regent Street and north of Piccadilly Circus....

 to Capital's Leicester Square
Leicester Square
Leicester Square is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London, England. The Square lies within an area bound by Lisle Street, to the north; Charing Cross Road, to the east; Orange Street, to the south; and Whitcomb Street, to the west...

 building and splitting programming between the AM and FM services. The Radio Authority approved the acquisition, but Nigel Griffiths
Nigel Griffiths
Nigel Griffiths is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South from 1987 to 2010.-Early life:...

, the Consumer Affairs Minister, referred the takeover to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC). The MMC report into the takeover would not be issued until January 1998, and would recommend that the deal could only go ahead if Capital Gold was sold or Virgin's London FM licence was left out of the deal. However, the delay in approval of the Capital acquisition would ultimately lead to the deal not going through.

In January 1997, Chris Evans had left his role as presenter of the Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

 breakfast show as a result of a disagreement between him and the programme controller Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister
Richard Matthew Bannister is a British media executive and broadcaster. After attending King Edward VII School , he graduated in law at the University of Nottingham in 1978, and joined BBC Radio Nottingham as a trainee reporter and subsequently the presenter of its speech-based breakfast show,...

 (Chris had asked for Fridays off to allow more time for him to work on his Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 television show, TFI Friday
TFI Friday
TFI Friday is an entertainment show broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2000. The show produced by Ginger Productions, written by Danny Baker and hosted by Chris Evans, for the first 5 series. The final series was hosted by a number of Guest Presenters. It was broadcast on...

). Evans was keen to return to radio. Indeed it was reported that his agent, Michael Foster, had approached Matthew Bannister to ask if Chris would be allowed to be return to Radio 1, and he had gone as far as commencing negotiations to buy Talk Radio.

Richard Branson wanted Evans to work for Virgin Radio, so much so that he joined him on a Concorde
Concorde
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

 flight to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 in order to try to persuade him to join as the drive time presenter. In the end, Virgin Radio hired Evans to present the breakfast show, replacing the incumbent Russ 'n' Jono show (presented by Russ Williams and Jonathan Coleman). His show started on 13 October 1997, the same day that Zoë Ball
Zoë Ball
Zoë Louise Ball is an English television and radio personality, most famous for becoming the first female host of the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show and for her earlier work presenting the 1990s children's show, Live & Kicking.-TV career:The daughter of the children's TV presenter Johnny Ball and his...

 started as Evans' replacement on Radio 1. The initial contract would only be for ten weeks, until the MMC announced its decision on the Capital Radio takeover. Evans approached David Campbell to discuss buying the radio station and, with Michael Foster's help, they put together a deal to buy the radio station with venture capital supplied by Apax Partners and Paribas
BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas S.A. is a global banking group, headquartered in Paris, with its second global headquarters in London. In October 2010 BNP Paribas was ranked by Bloomberg and Forbes as the largest bank and largest company in the world by assets with over $3.1 trillion. It was formed through the merger...

, with Virgin Group retaining a 20% stake in the business. The deal was announced on 8 December 1997, and would see the formation of the Ginger Media Group, an umbrella company overseeing Virgin Radio and producing programmes such as TFI Friday.

1998-2000: The Ginger Media Group


Evans' ownership of Virgin Radio started well, with a breakfast show audience increase of 660,000 to 2.2m in his first three months. In August 1998, Chris Evans took a spur of the moment decision one weekend to launch a Saturday afternoon show called Rock 'n' Roll Football, a show that is still broadcast on Absolute Radio. From 5 October 1998, Virgin Radio started simulcasts of the breakfast show on Sky One
Sky One
Sky1 is the flagship BSkyB entertainment channel available in the United Kingdom and Ireland.The channel first launched on 26 April 1982 as Satellite Television, and is the fourth-oldest TV channel in the United Kingdom, behind BBC One , ITV and BBC Two...

 each morning for an hour between 7.30 and 8.30am. When a track was played on the radio, viewers would see a video at the same time.

The start of the new football season in August 1999 saw Terry Venables
Terry Venables
Terence Frederick "Terry" Venables , often referred to as "El Tel", is a former football player and manager, as well as being a media pundit. During the 1960s and 70s, he played for various clubs including Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers, and gained two caps for England...

 join Russ Williams in a show that would precede Rock 'n' Roll Football. At the end of 1999, in response to the TV programme Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK game show)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is a British television quiz show which offers a maximum cash prize of one million pounds for correctly answering successive multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty...

 not having given away its top prize, Virgin Radio set a broadcasting first when Clare Barwick won £1 million at the culmination of "Someone’s Going To Be A Millionaire".

The management team at the Ginger Media Group were considering expansion opportunities, including a plan to acquire the Daily Star newspaper from United News & Media
United Business Media
UBM plc is a magazine publisher, news distributor and events organiser providing business information services principally to the technology, healthcare, media, automotive and financial services industries...

, and hire Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan
Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan , known professionally as Piers Morgan, is a British journalist and television presenter. He is editorial director of First News, a national newspaper for children....

 to edit it. Their plans were stalled, however, when the shareholders got cold feet. Evans wrote in his autobiography that "the management wanted to stick to our original brief of expansion, whereas our investors only cared about extracting the added value."

