Virgin Radio

Virgin Radio


  Listen to Virgin Radio - Connect With Music
Listen to Virgin Radio Xtreme - new music, no limits
Listen to Virgin Radio Classic Rock - the classic rock authority
Listen to Virgin Radio Groove - non-stop classic soul and Motown

Virgin Radio, originally known as Virgin 1215, is a British commercial music radio station based in London which plays popular music and rock. Virgin currently broadcasts on mediumwave and DAB across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, on 105.8 FM in London, on Freeview, Sky Digital and cable television. It is also available in other parts of the world via satellite, cable, and on the Internet.

Broadcasting history
Virgin Radio was originally called Virgin 1215 when it was launched nationally on 1215 kHz (although some regional transmitters used other frequencies) at 12.15pm on 30 April 1993.

The first song was a special version of the Steppenwolf song "Born to be Wild", recorded by Australian group INXS. Richard Branson was the first voice to-air, live from the Virgin Megastore in Manchester. The first voice in the studio was Richard Skinner.

Some months later after the station launched, it also began broadcasting in stereo on satellite via Sky Television. This has continued with the switchover to digital broadcasting. Virgin Radio later acquired a local FM franchise for London, allowing it to broadcast on, 105.8 FM, in that area. This service launched on 10 April 1995 and initially carried regional programming for the London area, although this has now ceased.

The station was then sold to Ginger Media, owned by Chris Evans, who was a mainstay on the station, presenting a breakfast show from 1997 until 2001. Evans sold Ginger Media to SMG plc for £225 million GBP in March 2000 and was subsequently fired by his new employer in 2001 for failing to report into work for 5 consecutive days while reportedly partying with his then wife Billie Piper.

On June 13, 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) in 1978 mainly for this reason. Interference is thought to come from around Europe, particularly Russia, which has a station on this frequency.

The Station, its audience and playlist
Virgin Radio's former chief executive Fru Hazlitt, when interviewed for The Guardian (September 25, 2006), described what type of music the station champions. When told of comparisons between Virgin and other MOR, or "Middle-of-the-road" music radio stations, such as the BBC's Radio 2, she remarked that "that was [during] the Chris Evans era. Now, it's pretty much mainstream rock festival type music. Razorlight, Keane. These bands are becoming some of the biggest in the world."

The station's output does mainly consist of contemporary British-based guitar "MOR" rock-pop bands, such as the aforementioned Keane and Razorlight but also artists like Coldplay, Snow Patrol and The Feeling. It also plays various other "Adult album alternative" artists from Britain, Ireland and America, like Oasis, U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M. and The Killers, as well as "Golden Oldies" such as The Beatles, Queen, The Clash and The Who to name a few.

Virgin Radio's target audience is predominantly those aged 25-44 [3]. Its "spin-off" digital radio stations (see below) exploit the 'niche' musical tastes of this target audience, and leans on a particular rock sub-genre that is played on Virgin Radio, or to cater for an audience that is within its target demographic but are not served properly by the flagship station.

In a number of areas, particularly in areas where the signal from the main 1215 transmitters overlap with each other, Virgin Radio operates a number of filler transmitters on different frequencies :-

1197 kHz - Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, South Devon, Dorset, Gloucester, Oxford, South Nottinghamshire, Medway, Merseyside
1233 kHz - Berkshire, Essex, Northampton, Sheffield, Swindon
1242 kHz - Cleveland, Dundee, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire
1260 kHz - Guildford, East Kent

The Big Star
A little after 8:00 on the morning of Monday 25 September 2006, The station's breakfast DJ Christian O'Connell revealed The Big Star, which has turned out to be a giant 20 ft x 20 ft star, which took three weeks to complete in a secret location and hung above Regent Street. It was also revealed that if listeners guessed the exact amount within it one of them could win it in cash. To play, listeners had to register the website and could view the star on the webcam. A listener would be selected randomly every hour. It was won at noon on October 10, by Phil from Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire with a winning guess of £108,125.15. (The winning guess was an anagram of "105.8 1215", the station's two main analogue frequencies.)

The Big Star will return in 2007.

Around the world
The Virgin name is used for other radio stations in other territories. Virgin Radio stations exist in Thailand and India, and Oui FM in Paris is due to rebrand in 2007. These are not owned by SMG, and remain within Richard Branson's Virgin Group. Many Virgin companies, including Virgin Megastores and Virgin Trains, have in-store radio stations.

Spinoff stations
SMG plc has recently launched a number of spin-off stations within its Virgin Radio Network. These are:

Virgin Radio Classic Rock
Main article: Virgin Radio Classic Rock
A radio station on DAB, Sky Digital and the Internet playing classic rock from the sixties to the nineties.

Virgin Radio Groove
Main article: Virgin Radio Groove
A radio station on DAB, Sky Digital and the Internet which plays motown, soul and disco music.

Virgin Radio Xtreme
Main article: Virgin Radio Xtreme
Launched on September 5 2005, Virgin Radio Xtreme plays rock music, and is aimed at teenage males.

Virgin Radio Party Classics
Launched on Thursday 15 June 2006, Virgin Radio Party Classics played party pop music. The radio station was based on Suggs Virgin Party Classics show broadcast on Virgin Radio. The station closed down on Friday 13 October 2006.

All 'Virgin' branded channels broadcast on DAB in London, the Internet, and Sky Digital.

Sarah Champion
Robin Burke
Greg Burns
Neil Francis
Leona Graham
Guy Jogoo
Dominic Johnson
Ben Jones
Geoff Lloyd
Christian O'Connell
John Osborne
Russ Williams

Past presenters on the network have included Chris Evans, Danny Baker, Nick Abbot, Jonathan Coleman, Daryl Denham, Jezza, Robin Banks, Lynn Parsons, Tommy Vance, Alan Freeman, Gary Davies, Kevin Greening, Richard Skinner, Vic Reeves, Tim Lovejoy, Martin Collins, Al Murray & many others.


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