Monday, March 10, 2008

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 Virgin Media (channel 915), Freeview and Sky Digital. It is also available in other parts of the world via satellite, cable, and on the Internet.

Broadcasting History
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 BBC 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 . 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.
On 12 April 2007, it was announced that SMG are to sell Virgin Radio, to enable the company to focus on its television station, STV. [1]

The Station, its audience and playlist
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, South East Essex, Gloucester, Oxford, South Nottinghamshire, Medway, Merseyside
1233 kHz - Berkshire, North Essex, Northampton, Sheffield, Swindon
1242 kHz - Cleveland, Dundee, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire
1260 kHz - Guildford, East Kent Frequencies
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.

The Big Star
The Virgin name is used for other radio stations in other territories. Virgin Radio stations exist in Thailand and India (Fever 104 FM), in Italy (from July 2007) and Oui FM in Paris (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.

Virgin Radio Spin-off stations

Main article: Virgin Radio Classic Rock Virgin Radio Classic Rock

Main article: Virgin Radio Groove Virgin Radio Groove

Main article: Virgin Radio Xtreme Virgin Radio Party Classics
Past presenters on the network have included Nick Abbot, Danny Baker, Robin Banks, Jonathan Coleman, Martin Collins, Gary Davies, Daryl Denham, Chris Evans (who also owned the station), Alan Freeman, Kevin Greening, Nicky Horne, Janey Lee Grace, Kevin Greening, Gary King, Jezza, Tim Lovejoy, Pete Mitchell, Al Murray, Lynn Parsons, Vic Reeves, Pete Mitchell, Holly Samos, Richard Skinner, Tommy Vance, Clive Warren & many others.

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

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