2000-2008: SMG ownership


The management team therefore set themselves on a strategy to sell the business three years ahead of schedule. They hired Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

 to run the sale process, and considered a public flotation, before selling to the Scottish Media Group (now STV Group plc) for £225 million in March 2000. The Scottish Media Group, which owned Scottish Television
Scottish Television
Scottish Television is Scotland's largest ITV franchisee, and has held the ITV franchise for Central Scotland since 31 August 1957. It is the second oldest ITV franchisee still active...

 and the Herald
The Herald (Glasgow)
The Herald is a broadsheet newspaper published Monday to Saturday in Glasgow, and available throughout Scotland. As of August 2011 it had an audited circulation of 47,226, giving it a lead over Scotland's other 'quality' national daily, The Scotsman, published in Edinburgh.The 1889 to 1906 editions...

 newspaper, fought off other bidders including Clear Channel
Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications, Inc. is an American media conglomerate company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded in 1972 by Lowry Mays and Red McCombs, and was taken private by Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in a leveraged buyout in 2008...

, NRJ
NRJ Radio
NRJ French multimedia group based in Paris. Since its foundation in 1981 as a French pop music radio station it has grown and evolved to become the NRJ Group...

 and Guardian Media
Guardian Media Group
Guardian Media Group plc is a company of the United Kingdom owning various mass media operations including The Guardian and The Observer. The Group is owned by the Scott Trust. It was founded as the Manchester Guardian Ltd in 1907 when C. P. Scott bought the Manchester Guardian from the estate of...

. Evans personally made £75 million out of the sale.

Evans was subsequently fired by his new employer in 2001 for failing to report into work for five consecutive days while reportedly partying with his then wife Billie Piper
Billie Piper
Billie Paul Piper is an English singer and actress.She began her career in the late 1990s as a pop singer and then switched to acting. She started in acting and dancing and was talent spotted at the Sylvia Young stage school by Smash Hits magazine who wanted a "face" for their magazine...

.

Chief Executive, John Pearson, who had been with the station since before launch, resigned in April 2005, and was replaced by Fru Hazlitt, who had previously been managing director of Yahoo!
Yahoo!
Yahoo! Inc. is an American multinational internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, United States. The company is perhaps best known for its web portal, search engine , Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, advertising, online mapping ,...

 UK and Ireland.

On 13 June 2006, SMG plc signed a deal with YooMedia to make Virgin Radio available on Freeview. It has always placed a great emphasis on other methods of transmission than medium wave, as the 1215 kHz frequency suffers from considerable interference, particularly after dark – BBC Radio 1, which used 1215 kHz for its first eleven years on air, moved to higher-quality medium wave frequencies (now used by talkSport
TalkSPORT
Talksport , owned by UTV radio, is one of the United Kingdom's three terrestrial analogue Independent National Radio broadcasters, offering a sports and talk radio service broadcast from London to the United Kingdom....

) in 1978 mainly for this reason.

2008-present: Acquisition by Times of India and rebranding as Absolute Radio



On 12 April 2007, it was announced that SMG plc were to sell Virgin Radio, to enable the company to focus on its television station, STV. On 30 May 2008 SMG sold Virgin Radio to TIML Golden Square Limited, a subsidiary of The Times Group
The Times Group
The Times Group is the largest media conglomerate in India and is headed by brothers Samir and Vineet Jain.The company has eleven publishing centres, fifteen printing centres, fifty-five sales offices, Over 7000 employees, five dailies, including two of the largest in the country with approx 4.3...

 for £53.2 million with £15 million set aside for rebranding. TIML were given 90 days grace in which to rebrand the station. As part of the deal, Absolute Radio International, which operates two FM licences in Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, would manage the station.

On 1 September 2008 it was announced that Virgin Radio would be rebranded as Absolute Radio at the end of the month (28 September). At the same time some changes to the line-up were made known with JK and Joel
JK and Joel
Jason King and Joel Ross , known professionally as JK and Joel, are a radio show presenters and are best known for hosting the official UK chart on BBC Radio 1 between 2004 and 2007 and then presented on Virgin Radio UK, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at weekends and covering the breakfast and...

, Robin Burke
Robin Burke
Robin Burke is a British media creative and founder of Cops and Robbers Creative. His professional career in the UK began as a writer/producer/broadcaster on national radio and quickly extended into television...

, Tony Hadley
Tony Hadley
Tony Hadley is an English pop singer-songwriter, occasional stage actor and radio presenter who gained celebrity as the lead vocalist for the 1980s band Spandau Ballet.-Early life:...

 and John Osborne
John Osborne (broadcaster)
John Osborne broadcaster, birthday 28 September, started his radio career on London's pirate radio circuit, culminating in South London's very successful Horizon Radio....

 leaving the station and Allan Lake
Allan Lake
Allan Lake is a British disc jockey.-Career:Lake has been doing radio for the last 10 years. He started his radio career at Isle of Wight Radio, working as the teaboy on the Saturday sports show and as producer for the station's veteran phone-in presenter Alex Dyke...

, Joanna Russell
Joanna Russell
Jo Russell is an English radio presenter and DJ currently working for BRMB in Birmingham.- Biography :Russell worked for an insurance company and Coca Cola among other roles before beginning her broadcasting career at York Hospital Radio...

 (of Trent FM
Trent FM
Trent FM was an Independent Local Radio station which broadcast to Nottinghamshire. The station merged with two other East Midlands stations, Leicester Sound and Ram FM to form Capital FM East Midlands on Monday 3 January 2011.-History:Launched on 3 July 1975 as Radio Trent and based in a...

