Real Radio North West

Real Radio North West
105.4 Real Radio
Real radio.jpg
Broadcast area North West England
Frequency 105.4 MHz /
DAB: 12C (MXR Digital North West)
First air date 8 September 1998 (As Century FM)
Format Hot AC
Audience share 4.10% (March 2011, [1])
Owner GMG Radio

105.4 Real Radio is an independent local radio station controlled by GMG Radio. It is the flagship station of the Real Radio network and has a regional license to broadcast to North West England. The station was part of the Century Network for over ten years until it was rebranded in 2009.

The station was launched in 1998 as Century Radio, part of Border Radio Holding's Century Network. Capital Radio Group took over the station in 2000, and GCap Media in 2005. GMG Radio acquired the Century stations in 2006, rebranding them in 2009 to conform to the branding and network programming of the other stations in the Real Radio network.


Launch as Century 105.4

The station was born as Century Radio in 1998 as the second Century station in the UK, the first being Gateshead-based 100-102 Century Radio. Owned by Border Television, the station was set up by managing director John Myers, who had also established the north east station. Like the first station, Myers also presented the breakfast show under the pseudonym Morgan.

The station's launch was the subject of an episode of a BBC Two fly-on-the-wall documentary Trouble at the Top, mainly following Myers. The episode, entitled "Degsy Rides Again", showed Myers' attempts to train lunchtime phone-in host Derek Hatton, a controversial local ex-politician who had never before presented on radio. Myers was not confident enough in Hatton for him to appear on pre-launch publicity, although his show "The Degsy Debate" performed well at the first RAJAR. Also amongst its launch presenters was controversial shock jock Scottie McClue.[1]

The documentary also covered the station's acquisition of exclusive commentary rights for Manchester United F.C.'s games. They remained United's official radio partner for almost a decade until selling the rights to Xfm Manchester for the 2007–08 season.

Myers left the group to head GMG Radio, overseeing the launch of the similar Real Radio brand. Capital Radio bought the Century network, and was subsequently acquired by GCap Media. GMG Radio acquired the Century stations in October 2006, reuniting Myers and John Simons (programme director on the original Gateshead station) with the brand.[2]


The station operates from studios in Laser House, an office-building in Salford Quays. Also housed in this building are Real Radio's sister stations 100.4 Smooth Radio and 106.1 Rock Radio; plus the GMG Radio operated Channel M. The programming team is led by Programme Director Dave Shearer.

As well as 14 hours of local output on weekdays, 12 hours on Saturdays & 10 hours on Sundays, the station produces and broadcasts networked programming for four other Real Radio stations in the North East of England, Yorkshire, Wales and Central Scotland. The station's factual production team is headed by James Rea (as group Head Of News) and Christian Spooner (as local Head of News).

The station is also simulcast on Channel M at various times of the day. Originally, the station was used as a soundtrack to its breakfast traffic cameras programme which provided live footage from Manchester's traffic cameras. However, when the traffic camera footage programme ended, the simulcast hours were expanded and the in-vision is now just a holding slide of the station logo with two lines of scrolling text containing news and sports headlines and the song that the station is currently playing.



Time Main presenter(s)/programme Location
0100 – 0600 All Request Night Shift: Marc Henry / Jo Lloyd / Oli Kemp Manchester
0600 - 0900 Breakfast with Ditchy & Salty: David Ditchfield & Paul Salt
0900 - 1300 Darren Parks
1300 - 1600 Debbie Mac
1600 - 1900 Home Time with Glen & Lorna: Glen Hunt & Lorna Bancroft
1900 - 2300 David Heane
2300 - 0100 On Air with Ryan Seacrest [3] Los Angeles

Weekday variations

Day Time Main presenter/programme Location
Monday 0000 - 0600 All Request Night Shift: Marc Henry / Jo Lloyd / Oli Kemp Manchester
Friday 1900 - 2300 High School Days: David Heane


Time Main presenter(s)/programme Location
0100 - 0600 All Request Night Shift: Marc Henry Manchester
0600 – 1000 Oli Kemp
1000 – 1400 Glen Hunt & Lorna Bancroft
1400 - 1800 David Heane
1800 – 0000 Real Club Classics: Debbie Mac


Time Main presenter(s)/programme Location
0000 - 0600 All Request Night Shift: Marc Henry Manchester
0600 – 1000 Oli Kemp
1000 - 1300 Darren Parks
1300 - 1600 Jo Lloyd
1600 – 1900 The Vodafone Big Top 40: Rich Clarke & Kat Shoob Leicester Square, London
1900 – 0000 Marc Henry Manchester

Past presenters

  • Wes Butters (left 25 September 2011; now with BBC Leeds)

News and sport

Real Radio is the home of the biggest of three GMG radio news "hubs". The local head of news is Christian Spooner, leading a team of 12 journalists. Bulletins are broadcast on the hour between 6 am and 6 pm with headlines on the half-hour between 6 am & 9 am and 4 pm & 6 pm. Sport is broadcast during these extended news bulletins and at 4.30 pm and 5.30 pm on weekdays.


In the evenings (8pm-midnight), GMG's news team in Manchester provide opt-in bulletins for all Smooth & Real stations in England and Wales (Real Radio North East, Real Radio Yorkshire, Real Radio Wales, Real Radio North West, Smooth Radio West Midlands, Smooth Radio East Midlands, Smooth Radio North West and Smooth Radio North East, Smooth Radio London). Between 1am and 5am, the stations carry Sky News Radio bulletins provided by IRN in London.

As Century, the station won three awards in the 2008 IRN Awards, including for Best Scoop, in which they managed to obtain an interview from a witness who saw the shooting of Liverpool schoolboy Rhys Jones.


  1. ^ "Degsy Rides Again", Trouble at the Top, BBC Two, March 1999
  2. ^ "Fellowship for John Simons". Radio Today. 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 
  3. ^ Ryan Seacrest joins Real Radio Radio Today, July 2011
  4. ^ Steve Jordan joins Yorkshire Coast Radio Radio Today, 12 September 2011

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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