Piccadilly Magic 1152 (also known simply as Magic 1152), began broadcasting as Piccadilly Radio, which was Manchester's first commercial radio station.
Early yearsEditPiccadilly Radio (Medium Wave) logos throughout the years
It began broadcasting on 2 April 1974 as Piccadilly Radio on 261m (1151 kHz then) AM/MW and on 97.0 MHz FM. The station is named after Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, and Piccadilly Plaza was home to the station's first studios until 1996, when Piccadilly 1152 and Key 103 were relocated to the Castlefield area of Manchester.
Many of Britain's famous presenters started their careers at Piccadilly, including Chris Evans, Mike Sweeney, Steve Penk, Jeff Cooper, James H Reeve, Andy Peebles, Gary Davies, Tim Grundy, Timmy Mallett, Pete Mitchell, Chris Tetley, Geoff Lloyd, Mark Radcliffe, James Stannage and Karl Pilkington.
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 playlist moved away from "golden oldies" to a mix of classic and current easy-listening music. The late-night phone-in with James Stannagebecame the most listened-to talk show outside London, whilst the Dave Ward 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, today broadcasting as 1458 Capital Gold) commenced on the old BBC GMR AM frequency. Despite heavy marketing, and many ex-Piccadilly presenters on the new station, Piccadilly 1152 remained Manchester's most popular station, other than sister station Key 103, until the late 1990s when new smaller FM stations 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 Bauer Radio (then 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 beneficial when selling air time to national advertisers. This change in name also coincided with the 25th birthday of Piccadilly Radio. The station was branded as "Piccadilly 1152 - the magic of Manchester" during the transition
Except for a short spell in 2000 (when Key 103 was briefly renamed Piccadilly Key 103), the name Piccadilly disappeared from the airwaves.
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 at the weekend and the Newcastle station of the same name during the week. During networked hours, local adverts are aired, as well as a local news summary on 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 coincided with a new breakfast show. News is broadcast locally from 6am to 7pm with IRNnational news featuring on the hour between 7pm and 5am. Both Key 103 and Piccadilly Magic 1152 support and run funding events for the "Manchester Kids" charity, which aims to improve the lives of deprived children in Manchester.
The station is based in the Castlefield area of Manchester, in Castle Quay.
Past Presenters Richard Allen, Norman Ashley, Matthew Rudd, Phil Wood, Dave Ward, Umberto, Chris Evans, Roger Day, Tony Emerson, James Stannage, Colin Cook, Becky Want, Dave Eastwood, Mike Shaft, Phil Sayer, Mike Sweeney, Pete Baker, Pete Reeves, Susie Mathis, Brian Beech, Ray Teret, Mike Day, John Bingham, Timmy Mallett, Harry Ogden, Richard Sinton, Scotty, Carl Shepard, Simon Cole, Mike Kiddey, Noddy Holder, Joe Patricks, Geoff George, Tommy Docherty, Norman Cook, Jools Holland, David Hamilton, Johnnie Walker, Wayne Dutton, Ian Royle, Julian Hotchkiss, Gillian Cowie, Janet Bentley, Bryce Cooke, Tony Gray, Mike Aherne, Stu Allan
Past Newsreaders / Sport Henry Matthews, David Vere, Chris Moore, Patrick Stenson, Abigail Bonnell, Ruth Hill, Jane Beckwith, Trevor Green, Matt Proctor, Jim Hancock, Tom Tyrrell, Brian Clarke, John Pickford, Kay Burley, Chris Roberts, Juliet Bremner, Stuart Pyke, John Gwynne