's Jo & Twiggy) and Tim Shaw joining, though Osbourne would return shortly after.
However, listening figures revealed for the final quarter of 2008 have revealed that almost one fifth of former Virgin Radio listeners have been lost since the rebranding to Absolute Radio.

Audience and playlist



Virgin Radio launched aiming at a target group of 24 to 44-year-olds and with a focus on album music, arguing that "singles chart shows on Radio 1 and local commercial radio were outdated because albums outsold singles by three to one." It would provide a blend of album and chart music from the past 25 years and aim to fill the "hole in the middle" between Radio 1, which was specifically aimed at young audiences and "gold" stations offering classic hits.

A year after launch, David Campbell was quoted as saying that "the music policy was wrong, even though Virgin had lots of research to suggest it was doing what listeners said they wanted. We did something we should never do: pursue critical acclaim, playing obscure tracks, gaining the praise of the music press." The station's approach had been to mix in more familiar music.

Fru Hazlitt, when interviewed for The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

in September 2006, described the type of music the station championed: "It's pretty much mainstream rock festival type music. Razorlight
Razorlight
Razorlight are a UK based indie rock band formed in 2002. They are primarily known in the UK, having topped the charts with the 2006 single "America" and its parent self-titled album, their second...

, Keane. These bands are becoming some of the biggest in the world."

When announcing the rebrand as Absolute Radio on the One Golden Square blog, Clive Dickens, Chief Operating Officer, noted that the station would be "sticking with real music – not manufactured rubbish – and we’re building on the amount of live music we do – we’re just going to discover more of all of it."

The music policy continues to focus on guitar-based rock, mostly British. In a blog post in February 2009, Head of Music James Curran noted that the twenty-most played artists in the first four months of Absolute Radio had been: Coldplay
Coldplay
Coldplay are a British alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After they formed Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as a...

, Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon is an American rock band that originated in Albion, Oklahoma but formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 1999. The band is composed of brothers Anthony Caleb Followill , Ivan Nathan Followill and Michael Jared Followill Kings of Leon is an American rock band that originated in Albion,...

, The Killers, Oasis
Oasis (band)
Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Originally known as The Rain, the group was formed by Liam Gallagher , Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs , Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan and Tony McCarroll , who were soon joined by Liam's older brother Noel Gallagher...

, U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

, Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs
Kaiser Chiefs
Kaiser Chiefs are an English indie rock band from Leeds who formed in 1996. They were named after the South African football club Kaizer Chiefs....

, Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

, Keane, Stereophonics
Stereophonics
The Stereophonics are a Welsh rock band now living in turners x that formed in 1992 in the village of Cwmaman in Cynon Valley, Wales. The band currently comprises lead vocalist and guitarist Kelly Jones, bassist and backing vocalist Richard Jones, drummer Javier Weyler, guitarist and backing...

, Elbow
Elbow (band)
Elbow are an English rock band. They have played together since 1990 and recorded five studio albums, the most recent of which is Build a Rocket Boys!, released in March 2011...

, Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

, R.E.M.
R.E.M.
R.E.M. was an American rock band formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry. One of the first popular alternative rock bands, R.E.M. gained early attention due to Buck's ringing, arpeggiated guitar style and Stipe's...

, Nickelback
Nickelback
Nickelback is a Canadian rock band from Hanna, Alberta. Since 1995 the band has included guitarist and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger, guitarist and back-up vocalist Ryan Peake and bassist Mike Kroeger.. The band's current drummer and percussionist is Daniel Adair who has been with the band since 2005....

, The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

, The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

, The Police
The Police
The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the vast majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting , Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland...

 and Blur
Blur (band)
Blur is an English alternative rock band. Formed in London in 1989 as Seymour, the group consists of singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur's debut album Leisure incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing...

.

Presenters

  • Christian O'Connell
    Christian O'Connell
    Christian O'Connell is an English radio DJ who presents the Absolute Radio weekday breakfast show.He has formerly hosted BBC Radio Five Live's weekend sports game show Fighting Talk alongside the weekday breakfast show on indie music station Xfm London...

     - Weekdays 6-10am, Sunday 5-8pm
  • Russ Williams - Weekdays 10am-1pm, Saturday 1:30pm-5pm
  • Nick Jackson
    Nick Jackson
    For the professional wrestler, see The Young BucksBroadcaster Nick Jackson has presented successful stints on commercial radio stations in the UK including Original 106, Absolute Radio, BRMB 100.7 Heart FM & done occasional stints on 105.7 Smooth Radio...

     - Weekdays 1pm-5pm
  • Geoff Lloyd
    Geoff Lloyd
    Geoff Lloyd is a British radio presenter. Lloyd presents Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show, Monday-Friday, 5pm-8pm on Absolute Radio...

     - Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show
    Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show
    Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show is a drivetime radio program, broadcast on Absolute Radio.The show runs for three hours, between 5pm and 8pm, Monday to Thursday, and for two hours, between 5pm and 7pm, on Fridays. Presented by Geoff Lloyd, it also featured his 'symposium', comprising himself, Annabel...

    - Monday-Thursday 5pm-8pm, Friday 5pm-7pm & "Unknown Pleasures" - Sunday 8pm-10pm
  • Mark Crossley - Monday-Thursday 8pm-Midnight, Saturday 10am-3pm
  • Polly James
    Polly James (DJ)
    Polly James is a British Radio Presenter and Voice over artist, who is known best for presenting the overnight show on National Radio Station Absolute Radio.-Biography:...

