This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.
|Broadcast area||Norfolk and north Suffolk|
|Slogan||More music variety.|
|First air date||1 October 1984|
|Owner||Heart Network, Global Radio|
Heart Norwich (formerly Radio Broadland) was an Independent Local Radio station for Norfolk and North Suffolk, including Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, until early 2009. The station, now part of the national Heart Network, is owned and operated by Global Radio.
On 1 October 1984, a new independent local radio station called "Radio Broadland" was launched by a Norfolk-based group with experience in local business, newspapers and television, but little in radio.
Several people with solid radio experience were brought in to start the station. Russell Stuart arrived from Gwent Broadcasting in Newport as managing director, Mike Stewart from Radio West in Bristol as programme controller and Robb Young moved from Radio Orwell in Ipswich as sales manager.
Stewart put together the first team of presenters. Nick Risby joined from Red Rose Radio in Preston, Tony Gillham came from Chiltern and BBC Bedfordshire, Dave Brown from Radio Tees, Rob Chandler from Radio Orwell and Adrian Finighan from Gwent Radio. Dave Brown became programme controller of the station in the late 1990s, while Rob Chandler remained for 30 years, including more than 25 years as breakfast presenter, until leaving the station in December 2013. Another long server was Chrissie Jackson, who lasted for 27 years including 14 as joint breakfast host, until leaving at the same time as Rob Chandler. Bob Harris presented a weekly show on the station for a time after it launched, while he was living in the area.
For the first two years, Radio Broadland went off air at 10 pm until 6 am the following morning. The station simulcasted on 97.6 FM and 1152 AM for three years, but in 1987, due to national changes in local radio frequencies, moved to 102.4 FM. Broadland at the end of the 1980s was achieving an audience reach of 50 per cent and average weekly listening of up to 18 hours per listener, some of the best in the UK.
In 1990, Broadland took over Suffolk Group Radio, which owned Radio Orwell in Ipswich and Saxon Radio in Bury St Edmunds and, to reflect the addition of the new stations, the company became East Anglian Radio. The two Suffolk stations were renamed and re-launched as SGR fm in 1992.
Initially, Radio Broadland played both classic hit music and current chart hits, but in 1995 the decision was made by the EAR group to make better use of the AM slot. Amber Radio was created in Norfolk and Suffolk playing 60s and 70s music, whilst Broadland 102 focused more on current and recent chart hits. The EAR group continued to be run by the original Broadland management team.
In 1996, the GWR Group bid more than £25 million for the East Anglian Radio group, which later resulted in changes to the station such as networked programming and a new strapline of "Today's Better Music Mix". The original management remained in different roles with GWR and then GCap, but had all left by 2003. Mike Stewart and Russell Stuart were part of a new company, Norwich Radio Group, which narrowly failed to win a new ILR licence advertised in 2005 for Norwich.
In 2007, the station reverted to the name of Radio Broadland, adopting 'More Music Variety' to reflect an emphasis on classic hits in place of chart material. Also that year, as with all of GCap's One Network, the station gained a new logo and website.
An offer of £375 million for the GCap group from Global Radio, owner of Heart and LBC in London and Galaxy station, was accepted in 2008. All GCap's senior management departed on completion of the takeover.
In January 2009, Radio Broadland was renamed as Heart Norwich, as part of a major re-branding involving 29 stations owned by Global Radio. By this time, local programming was restricted to daily breakfast and weekday drivetime with all other output networked from London.
On 21 June 2010, Global Radio announced plans to merge Heart Norwich with Heart Ipswich as part of plans to reduce the Heart network of stations from 33 to 16. The new station, Heart East Anglia, began broadcasting from Norwich on 3 September 2010.