Kiss (UK radio station)

City London
Broadcast area UK wide
Slogan The Beat of the UK
Radical Radio (as a pirate/early legal station)
Frequency 11D DAB (England, Wales, Northern Ireland), 12A DAB (Scotland)
100 FM (London), 101 FM (Severn Estuary), 97.2 FM (Bristol), 105.6 – 106.1 – 106.4 – 107.7 FM (East Anglia)
First air date October 1985 (as a pirate)
1st September 1990 (as a legal station)
Format Rhythmic CHR
Owner Bauer Radio
Sister stations Absolute Radio
Heat Radio
Hits Radio
Kerrang Radio
Planet Rock

Kiss is a UK radio station which broadcasts on 100 FM in London, 101 and 97.2 FM in the Severn Estuary, and 105.6 – 106.1 – 106.4 -107.7 FM in East Anglia. Kiss specialises in hip hop, pop, house, R&B, urban and electronic dance music. It also has specialist hour-long programs dedicated to grime, garage, underground, D&B, reggae, dancehall, slow jams and techno (these shows are now on its spin-off service KissFresh). It also broadcasts on DAB Digital Radio around the UK & nationally on Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media. Owned by Hamburg based Bauer Media Group, Kiss forms part of Bauer's National portfolio of radio brands. Kiss spin-off brands include Kiss TV (playing non-stop music videos), Kisstory (playing classic Kiss tunes) and KissFresh (playing non-stop new music). In September 2006, the channel got a renewed focus on dance music.


Kiss FM began in October 1985 as a pirate radio station, broadcasting first to South London then across the whole city, on 94FM. The station initially broadcast at the weekends and after a year of operation added a Friday line-up to the schedule taking the number of DJs on-air to just under 50.

The station had a cult following across Greater London, with a committed audience. It was suggested in the press at the time that the station had commanded almost 500,000 listeners while operating as an unlicensed pirate station. Kiss FM was established by Gordon 'Mac' McNamee (later its Managing Director until December 1997) and his friends; Tosca, Pyers Easton and George Power. Gordon Mac approached a successful London club promoter, Guy Wingate, to discuss ways of improving the Kiss FM profile. As a result, Wingate launched the very successful Kiss nights at the Wag Club (which included the first ever UK acid house party – an idea put forward by the late Colin Faver and Danny Rampling), both DJs on the station. These nights increased the station's credibility with its target audience and Wingate joined the Kiss team, followed shortly thereafter by Lindsay Wesker.

Kiss was 'owned' by Gordon Mac and in 1986 he sold shares to 10 of the DJs, including Tim Westwood, Jonathan More, Norman Jay, Trevor Nelson and others. Gordon Mac, Wesker and Wingate, the team of DJ's and a large number of volunteers took the station forward through a combination of grim determination and clever marketing. In 1988, the Department of Trade And Industry advertised the first new radio licence in London for many years and Kiss FM mounted a strong campaign to be awarded this licence. Despite public support, the licence was awarded to Jazz FM (now Smooth Radio). In the weekend that followed the announcement of the award, the Kiss team roamed London soliciting signatures for a public petition that was delivered on the Monday morning to the then Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd.

New licences were subsequently advertised and this time Kiss, with significant public and listener support, was awarded one of these.[1]

On 1 September 1990 Kiss relaunched as a legal station, with its studio and offices located on the Holloway Road, and financial support from EMAP.

1999 rebranding and criticism

EMAP took full control of Kiss 100 as early as 1992, but there was no significant rebranding of Kiss 100 and the Kiss brand until 1998. The rebranding resulted in a new logo being adopted in 1999. EMAP wanted to align Kiss 100 with the rest of its radio operations and to do so, Mark Story (previously of Magic 105.4) was engaged in January 1999 as the new Director of Music Programming. At the same time, the Kiss studios and offices was moved from its original roots to EMAP's main premises in Central London. These changes led to criticism from both former presenters and listeners alike, concerned that Kiss 100 was losing its musical direction.

One of Kiss 100's most popular DJs, Steve Jackson, was sacked in December 1998, which was followed by a high-profile court case.[2] At the same time, a number of other founding DJs decided to quit the station in protest at the changes being implemented,[3] whilst others were lured away by the increasingly dance-oriented BBC Radio 1. Many listeners equate Gordon Mac's final show on 28 March 1998 and subsequent departure from the station as the spiritual end of the original Kiss.

