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Real Radio North East
Real radio.jpg
Broadcast area North East England
Branding Real Radio 100–102 FM
Slogan Discover the real you
Frequency FM: 101.8 MHz (Main)
FM: 96.2 MHz (Fenham)
FM: 96.4 MHz (Hexham)
FM: 100.7 MHz (Teesside)
DAB: 12C (MXR North East)
Virgin Media: 933 North East
First air date 1 September 1994 (as Century Radio)
Format Hot adult contemporary
Audience share 5% (December 2009, [1])
Owner GMG Radio
Sister stations Rock Radio (North East), 97.5 Smooth Radio
Webcast Windows Media Audio

Real Radio North East is a radio station in North East England owned by GMG Radio. Its main competitors are stations Metro Radio and TFM Radio. The station was called 100-102 Century Radio before it was rebranded in 2009.



GMG Real Radio's studios in Team Valley, Gateshead, which it shares with Smooth Radio

It was the first in the Century brand, which follows a 'personality' format, mixing speech and music. The station was originally housed in Gateshead beside the Tyne Bridge, but in 2008 relocated to Team Valley to share a building with GMG station Smooth Radio. It was originally called Century Radio, not to be confused with the failed Irish station of the same name; it changed its name to use the FM branding, and then back to Radio in 2008.

The station was set up by the then owners Border Television, with John Myers as managing director and John Simons as programme director. Myers presented the breakfast show under the pseudonym of John Morgan. The first song played on air was 'A Star is Born' (also used to launch the North West's Century FM).

A 'listener's club' was formed, with parties at locations around the region attended by the station's presenters. The Jingling Gate in Stanley, County Durham was the most common location, but other events were held at the Stadium of Light and the Dolphin Centre in Darlington.

Late-night phone-in presenter Mike 'The Mouth' Elliott once caused controversy by walking out during his show. Elliot took an extended break after this controversy, during which time he appeared in the film Billy Elliot as boxing coach George Watson. He was also fired in January 2000 when bosses claimed that he was intoxicated on air. However, Elliott claims that he was "stoned out of his tree" on Benylin while trying to fight off a heavy cold. He was reemployed when Capital Radio took over the station.[2]

Ex-Metro Radio presenter Steve Colman's highly marketed introduction to the breakfast show was very unpopular, and he was sacked after just three weeks in August 1996. It was revealed that audiences had decreased rapidly, and businesses had threatened to pull their advertising. Colman is now at Magic 1152 presenting the weekday breakfast show and a '60s show on Sundays. [3]

Jeff Stephenson replaced Myers as Managing Director, and John Caine replaced Simons. Simons left the station for talkSPORT, and Myers left Gateshead to concentrate on setting up 105.4 Century FM in Salford and relaunching 106 Century FM in Nottingham.

Border sold the Century brand to GCap Media, and Myers left the group to head GMG Radio, where he set up the similar Real Radio network. Simons rejoined Myers to establish the Real and Smooth FM regional stations. In October 2006 GMG Radio acquired the Century brand from GCap.[4] Paul Smith, a former BBC and commercial radio producer, then joined Century as Programme Controller, and Sales Director Debbie Bowman was promoted to Managing Director. Smith left the company after the current Programme Director Kevin Howard joined the company in Sept 2007.

On December 18 2008, it was announced that Century Radio was to be re-branded as Real Radio on 30 March 2009.[5][6]

Football coverage

The station broadcasts extensively on football, a passion in the north east, and has a particularly close relationship with Newcastle United and Middlesbrough F.C.. Two famous ex-players for local sides, Malcolm Macdonald, who played for Newcastle United and Bernie Slaven, who played for Middlesbrough are employed on the "Legends Football Phone-In". Eric Gates, who played for Sunderland was the third "Legend", but has not been heard on the show since reports surfaced in local newspapers that he had signed for rival station BBC Radio Newcastle. He has recently been replaced by FA Cup Final 1973 winner Micky Horswill. They have just lost the rights to Middlesbrough games and will now put Sunderland games on in the south of the region. Middlesbrough games will now broadcast extensively by BBC Tees.

If both Newcastle and Sunderland play at the same time Pete Graves along with Bob Moncur commentates on Newcastle, whilst former Century North West Head of Sport Chris Cooper and Gary Rowell commentates on Sunderland.


National Team

Group Head of News- James Rea

After 8pm on weeknights, GMG radio news bulletins are broadcast from the GMG news centre in Manchester, where Real Radio (North West) is based. Real Radio's weekend news bulletins after 2pm are networked from Real Radio (North West).


External links


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