Bauer Media has today announced that it is partnering with The Co-operative Bank to launch Hits Radio Pride, the first dedicated LGBTQ+ pop-up radio station in the UK by a major broadcaster. Hits Radio Pride is set to be a fun, uplifting listen playing some of the 21st century’s biggest artists who are much loved by the LGBTQ+ community, allowing The Co-operative Bank to reach music-loving 25-45-year olds and further its position as a welcoming, inclusive bank.
The partnership comes as music and radio have been central in uniting people during lockdown, offering companionship, a source of community and a connection to the outside world – which is more important than ever for LGBTQ+ communities, with all Pride events being cancelled this year. According to Bauer Media research, 88% of people have listened to radio since lockdown, with 25% stating that they had listened to more radio than before. Bauer Radio stations also recorded strong uplifts in streaming during lockdown, peaking at an increase of 40% in the week 25th-31st May compared to before lockdown.
Furthermore, Pride events in the UK continue to attract an increasing number of people, with over 1.5 million people taking part in London Pride alone. And while recent figures suggest that 1 in 2 young people do not identify as 100% heterosexual*, LGBTQ+ culture has traditionally been side-lined by the mainstream media. Recognising the need for a new inclusive platform that welcomes all, this partnership between Hits Radio and The Co-operative Bank will be a fresh and unique destination where the LGBTQ+ community, advocates and allies can feel connected, safe and empowered to be themselves.
Hits Radio Pride will go live on 28th August and run for six months. In addition, the weekend will also see all stations across the Hits Radio Network celebrating Pride with The Hits Radio Network’s Pride Weekend.
Listeners of the Hits Radio Network’s Pride Weekend and the new station can expect to hear a vibrant playlist of some of the biggest hits and throwbacks, including Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Kim Petras, Sam Smith, Kylie, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Years and Years and many more plus some very special guests. Hits Radio Pride will be working with LGBT+ helpline Switchboard to ensure listeners can get the right access to support and advice and, with support from the Audio Content Fund, will broadcast ‘Tough Talks’; intimate conversations between contributors from the LGBTQ+ community reflecting on the struggles that they face within society.
Abby Carvosso, Group MD, Bauer Advertising, said “With its fantastic Proud Together initiative, The Co-operative Bank was the ideal partner for us; allowing us to offer something completely unique that addresses our audiences’ needs and provides a platform for them to cement their commitment around equality and acceptance. In doing something that no other major broadcaster has done before, Hits Radio Pride will truly celebrate diversity and inclusivity, reflecting all of society and our commitment to serving our wide range of audiences.”
Hits Radio presenter Jordan Lee added, “As radio partner of multiple Pride events around the UK, Hits Radio has been a real cheerleader for diversity and inclusion, so we’re really humbled to be able to step-up that commitment with the launch of this new station. It’s never been more vital to offer a platform for people to come together, and with Hits Radio Pride we plan to create the UK’s biggest Pride party where everyone can feel empowered to be themselves.”
Deb Darlington, Brand Director at The Co-operative Bank said; “We’re delighted to be supporting Hits Radio Pride. This is an opportunity to elevate the importance of inclusivity and diversity; which are values we have at the heart of our business and help differentiate us as the original ethical bank. We are an organisation that is for people with purpose and the launch of Hits Radio Pride is something we’re really excited to champion.”
The new launch will receive all the benefits of being part of the larger Hits Radio Network, including access to its diverse presenting line-up, and DAB distribution to areas of the UK where communities may currently feel underserved. Featuring programming from across the UK, Hits Radio Pride will be a truly national station. There will be shows and content from hubs across the UK, ensuring that listeners receive a diverse and representative mix.
The station will be available initially on DAB in Bradford, Stoke, Swansea, Liverpool and Northern Ireland, as well as on DAB+ in London. It will also be available online, on smart speakers and through the Hits Radio app nationally.
The deal was brokered by Hearts & Science.
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About Bauer Media Audio
Bauer Media Audio is Europe’s leading digital commercial broadcaster and audio operator. Experts in the power of sound, the company reaches over twenty-six million listeners daily through its market-leading broadcast radio, online services, and podcasts creating commercial value. The business spans 7 countries including the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland and Slovakia, with leading brands including KISS, Mix Megapol, Absolute Radio, Radio Norge, Radio Expres, Radio Nova, The Voice and RMF.