Virgin Radio (2016)

The below article refers to the second station to carry the Virgin Radio name in the UK, and is not to be confused with the original Virgin Radio (later Absolute Radio), which formerly broadcast on 1215MW.

The current iteration of Virgin Radio UK launched in March 2016, and was one of a handful of new stations which were created with the launch of a second national DAB transmitter network (or multiplex), known as SDL National (sometimes referred to as D2).

The station was launched by Wireless Group (now owned by News UK), who also launched Talk Radio and Talk Sport 2 around the same time. Virgin Radio was, and still is a pop music station, with a slight leaning towards rock and alternative music, focussing on music from the 1980s onwards.


Virgin Radio is presenter led, with most programmes broadcast live or recorded shortly before broadcast.

Perhaps the most notable presenter on Virgin Radio is Chris Evans, who moved over from presenting the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show. Initially, through a sponsorship deal with Sky, the Chris Evans breakfast show was advert free.

Prior to Chris joining the station, the breakfast show was presented by Sam Pinkham and Amy Voce, who formerly presented the breakfast show on Gem 106, a regional radio station in the East Midlands. Sam and Amy replaced Edith Bowman, who was breakfast presenter from launch in 2016. Sam and Amy continue to present shows individually across Virgin Radio and its sister stations.

Spin Off Services

Following Share Radio leaving DAB, capacity was available for further stations to launch, with Virgin Radio taking the opportunity to add two new services, Virgin Radio Anthems and Virgin Radio Chilled.

Both launched in December 2018, using the newer DAB+ encoding standard. This meant that both stations are available in stereo, though not all DAB radios are compatible with the newer standard. The bit rates are comparatively low at 32 kbps each, and as such audio quality is limited.

The flagship Chris Evans breakfast show is also broadcast across all spin-off services, with music inserted according to music genre each spin off plays.

Most shows on the spin-off services are presenter led, using presenters from the main station. With exception of the Chris Evans breakfast show, all shows are voice tracked, with links being pre-recorded shortly before transmission.