     - Monday-Thursday Midnight-6am
  • Pete Donaldson
    Pete Donaldson
    Pete Donaldson, is a Radio and Television presenter, Producer and Voice Over Artist who is best known for his radio shows on Xfm London and Xfm Manchester, alongside his work on the Alex Zane Breakfast Show and the Lauren Laverne Breakfast Show He also featured on the Danny Wallace Saturday show on...

     - Saturday 11pm - 1am Sunday 10pm - 1am
  • Frank Skinner
    Frank Skinner
    Frank Skinner is a British writer, comedian and actor. He is best known for his television presenting, often alongside David Baddiel, with whom he also collaborated for the football song "Three Lions."He is a radio presenter on the Saturday morning slot on Absolute Radio.-Youth and early career...

     - Saturday 8am-10am
  • Leona Graham
    Leona Graham
    Leona Graham is a British radio broadcaster and voiceover artist. She is currently a presenter of Absolute Radio , a position she has held since 2000...

     - Friday 7pm-11pm Saturday 6pm-10pm Sunday 12pm-5pm
  • Ian Wright
    Ian Wright
    Ian Edward Wright, MBE is a retired English footballer turned television and radio personality.Wright enjoyed success with London clubs Crystal Palace and Arsenal, spending six years with the former and seven years with the latter. With Arsenal he has lifted the Premier League title and both major...

     - Saturday 5pm-6.30pm
  • Dave Gorman
    Dave Gorman
    David James Gorman is an English author, stand-up comedian and presenter. He has performed comedy shows on stage in which he tells stories of extreme adventures and presents the evidence to the audience in order to prove to them that they are true stories...

     - Sundays 10am-12pm
  • Vicki Blight
    Vicki Blight
    Victoria "Vicki" Blight is a radio DJ based in the United Kingdom. Blight has presented shows on Heart 106, a regional radio station broadcast to the East Midlands, BBC Radio 1 and currently Absolute Radio...

     - Saturday 6am-8am, Sunday 6am-10am
  • * Sarah Champion - Saturday-Sunday 11pm - 2am
  • http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk/djs_shows/schedule/index.html Absolute Radio Schedule at absoluteradio.co.uk

News staff



Editor

Andrew Bailey

Broadcast Journalists

Adrian Hieatt

Tumshie Smillie

Tania Snuggs

Sandy Warr


Former presenters


Virgin Radio's original line-up included Russ Williams, Neil Francis
Neil Francis (broadcaster)
Neil Francis is a British DJ, and previously hosted the Friday evening slot on Absolute Radio and Absolute 80s.Francis's first big break in radio came in 1985 with a stint on North Sea pirate Radio Caroline and he has also worked as a presenter for Chiltern Radio in Herts/Beds/Bucks, Invicta FM in...

, Richard Skinner
Richard Skinner (broadcaster)
Richard Skinner is a British radio and television broadcaster.He is the only presenter to have fronted the three BBC 'flagship' pop music programmes Whistle Test, Top of the Pops and Top 40 show. -Early career:...

, Mitch Johnson
Mitch Johnson (announcer)
Mitch Johnson is a British television announcer, voiceover artist and radio presenter.Johnson joined Live & Kicking at the start of series 3 as the voice-over man who lived in the cupboard and was never seen on air. His voice was already well known with listeners to Virgin Radio where he presented...

, Tommy Vance
Tommy Vance
Tommy Vance was a British pop radio broadcaster, born in Eynsham, Oxfordshire. He was one of the few music broadcasters in the United Kingdom to champion hard rock and heavy metal in the early 1980s, providing the only national radio forum for both bands and fans...

, Jonathan Coleman, Nick Abbot
Nick Abbot
Nick Abbot is a British radio presenter, who has presented on numarious radio station in the uk for past 20 years.-History:Nick Abbot was born 22 August 1960, and was educated at George Heriot's School, Edinburgh and Brunel University in Uxbridge where he gained a degree in psychology. Abbot's...

 and Wendy Lloyd.

Other past presenters on the network include Danny Baker
Danny Baker
Danny Baker is an English comedy writer, journalist, radio DJ and screenwriter. Since the late 1970s, he has worked for a wide range of publications and broadcasters including NME, LWT, the BBC, and Talk Radio....

, Robin Banks
Robin Banks
Robin Banks is a TV presenter and radio DJ originally from Kilkenny, Ireland. He is not to be confused with the former Radio North Sea International DJ and engineer Robin Banks, real name Robin Adcroft.-Career:He is the narrator in the British/European version of the popular Discovery Channel...

, Vicki Butler-Henderson
Vicki Butler-Henderson
Victoria "Vicki" Butler-Henderson is a racing driver and television presenter.-Biography:Butler-Henderson was born into a racing family. Her grandfather used to race a Frazer Nash at Brooklands, her father was in the British karting team and her brother Charlie is a racing driver. She has an older...

, Greg Burns, Robin Burke
Robin Burke
Robin Burke is a British media creative and founder of Cops and Robbers Creative. His professional career in the UK began as a writer/producer/broadcaster on national radio and quickly extended into television...

, Martin Collins
Martin Collins
Martin Collins is a British radio presenter.Martin started broadcasting as soon as he left college. His broadcasting career began at Chiltern Radio. Next, he moved to London's Capital Radio, first presenting a Sunday night specialist show for the station, before moving to promience on the...

, Gary Davies
Gary Davies
Gary Davies is a British broadcaster. During the 1980s and 1990s he was a BBC Radio 1 disc jockey and also a regular presenter of Top of the Pops.-Early career:...

