|Broadcast area||West of England, South Wales|
|Repeater(s)||97.2 MHz (Central Bristol)|
|First air date||6 September 2006|
Hip Hop |
|Audience share||5.7% (December 2012, )|
|Owner||Kiss Network, Bauer Radio|
|Sister stations||Kiss 100, Kiss 105-108|
Kiss 101 is a radio station in Bristol broadcasting out to South Wales and West of England playing Hip Hop, dance music and R&B. It now forms part of a national Kiss station, which also includes Kiss 105-108 (East Anglia) and Kiss 100 (London) and is owned by Bauer Radio.
The station originally started broadcasting as a pirate radio station called For The People or FTP, which secured a legal licence to broadcast to the city of Bristol in 1990 on 97.2 MHz FM. However, after only a year on air, it was acquired by the Chiltern Radio Group and was renamed Galaxy 97.2. Chiltern's Paul Chantler then became the station's programme director and chief executive.
On 4 September 1994, the group won the UK's first regional licence and Bristol's Galaxy 97.2 became Galaxy 101, broadcasting to an area stretching from Swansea in Wales through Bristol and south into Somerset on 101.0 MHz FM. Since reception quality of the new service was poor in central Bristol, the station was permitted by the Radio Authority to retain its 97.2 transmitter, which beforehand was considered an entirely separate licence.
In October 1995, the station became part of Chrysalis plc, who invested £1 million in Galaxy 101.
Galaxy 101 was sold to GWR Group and Scottish Radio Holdings in 2002 and rebranded Vibe 101, but this purchase was subsequently vetoed by the Competition Commission over concerns regarding control of the Bristol radio advertising market. The Commission ordered GWR to sell their stake, which was bought by Scottish Radio Holdings later that year. In July 2005, Scottish Radio Holdings was in turn taken over by the Emap group, owners of the Kiss brand that Galaxy 102 and Galaxy 105 were formerly licensed to use.
Vibe 101 (latterly broadcasting as Vibe FM) has been relaunched as Kiss 101, effective 07:00 on 6 September 2006 as Emap integrates the stations of the former SRH into its own portfolio. Kiss 101 launched simultaneously with the rebranding of sister station Vibe 105-108 to Kiss 105-108 and a relaunch of Kiss 100. All three new Kiss stations started to carry the new Kiss blue logo, and the core music genre was changed to focus more on Dance. Both Kiss 105-108 and Kiss 101 retained many shows presented by the DJs who previously presented under the Vibe brand, but now offer shows that are networked across all 3 stations at the same time.
Emap gained clearance from the UK communications regulator Ofcom to network programming between Kiss 101, Kiss 105-108 and Kiss 100. Emap have also pledged to significantly increase the amount of specialist programming on the former Vibe stations, with the minimum weekly amount of specialist output stated on the (former) Vibe licences more than doubling from 16 to 36 hours.
Emap sold its radio and consumer magazine businesses, including the Kiss stations, to Bauer Verlagsgruppe on 29 January 2008, as part of the complete breakup and sale of the company to various suitors. Consequently, Emap Radio now operates as Bauer Radio.
Bauer is now the fifth company to have owned "101" in six years.
Presenters broadcasting on Kiss 101 include Will Cozens.
The station broadcasts on 101.0 MHz FM from the Mendip transmitter in Somerset at a power of 40 kW being the most powerful commercial FM transmitter in the UK. This transmitter is, however, highly directional with the maximum permitted effective radiated power (ERP) being directed towards the North West to ensure delivery of a strong signal into South East Wales, particularly Cardiff, Newport and Bridgend. This also appears to be in order to penetrate the Welsh Valleys which lie immediately to the North of Cardiff, and to deliver signal towards settlements at the heads of the valleys such as Merthyr Tydfil.
In all other directions, Ofcom's published technical parameters indicate that the radiated power is as little as 400 watts, particularly to the east in order to minimise interference to Classic FM's Wrotham transmitter on the adjacent frequency of 100.9 MHz FM which serves much of South East England and is located in North Western Kent.
Kiss 101 also uses a filler transmitter for much of Bristol and the immediately surrounding area on 97.2 MHz FM at a power of 200 W, mixed polarisation, located on the concrete communications tower at Pur Down. This is situated immediately to the West of the M32 motorway, towards the north of the city. The same site is also used by The Breeze for their only transmitter. The transmitter broadcasts on the frequency originally used by the station before it won the regional Severn Estuary licence in 1994 and thus clearance to also transmit on 101.0 from Mendip. Prior to this award, the station served Bristol only, with a coverage area no larger than that of The Breeze.