Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Piccadilly Magic 1152
Piccadilly Magic 1152 (also known as Magic 1152) ‘Greatest Hits Non-Stop,’ was Manchester's first commercial radio station.
It began broadcasting on 02/04/1974 as Piccadilly Radio 261/103 FM. The station is named after Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, and Piccadilly Plaza was home to the station's first studio until 1996 when Piccadilly Radio relocted to the Castlefield area of Manchester.
Piccadilly Radio split into two services in 1988, with Key 103 broadcast on FM with a contemporary format, while Piccadilly Gold broadcast on AM with a Gold format. In the mid-1990s Piccadilly Gold became Piccadilly 1152 as the play list moves away from 'golden oldies' to a mix of classic and current easy listening music. The late night phone in with James Stannage became the most listened to talk show outside London, whilst the Dave and Umberto breakfast show helped the station to become one of the biggest broadcasting on AM.
In 1994, a rival station, Fortune 1458 (later renamed 1458 Lite AM) commenced on the old BBC GMR frequency of 1458 AM. Despite heavy marketing, and many ex-Piccadilly presenters on new station, Piccadily 1152 remained Manchester's most popular station, other than sister station Key 103, until the late 1990s when new smaller FM licenses in Oldham, Warrington and Bury began to erode away Piccadilly's audience base. Clearly, a better quality of signal on FM was a major factor in Piccadilly 1152's audience decline
In 1994, Piccadilly (Key 103/Piccadilly 1152) were part of the Transworld radio group, which was bought by present owners EMAP. In 1999/2000 the parent company EMAP re-branded the station as Magic 1152, to fall in-line with the other 9 Magic Radio stations they owned across London and the north of England. The idea of a 'Magic brand' of stations was seen to be benificial when selling air time to national advertisers. This change in name also coinsided with the 25th birthday of Piccadily Radio.
Except for a short spell in 2000 (when Key 103 was briefly renamed Piccadilly Key 103), the name Piccadilly disappeared from the airwaves. FM was Key 103, whilst AM was Magic 1152.
In December 2001, emap decided that it was more economical for the Magic network to share off-peak programmes. Magic 1152, in line with the other 7 Magic AM stations in northern England, began networking 10am-2pm, and 7pm-6am with the London station Magic 105.4 providing the programmes - during these hours it was simply known as Magic, although there were local commercial breaks, and local news on the hour.
In January 2003 after a sharp decline in listening, the station ceased networking with the London station, Magic 105.4, and a regional northern network was created with Magic 1152 at the hub. During networked hours, local adverts are aired, as well as a local news summary at top of the hour.
Since Easter 2004, the station has once again begun to be referred to as Piccadilly Magic 1152 in recognition of 30 years on-air. This also coinsided with a new breakfast show. News is broadcast locally from 6am to 7pm with IRN national news featuring on the hour between 7pm and 5am. Piccadilly Magic 1152 also broadcasts a full news programme on-air at 6pm called 'Magic at Six.' Piccadilly Magic 1152 is the official station of Manchester City football club and broadcasts commentary of all home and away matches. Both Key 103 and Piccadilly Magic 1152 support & run funding events for the 'Manchester Kids' charity, which aims to improve the lives of deprived children in Manchester.
Current weekday schedule:
06-10 MacDonald and Maguire at breakfast
10-14 Mark Thorburn,
14-15 Workplace of the Day
15-19 Ian Roberts Drivetime
19-22 Vicki Archer's Mellow Magic
22-02 Simon Lowe late show
02-06 Greatest Hits Non-stop
The station is based in the Castlefield area of Manchester, in Castle Quay
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