, Daryl Denham
Daryl Denham
Daryl Denham is a British radio DJ, and songwriter, currently presenting the drive-time show at Real Radio in Yorkshire.-Early career:Denham's career started at school, where he was active in producing pop music productions in school concerts, organizing pop quizzes and writing and performing...

, Chris Evans (who also owned the station), Mark Fox, Neil Francis
Neil Francis (broadcaster)
Neil Francis is a British DJ, and previously hosted the Friday evening slot on Absolute Radio and Absolute 80s.Francis's first big break in radio came in 1985 with a stint on North Sea pirate Radio Caroline and he has also worked as a presenter for Chiltern Radio in Herts/Beds/Bucks, Invicta FM in...

, Alan Freeman
Alan Freeman
Alan Leslie "Fluff" Freeman, MBE was a British disc jockey and radio personality in the United Kingdom for 40 years.-Career:...

, Tony Hadley
Tony Hadley
Tony Hadley is an English pop singer-songwriter, occasional stage actor and radio presenter who gained celebrity as the lead vocalist for the 1980s band Spandau Ballet.-Early life:...

, Nicky Horne
Nicky Horne
Nicky Horne was a road manager for Emperor Rosko in 1969, before presenting shows on BBC Radio 1, from 1970 - 1973.Horne was one of the original line-up on London's Capital Radio, where he presented shows such as Your Mother Wouldn't like it, Mummy's Weekly & 6 of the Best...

, Janey Lee Grace
Janey Lee Grace
Janey Lee Grace, is a British based singer , author, television presenter and radio disc jockey, firstly with Virgin Radio as a travel reporter and then graduating to her own late night show for the station.- Career :She began her career singing backing...

, Kevin Greening
Kevin Greening
Kevin Greening was a British radio presenter, who co-hosted the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show with Zoe Ball from 1997 to 1998.-Early career:...

, Gary King, Phil Kennedy
Phil Kennedy
Phil Kennedy is a British broadcaster who currently presents with two BBC Local Radio stations.-Biography:Phil's radio career began on Radio Jackie when it was still a pirate radio station, he then moved to Top Shop's instore radio station on London's Oxford Street...

, JK and Joel
JK and Joel
Jason King and Joel Ross , known professionally as JK and Joel, are a radio show presenters and are best known for hosting the official UK chart on BBC Radio 1 between 2004 and 2007 and then presented on Virgin Radio UK, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at weekends and covering the breakfast and...

, Jezza
Jeremy Kyle
Jeremy Kyle is an English radio and television presenter, best known for his British daytime television chat show on ITV, The Jeremy Kyle Show. Kyle is also the host of an American talk show of the same name that premiered on 19 September 2011.-Radio career:From 1986 to 1995, Kyle worked as a...

 (aka Jeremy Kyle
Jeremy Kyle
Jeremy Kyle is an English radio and television presenter, best known for his British daytime television chat show on ITV, The Jeremy Kyle Show. Kyle is also the host of an American talk show of the same name that premiered on 19 September 2011.-Radio career:From 1986 to 1995, Kyle worked as a...

), Allan Lake
Allan Lake
Allan Lake is a British disc jockey.-Career:Lake has been doing radio for the last 10 years. He started his radio career at Isle of Wight Radio, working as the teaboy on the Saturday sports show and as producer for the station's veteran phone-in presenter Alex Dyke...

, Iain Lee
Iain Lee
Iain Lee is a British comedian, and a television and radio presenter. His career began when he performed stand-up comedy gigs across venues in London. He subsequently became co-presenter of the comedy current affairs show The 11 O'Clock Show on Channel 4 and RI:SE...

, Tim Lichfield, Tim Lovejoy
Tim Lovejoy
Timothy Paul Lovejoy is a British television presenter most famous for hosting Saturday morning football programme Soccer AM alongside Helen Chamberlain for over a decade.- Career :...

, Pete Mitchell, Al Murray
Al Murray
Alastair James Hay "Al" Murray , is a British comedian best known for his stand-up persona, The Pub Landlord, a stereotypical xenophobic public house licensee. In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy...

, James Merritt, John Osborne
John Osborne (broadcaster)
John Osborne broadcaster, birthday 28 September, started his radio career on London's pirate radio circuit, culminating in South London's very successful Horizon Radio....

, Lynn Parsons
Lynn Parsons
Lynn Margaret Parsons is a British disc jockey and currently presents Weekends 10am - 2pm on UK radio station Smooth Radio and various shows on for BBC Radio 2.-Career:...

, Steve Penk
Steve Penk
Steve Penk is a British radio and TV presenter. He was born Stephen Penkethman on 28 September 1961, in Rusholme, Manchester and is renowned for his wind-up calls. Penk has worked for various national and local radio stations...

, Vic Reeves
Vic Reeves
James Roderick Moir , better known by the stage name Vic Reeves, is an English comedian, best known for his double act with Bob Mortimer . He is known for his surreal and non sequitur sense of humour....

, Jo Russell, Holly Samos
Holly Samos
Holly Samos is a radio researcher and presenter. A former member of Chris Evans's Zoo Squad, she was the Formula 1 pit lane reporter for BBC Radio 5 Live until the end of the 2010 season....

, Harriet Scott
Harriet Scott
Harriet Marie Scott is a British radio presenter, and current co-host of the Breakfast show on London's Heart along with Jamie Theakston....