Ofcom record fine

In June 2006, Kiss 100 was fined a record fee for any UK commercial radio station of £175,000 by media regulator Ofcom. Ofcom punished Kiss 100 for "numerous and serious breaches" of broadcasting codes after receiving 10 complaints from April to November 2005. They involved prank calls on the Bam Bam breakfast show where consent was not sought from the "victims" and controversial material aired when children were likely to be listening. Kiss 100 said it accepted the findings and apologised for any offence [4]

September 2006 relaunch

Emap introduced a second major revamp of the Kiss brand on 6 September 2006.[5] This included a new logo designed by oddlondon, a renewed focus on dance music, more specialist shows and a new website for all 3 Kiss stations replacing the previous website.

The relaunch was implemented simultaneously with the rebranding of Kiss 100's sister dance stations, Vibe 101 and Vibe 105–108 as Kiss 101 and Kiss 105-108 respectively. The only differences between the three stations are the advertisements, traffic bulletins and live extended coverage (if needed) for some major events going around the region.

The changes at Kiss 100 were introduced to address falling listener figures and to keep the station competitive in the highly contested London market.

Recent times

In December 2010, Ofcom approved the request from Bauer Radio to drop local programming content from the three Kiss stations, creating a national service on the condition that Kiss would be available on 35 DAB multiplexes around the UK on the day local information is dropped, rising to 38 within 3 months of the changes.[6]

On 27 December 2012, Kiss 100 appeared nationally on Digital One's national DAB multiplex.[7]

In February 2013, Kiss owner Bauer Media confirmed it will review the transmission of the station on local stereo DAB slots in favour of a national mono channel, running at 80 kbit/s.[8]

Notable presenters

Rickie, Melvin & Charlie in the Morning

The weekday breakfast show is presented by Rickie Haywood Williams, Melvin Odoom and Charlie Hedges, with producer Adam K, who took over the slot from Robin Banks in May 2007. He in turn replaced the previous long serving breakfast host Bam Bam (real name Peter Poulton) in April 2006, moving from the drive-time slot. The original breakfast show team lasted two years, composed of Graham Gold, Mark Webster and Sarah HB. Gold stayed with the station as he was already presenting the Kiss 100 Dance Chart and later took over the shows of Judge Jules and Danny Rampling before being the first presenter of Friday Night Kiss which aired across all the E-Map Big City Stations. Webster returned to TV whilst Sarah HB went to Radio 1. Bam Bam left shortly after the station received a record fine from the industry regulator, Ofcom after a series of breaches of the broadcasting code. In 2016, Adam K left and Mikey joined. [4]

Patrick Forge

Patrick Forge hosted a two-hour show on Sunday nights from 0100–0300. He played Soul Fusion, Acid jazz and associated forms, along with more modern records with underground jazzy, soulful sounds. He is one of the longest serving hosts of a show on the station, as he joined near the time Kiss turned from a pirate radio station into a commercial operator and left in 2010.

John Digweed

From September 2000 to January 2011, John Digweed hosted a two-hour show featuring progressive house and trance. The first hour featured music played by Digweed, either mixed live or recorded from one of his past gigs. The second hour was a guest mix by a different artist each week. Guests on the show have included other DJs Sasha, Sander Kleinenberg and Desyn Masiello.

DJ Hype

DJ Hype originally hosted a one-hour drum and bass show every Wednesday at 2300 (later 0100) GMT on Kiss. The show features the latest promo releases and also interviews and guest mixes.

From the beginning of 2018, his show was moved to KissFresh, along with all the other specialist output. He can be heard here every Tuesday from 2100 GMT.


Between November 2000 and August 2014, DJ EZ hosted a weekly UK garage show titled "Destination Weekend" that included then current and classic tracks from the UKG scene. Between March and November 2008, he hosted a second weekly show focusing predominantly on Bassline. DJ EZ has released several compilation CDs entitled Pure Garage.

His departure was announced on his Facebook page on 4 September 2014.

Logan Sama

Logan Sama hosted a Grime show every Monday night. The show had Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Wiley, Lethal B and Roll Deep who all made several appearances. In 2014, Sama left the station to join BBC Radio 1Xtra for MistaJam's 60 Minute Mix for his show on the network.[9] Logan Sama also had a show that ran for three months on the station.[10]

Steve Smart

Steve Smart presented a weekly dance music show on 103.4 the Beach till 2001, when he joined Kiss. In the station, he still had his own weekly slot before being offered the new "Floorfillers" slot every Saturday nights from 2000–2300. He was then offered "Friday Night Kiss" 1900–2200 in 2008. His Saturday night show was extended to 0000 in early 2015.

