Rock’s FM rebrand to Hits Radio Lancashire has been confirmed but what does this mean for the county?

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Rock FM has officially announced it is rebranding to become Hits Radio Lancashire, but what does that mean for our county?

In November it was announced that Rock FM was to lose its only show produced specifically for the Preston and Blackpool area as its breakfast show merged with that of Liverpool’s Radio City in January.

Hosted by both Rock FM’s Joel Ross and Radio City’s Leanne Campbell, the new show is broadcast across both stations' coverage areas and although local news remains, this move brought an end to 41 years of local programmes on Rock FM - and its forerunner, Red Rose Radio - which have steadily been cut over the past decade. 

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The combining of Lancashire’s breakfast show with Liverpool’s is now followed by another change as Rock FM is set to rebrand to Hits Radio Lancashire this April. 

What exactly has changed?

Bauer Media says that nothing is changing at Rock FM apart from the name and listeners will still get their “local” breakfast show with Joel and Leanne every weekday from 6am, offering them local news and information, including traffic and travel.

Hits Radio Lancashire will now share networked programming with other Hits Radio stations across the country but when Rock FM is rebranded, Joel and Leanne’s Breakfast show will remain, broadcasting only on Hits Radio Lancashire and Hits Radio Liverpool - with Radio City also rebranding in April. 

The altered breakfast show saw an end to programmes being made exclusively in Lancashire and Bauer Media confirmed that the situation remains the same in terms of programming at Hits Radio Lancashire with no programmes currently produced in Lancashire.  

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Despite the name change, the station will also continue its vital support fundraising for disadvantaged young people within the community through its Cash for Kids charity. 

Rock FM is set to broadcast under its new name - Hits Radio Lancashire- from April 2024 Rock FM is set to broadcast under its new name - Hits Radio Lancashire- from April 2024
Rock FM is set to broadcast under its new name - Hits Radio Lancashire- from April 2024

What can you expect from Hits Radio Lancashire?

A spokesperson for Bauer Media said: “As Hits Radio, listeners will still be able to enjoy a playlist of the biggest hits and biggest throwbacks, including songs from Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Harry Styles to Eminem and Rihanna, plus shows from their favourite presenters including Fleur East, Sam Thompson, Sarah-Jane Crawford, Gemma Atkinson and Mike Toolan. Think of it like your favourite WhatsApp group, bringing you up to date on all the biggest things happening right now, including chats with some of music’s biggest stars."

What has been said about the rebrand?

Gary Stein, Group Programme Director for the Hits Radio Network said: ‘We are passionate about radio and the unique mix of companionship, information and entertainment that it offers and want to make sure it thrives in years to come. The audio landscape has evolved dramatically in recent years and, thanks to advances in digital listening, there is even more choice for audiences than ever before. By transforming into this nationally recognised brand, we’re really excited by the potential that the station has to grow. Of course, all the local news and information that we know you value remains, along with the music that you love to soundtrack your day to. It’s Rock FM but with a new name!’

More radio changes in Lancashire

Preston community station Beat Radio is also changing its name to Juice Radio in a partnership with a regional commercial radio station of the same name.

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Juice Radio is a chart, dance & throwback format station which launched on DAB in 2022, but has expanded to appear on the 103.2 FM frequency since Monday, January 8.

A new initiative, the Juice Academy, will also launch which will open doors for training skills in broadcasting, DJ skills, graphic design and more – free to residents of Preston delivered by experienced radio and DJ professionals.

Programmes will originate from the former Beat Radio studios in Preston and broadcast on both platforms between 7am and 6pm, with the two services providing separate programming at other times.

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