, Tim Shaw, Richard Skinner
Richard Skinner (broadcaster)
Richard Skinner is a British radio and television broadcaster.He is the only presenter to have fronted the three BBC 'flagship' pop music programmes Whistle Test, Top of the Pops and Top 40 show. -Early career:...

, Graeme Smith, Suggs
Suggs (singer)
Graham McPherson , better known as Suggs, is an English singer, actor, former radio DJ, TV personality, and most famous as the frontman of the band Madness.-Early life:...

, David Tennant
David Tennant
David Tennant is a Scottish actor. In addition to his work in theatre, including a widely praised Hamlet, Tennant is best known for his role as the tenth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, along with the title role in the 2005 TV serial Casanova and as Barty Crouch, Jr...

, Clive Warren
Clive Warren
Clive Warren is a British radio DJ. He has worked at several broadcasters and now presents on weekdays and Sundays for Metro Radio.-Early career:...

, Sandy Beech, Ray Cokes (MTV), and many others.

Football commentary


From the 2010-11 season, Absolute Radio are broadcasting live commentary of 32 English Premier League games on Saturday afternoons. The matches are broadcast on AM only; the London FM service airs "Rock 'n Roll Football" in place of match output. On DAB, Absolute Radio Extra was established as a part-time opt-out service to carry match commentaries.

Ian Wright
Ian Wright
Ian Edward Wright, MBE is a retired English footballer turned television and radio personality.Wright enjoyed success with London clubs Crystal Palace and Arsenal, spending six years with the former and seven years with the latter. With Arsenal he has lifted the Premier League title and both major...

 joined the station to host a post-match phone-in programme, as well as a regular music show on Absolute Radio 90s and a football podcast.

Studios


Virgin Radio and Absolute Radio have broadcast from studios at 1 Golden Square since Virgin Radio's launch in 1993.

AM transmission


The 1215 kHz frequency (247 metres) was used, in selected areas only, by the BBC Light Programme until 1967. It was then used nationally as the original home of BBC Radio 1 until 22 November 1978 and from 23 November 1978 until 28 February 1992 by BBC Radio 3.

In a number of areas, particularly in areas where the signal from the main 1215 transmitters overlap with each other, Absolute Radio operates a number of filler transmitters on different frequencies. Here is a list of the current AM transmitters in use by Absolute Radio:
Transmitter Name Coverage Frequency (kHz) EMRP (kW) Grid Reference Air date
Boston Lincolnshire 1242 2
Brighton (Southwick) Sussex 1197 1.1
Brookmans Park  London, Hertfordshire, Essex, South Bedfordshire 1215 125
Chesterton Fen South and Central Cambridgeshire 1197 0.2
Dartford Tunnel Dartford Tunnel 1215 0.004
Droitwich  West Midlands 1215 105
Fareham South Hampshire and Isle of Wight 1215 1
Fern Barrow Dorset 1197 0.25
Gloucester Gloucestershire 1197 0.3
Greenside Scalp East Tayside 1242 0.5
Guildford (Pirbright) West Surrey and North East Hampshire 1260 0.5
Hoo North and West Kent, South and Central Essex 1197 2
Hull Humberside 1215 0.32
Kings Heath Northamptonshire 1233 0.5
Lisnagarvey
Lisnagarvey transmitting station
The Lisnagarvey transmitting station is a facility for mediumwave broadcasting located in the townland of Magherageery, on the southern edge of Lisburn, Northern Ireland...

 
Northern Ireland 1215 16
Lydd South East Kent and South East Sussex 1260 2
Manningtree South East Suffolk and North East Essex 1233 0.5
Moorside Edge  North West and Yorkshire 1215 200
Oxford
Oxford transmitting station
The Oxford transmitting station is a broadcasting and telecommunications facility, situated on land above Ordnance Datum to the north east of the city of Oxford, in Oxfordshire, England . It has a guyed steel lattice mast which is in height to the top of the main steel structure...

 
Oxfordshire 1197 0.25
Plymouth Devon 1215 1.1
Postwick East Norfolk and North East Suffolk 1215 1.2
Reading (Manor Farm) Berkshire 1233 0.16
Redmoss Aberdeen and East Grampian 1215 2.3
Redruth  Cornwall 1215 2
Sheffield South Yorkshire 1233 0.3
Sideway Staffordshire 1242 0.5
Stockton Cleveland 1242 1
Swindon Wiltshire 1233 0.1
Torbay Devon 1197 1
Trowell Nottinghamshire 1197 0.5
Wallasey Merseyside 1197 0.4
Washford
Washford transmitting station
Washford transmitting station is a medium wave broadcasting station near Washford, Somerset, UK. It was built in 1933 and uses as antenna a T-antenna between two 152 metre-tall guyed masts separated by a distance of 159 metres...

 
South Wales, Avon, Somerset 1215 100
Westerglen  Central Scotland 1215 100
Wrekenton Tyne and Wear 1215 2.2

Satellite distribution


In the summer of 1993, Virgin Radio began broadcasting in stereo on the Astra 1A
Astra 1A
Astra 1A was the first satellite launched and operated by SES . During its early days, it was often referred to as the Astra Satellite, as SES only operated one satellite originally....

 satellite on an audio sub-carrier of the Sky News
Sky News
Sky News is a 24-hour British and international satellite television news broadcaster with an emphasis on UK and international news stories.The service places emphasis on rolling news, including the latest breaking news. Sky News also hosts localised versions of the channel in Australia and in New...

 channel. This service ceased on 1 July 2001 in anticipation of Sky's cessation of its analogue satellite service. Virgin Radio was one of the first twenty radio stations which joined the Sky Digital service on 20 November 1999. Carried on Astra 2A
Astra 2A
Astra 2A is a communications satellite owned by SES Astra. Launched in 1998, half its expected end-of-life capacity of 28 transponders were pre-booked by BSkyB, who utilised it to launch their new Sky Digital service...

