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Address: Classic FM 30 Leicester SquareLondon WC2H 7LA
FM (MHz): 100.9
Phone: 0845 7 49 1812
Language of broadcast: English
Description: A chorus of birdsong heralded the launch of the UK's first national commercial radio station in the summer of 1992. Two months later, on September 7 1992, Classic FM hit the airwaves for the first time.
The idea for a national commercial radio station dedicated to classical music originated with the management of GWR Group. It had been operating a trial service on its AM frequencies in Wiltshire and Bristol, testing audience reaction to a regular drive-time programme of popular classical music.
The idea had proved to be a great success and GWR Group's CEO, Ralph Bernard, and Group Programme Director, Michael Bukht, drew up the plans for a national station. Classic FM's initial investors included GWR Group, DMGT and the entrepreneur, Sir Peter Michael.
At 6am on Monday, September 7, the strains of Handel's Zadok the Priest announced the station's arrival. Nick Bailey was the first voice listeners heard on air - 14 years later he's still a regular presenter on Classic FM.
Reaction to the station was mixed, with many critics and advertisers not giving it a chance. Classic FM launched with the expectation of attracting 2.8 million listeners. Four and a half months after launch date, official figures showed that 4.3 million people were tuning into the station every week, making it the fourth largest in the country. Further evidence of the station's success came the following year when Classic FM was named Station of the Year at the Sony Awards, the first of three such awards it has won since 1992.
Four years after the launch, GWR bought out the remaining shareholders. Ralph Bernard became Chief Executive, a role he has held ever since. In 2005, GWR Group merged with Capital Radio Group to form GCap Media - the UK's largest commercial radio company. Classic FM remains the single biggest radio station in GCap Media's portfolio of stations.
Classic FM has more than 6.2 million listeners across the UK who tune in each week (including almost 400,000 children). As well as the radio station, Classic FM has grown to include Classic FM TV, a 24 hour classical music video channel; the Classic FM Magazine, the UK's best-selling classical music magazine; this thriving website; a record label; live concerts and book publishing. In 2004, Darren Henley became Classic FM's Station Manager, responsible for the day-to-day management of Classic FM's business and its editorial content across all of its platforms.
The station's presenters include Simon Bates, Lesley Garrett, Katie Derham, Myleene Klass, Henry Kelly, Richard E. Grant, John Suchet, Tony Robinson and David Mellor.
Today, fourteen years after its launch, Classic FM remains true to its mission to bring classical music to the widest possible audience, no matter their age, background or location.
Classical music, competes with BBC Radio 3 for a younger classical music listener with surprising success. Breakfast show plays short pieces or just segments of longer ones so they can add news/travel between the Beethoven whilst you are eating your toast! The evening drive show has a similar format. The UK's first national commercial radio station, launched in September 1992. Also broadcasts on 100.6 and nationally between 100 and 102.
Listen online Classic FM