Anger as Wave 105 radio station is taken over by Greatest Hits Radio

Popular South Coast radio station Wave 105 is set to be transformed into a ‘Greatest Hits Radio’ brand in a take over which has been met with with a luke-warm reception by some of its listeners.
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A part of the changes breakfast show host Rick Jackson will continue hosting a morning show, as well as Mark Collins – who recently hosted The News’ Business Excellence Awards – hosting in mid-afternoons. But many viewers have expressed concerns on social media about the potential loss of other Wave 105 presenters such as Steve Power with their shows axed in favour of the station’s nationwide programming with Simon Mayo set to be broadcast at Drivetime and Jackie Brambles in the evenings.

Bauer Media Audio UK, which owns Greatest Hits Radio, said the station will still provide local news, including traffic and travel updates as well as commercial opportunities for local partners; and fundraising for disadvantaged young people within the community through its Cash for Kids charity will also carry on. The new-look radio station will also feature a playlist of 70s, 80s and 90s, with nothing played from after that era played.

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In a statement Bauer confirmed the changes mean that ‘a small number of roles will be put into consultation and freelance contracts reviewed’. It added: “Bauer Media is fully committed to supporting all affected employees throughout this period.”

Wave 105 presenters Rick Jackson and Mark CollinsWave 105 presenters Rick Jackson and Mark Collins
Wave 105 presenters Rick Jackson and Mark Collins

Many of the station's listeners have been taking to the radio station’s social media page to express their disappointment at the loss of local presenters as well as the change in music to be played, with one describing it as “like losing a good friend”.

One said: “Terrible decision this. Wave 105 covers a multitude of generations with music from the late 60’s through to the latest artists and I am not sure that you can get that from any other commercial station. I for one will probably not listen once Wave as we know it is off air. When will the powers that be realise that big is not always best.”

Another said: “So sad to read this. Been a loyal listener for many many years. Time to go looking for a new station as not a fan of Greatest Hits. At least with Internet radio the range of stations I can find aren't as restricted as they once were. So sorry for all those whose jobs are affected by this, thank you all for many happy years and best of luck for the future.”

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And another added: “I feel that I could end up following Steve Power, should he still have a drive time slot. Please remember that we have a connection to our presenters and have shared some of life’s challenges , with them providing the soundtrack in the background.”

Another said: “There is a phrase in Engineering "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." I wasn't aware 'Wave' was broken..? Sorry to hear this news. In fairness, 'Rossie's' Breakfast was one of the reasons I came back to Wave from trying GHR. Very sorry to hear this news.”

However, one listener commented, “I flick between Wave 105 and Greatest Hits so I’m in the minority here, I love older music, I’m not into the music of today. I’m glad they are changing, I just hope they make room for all of the presenters that will be moving.”

Gary Stein, group programme director for the Hits Radio Portfolio said the changes would build upon Wave’s excellent reputation. He said: “Wave 105 is a well-loved and recognised station identity within the South Coast and we want to build on its fantastic success and secure its future by transforming it into a nationally recognised brand, bolstered by a national marketing campaign to ensure it has even more opportunity to grow. Unique to our other Greatest Hits Radio stations, it will have its very own Breakfast show hosted by the fantastic Rick Jackson in addition to a mid-afternoon show hosted by Mark Collins, and all the local news and information we know is important to audiences. This is all while offering a new look schedule and playlist that we know is loved by listeners across the nation.”

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The statement from Bauer said that listeners whose music taste were not met by Greatest Hits’ offerings had other options available to them as part of the changes. It said: “Following the changeover, for any listeners that would like to continue listening to a playlist of the biggest hits and throwbacks from the 90s to now, as well as shows from Gemma Atkinson and Mike Toolan, Sam Thompson, Fleur East and more, they will be able to do so by choosing Hits Radio South Coast on DAB, online or smart speaker. The station will also contain local news and information for the area.”