, it launched on the channel 917 of the Sky EPG, and can today be found as Absolute Radio on channel 0107.

Website and internet broadcasting


Virgin Radio launched its first website on 7 March 1996. Designed by AKQA
AKQA
AKQA is a creative agency specializing in interactive marketing. The privately held company has offices in London, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C, Amsterdam, Berlin, Shanghai and San Salvador, totally roughly 1,000 full-time employees.-Philosophy:...

, it hosted a live RealAudio
RealAudio
RealAudio is a proprietary audio format developed by RealNetworks and first released in April 1995. It uses a variety of audio codecs, ranging from low-bitrate formats that can be used over dialup modems, to high-fidelity formats for music. It can also be used as a streaming audio format, that is...

 stream, making it the first European radio station to stream 24-hours a day on the internet. The station went onto redesign the website a further six times as Virgin Radio. Streaming audio formats and presentation developed over time: QuickTime
QuickTime
QuickTime is an extensible proprietary multimedia framework developed by Apple Inc., capable of handling various formats of digital video, picture, sound, panoramic images, and interactivity. The classic version of QuickTime is available for Windows XP and later, as well as Mac OS X Leopard and...

 streaming was added in July 1999, an interactive media player launched in October 1999, an Ogg
Ogg
Ogg is a free, open container format maintained by the Xiph.Org Foundation. The creators of the Ogg format state that it is unrestricted by software patents and is designed to provide for efficient streaming and manipulation of high quality digital multimedia.The Ogg container format can multiplex...

 Vorbis
Vorbis
Vorbis is a free software / open source project headed by the Xiph.Org Foundation . The project produces an audio format specification and software implementation for lossy audio compression...

 stream was launched in June 2003, and HE-AAC and Ogg FLAC streams were launched in December 2009.

In 2001, Virgin Radio joined the Measurecast and Arbitron
Arbitron
Arbitron is a consumer research company in the United States that collects listener data on radio audiences. It was founded as American Research Bureau by Jim Seiler in 1949 and became national by merging with L.A. based Coffin, Cooper and Clay in the early 1950s...

 internet broadcasting measurement services. Both measurement services have since closed. In 2009, Absolute Radio started publishing its internet listening and download statistics.

Virgin Radio was also among the first to explore the opportunities for delivering its services to mobile phones. It took part in a joint venture with Ericsson
Ericsson
Ericsson , one of Sweden's largest companies, is a provider of telecommunication and data communication systems, and related services, covering a range of technologies, including especially mobile networks...

 in 1999 to investigate the use of third-generation
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

 mobile phone technologies for radio, launched a WAP
Wireless Application Protocol
Wireless Application Protocol is a technical standard for accessing information over a mobile wireless network.A WAP browser is a web browser for mobile devices such as mobile phones that uses the protocol.Before the introduction of WAP, mobile service providers had limited opportunities to offer...

 site in 2000 and took part in a trial in 2001 with Crown Castle and Manx Telecom
Manx Telecom
Manx Telecom is the primary provider of broadband and telecommunications on the Isle of Man. It was acquired by Telefónica in , but was sold to two private equity groups in 2010.- History :...

 to explore the use of 3G phones to add interactivity to digital radio broadcasts. In 2009, Absolute Radio launched an application for the Apple iPhone
IPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

 and tagging for the Apple iPod Nano
IPod nano
iPod Nano is a digital media player designed and marketed by Apple Inc.. The first generation of iPod Nano was introduced on September 7, 2005 as a replacement for iPod Mini. It uses flash memory for storage. iPod Nano has gone through six models, or generations, since its introduction...

. In 2010 applications were released for the Amazon Kindle
Amazon Kindle
The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader developed by Amazon.com subsidiary Lab126 which uses wireless connectivity to enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media...

, the Nokia Ovi Store
Ovi (Nokia)
Ovi by Nokia is the brand for Nokia's Internet services. The Ovi services can be used from a mobile device, computer or via the web. Nokia focuses on five key service areas: Games, Maps, Media, Messaging and Music. Nokia's aim with Ovi is to include third party developers, such as operators and...

, the BlackBerry
BlackBerry
BlackBerry is a line of mobile email and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion since 1999.BlackBerry devices are smartphones, designed to function as personal digital assistants, portable media players, internet browsers, gaming devices, and much more...

 and Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft, and is the successor to its Windows Mobile platform, although incompatible with it. Unlike its predecessor, it is primarily aimed at the consumer market rather than the enterprise market...

 and Absolute Radio was selected as a launch partner for the Apple iAd
IAd
iAd is a mobile advertising platform developed by Apple Inc. for its iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad line of mobile devices allowing third-party developers to directly embed advertisements into their applications...

 mobile advertising network.

Sister stations



A number of subsidiary stations to Virgin Radio and Absolute Radio have been launched as online and digital radio
Digital radio
Digital radio has several meanings:1. Today the most common meaning is digital radio broadcasting technologies, such as the digital audio broadcasting system, also known as Eureka 147. In these systems, the analog audio signal is digitized into zeros and ones, compressed using formats such as...

 services over recent years, many being established during the period when SMG plc was in charge of the station. The stations were collectively known as the Virgin Radio Network (now the Absolute Radio Network). All 'Absolute' branded channels broadcast on DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

, the Internet, and digital television platforms; they are also now available as smartphone apps. The lineup of stations within the network has changed over time, and those currently on air are:

Absolute Classic Rock



A radio station on DAB, Virgin Media, Sky, Freesat and the Internet playing classic rock
Classic rock
Classic rock is a radio format which developed from the album-oriented rock format in the early 1980s. In the United States, the classic rock format features music ranging generally from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, primarily focusing on the hard rock genre that peaked in popularity in the...

 from the sixties to the nineties.
Absolute Classic Rock launched as Virgin Radio Classic Rock, with live presenters (Richard Skinner
Richard Skinner (broadcaster)
Richard Skinner is a British radio and television broadcaster.He is the only presenter to have fronted the three BBC 'flagship' pop music programmes Whistle Test, Top of the Pops and Top 40 show. -Early career:...

, Gordon Loncaster and Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades...

) by Lali Parikh.

Absolute 60s


Launched on the 22nd November 2011, Absolute 60s is the sixth radio station launched under the Absolute branding. The station is broadcast on DAB, some digital television networks, and online.
With The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

 as highlights of the station's broadcasts, this will focus on music originating from the 1960's. Pete Mitchell is the main daytime presenter, returning to Golden Square: he was last on Virgin Radio in 2005 hosting the Breakfast show with Geoff Lloyd.

Absolute 70s


To be launched on the 29th November, Absolute 70s will be the seventh radio station launched under the Absolute branding. The station will be broadcast on DAB and online at lunch.
With Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart
Roderick David "Rod" Stewart, CBE is a British singer-songwriter and musician, born and raised in North London, England and currently residing in Epping. He is of Scottish and English ancestry....

, David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

 and Prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

 as highlights of the stations broadcast, this will focus on music originating from the 1970s. Richard Skinner, another previous DJ from the Virgin Radio days, will also return to Golden Square to feature on this station.

Absolute 80s



A radio station on DAB, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media and the Internet which plays classic hits
Classic hits
Classic hits is a radio format which generally includes rock and pop music from 1964 to 1989. The term is sometimes erroneously used as a synonym for the adult hits format, but is more accurately characterized as a contemporary style of the oldies format...

, and is aimed at "reluctant adults" who want to reconnect with the tunes of their youth.
Absolute 80s was launched on 4 December 2009.

Absolute Radio 90s



Absolute Radio 90s launched on 21 June 2010 on DAB to a 13m population in London, Esssex, Wiltshire, Bristol, Berkshire and Bath. The station is also available on Sky 0203 and online via website and mobile smartphones.

Absolute Radio 00s


Absolute Radio 00s launched on 10 December 2010 at 10am online and on DAB Digital Radio in London. After an internet poll, the first song played was Mr. Brightside
Mr. Brightside
"Mr. Brightside" is a song performed by Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers. The song is featured on the group's debut album Hot Fuss and was written by Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning....

 by The Killers.

dabbl



dabbl was a user-controlled music radio station broadcast on the Internet and selected local DAB multiplexes 24 hours a day, and on DAB in London from 7pm to 6am daily. Its content was chosen by members of Absolute's VIP Service, who select songs which are then voted for. Songs with the most votes are then broadcast. dabbl has now ceased, its DAB slots outside London taken by Absolute Radio 90s.

Virgin Radio Groove



A radio station on DAB, Virgin Media, Sky and the Internet which played motown
Motown Records
Motown is a record label originally founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation in Detroit, Michigan, United States, on April 14, 1960. The name, a portmanteau of motor and town, is also a nickname for Detroit...

, soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

 and disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 music. Originally named The Groove, it was rebranded as a Virgin Radio station in 2004 and closed at the end of 2007.

Liquid


Liquid was a station playing indie, alternative and Britpop. It ran on DAB in London between 2000 and 2004, with its slot taken by Virgin Radio Classic Rock (now Absolute Classic Rock).

Virgin Radio Party Classics


Launched on 15 June 2006, Virgin Radio Party Classics played party
Party
A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation. A party will typically feature food and beverages, and often music and dancing as well....

 pop
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 music. The radio station was based on Suggs' Virgin Party Classics show broadcast on Virgin Radio. The station, which broadcast on Sky Digital and online, closed down on Friday 13 October 2006.

Absolute Xtreme



A radio station on DAB, Virgin Media, Sky and the Internet, playing new music. Absolute Xtreme was launched (as Virgin Radio Xtreme) on 5 September 2005, by Lali Parikh (Station Manager) with Steve Harris being the main on air talent. On 4 December 2009, Absolute Xtreme was replaced on DAB and digital TV by Absolute 80s.

Virgin Radio Viva (cancelled)


Virgin Radio Viva, which was due to launch on the new 4 Digital Group
4 Digital Group
4 Digital Group was a media consortium in the United Kingdom. The group won the licence to operate the second national DAB radio multiplex, as advertised by Ofcom in December 2006. The consortium, led by Channel 4 Radio, is a combination of the existing commercial radio operators and brands new to...

platform (which ultimately never launched), was due to be a popular music station aimed at 15- to 29-year-old women. It will now not go ahead.

External links