Philip George

Philip George originally presented an hour-long house music show every Thursday from 0000 GMT. From the 2018 relaunched schedules, he was axed.


DJ S.K.T currently hosts a one-hour house, tech and bass music show right after Philip George.


Kiss 100 transmits with a power of 4 kW mixed polarisation from the Croydon transmitting station on 100.0 FM in London and the surrounding area, including the counties of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. It is interference limited to the north by Classic FM on 100.1 FM from the Sutton Coldfield transmitting station in the West Midlands, and in some areas to the east by Classic FM on 100.0 FM from the North Hessary Tor transmitting station in Devon. In parts of both the counties of Essex and Kent, both Kiss 100 and Kiss 105–108 can be received, Kiss 105–108 coming from the Mendlesham transmitting station in Suffolk on 106.4 FM.

Kiss 101 transmits with a power of 40 kW from the Mendip transmitting station in Somerset. It is the most powerful commercial FM transmitter in the UK, and as well as covering the Severn Estuary area – Cardiff, Newport, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Somerset, parts of Wiltshire – the transmitter can also be received in parts of Devon, Dorset, and on the M5 right up until the outskirts of Birmingham, where Classic FM’s transmissions on 101.1 MHz FM take over from the Holme Moss transmitting station. To protect interference to Classic FM’s South East transmitter at Wrotham on the adjacent frequency of 100.9 MHz FM, the Kiss 101 aerial system sends as little as 400 watts in areas to the east of Mendip.

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 watts, mixed polarisation, located on the concrete communications tower at Purdown, 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, and Classic FM as their Bristol repeater. 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. The Purdown transmitter receives the 101.0 FM signal from Mendip and re-transmits the audio/RDS data on 97.2 FM.

Kiss 105-108 transmits with a power of 20 kW mixed polarisation from the Mendlesham transmitting station in Suffolk, which is the main transmitter for Kiss 105–108. Mendlesham covers Norfolk, Suffolk, northern Essex, and parts of Cambridgeshire, but can also be heard in parts of Kent, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, and London. Kiss 105–108 has filler transmitters at Stoke Holy Cross, which covers Norwich, Great Yarmouth, and the Norfolk Broads on 106.1 MHZ FM , Madingley, which covers Cambridge and the surrounding area on 105.6 MHZ FM , and Gunthorpe, which covers Peterborough and the surrounding area on 107.7 MHZ FM , Due to the distance from Mendlesham, Madingley and Gunthorpe are fed directly from the Kiss studios in London, while Stoke Holy Cross receives the 106.4 FM signal from Mendlesham and re-transmits the audio/RDS data on 106.1 FM.

Norway and Finland

On 26 February 2016, Kiss was launched in Norway rebranded from The Voice Hiphop & RnB Norway and Finland.[11]

Listening live & again

KISS can be heard live worldwide on KissKube app, Kiss official website (UK postcode required if listening from other countries) and Radioplayer.

The full length of any show can be heard again an hour after it finishes on the air, available on those platforms (except Radioplayer) for seven days after it broadcast. On the Planet Radio player and KissKube app, tracklists are also available, but only for mixed shows (including Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night Kiss.) Back-to-back normal music shows do not include this.

See also


  1. Hebditch, Stephen (1991). "AM/FM – Spring 1990". TQM Communications. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008.
  2. Hartley-Brewer, Julia (18 August 1999). "Kiss DJ sacked 'for being black'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  3. "News | The Big Kiss-Off". Nme.Com. 24 January 1999. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. 1 2 "Kiss FM handed record radio fine". BBC News. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  5. Day, Julia (4 September 2006). "Kiss and shake up". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  6. Today, Radio (2010). "Kiss allowed to go national". Radio Today.
  7. Kiss appears on Digital One
  8. Today, Radio (2013). "Kiss to drop local DAB, Bauer confirms". Radio Today.
  9. "Logan Sama takes over for the Sixty Minute Mix, Jarreau Vandal World Premiere, MistaJam – BBC Radio 1Xtra". BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  10. "Logan Sama to cover Sian Anderson's 1xtra show until February | Keepin It Grimy". Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  11. "Bauer launches KISS in Norway and Finland| Radio Today". Retrieved 15 February 2016.

Further reading

  • Grant Goddard, KISS FM: From Radical Radio to Big Business, 2011 Radio Books

Coordinates: 51°30′58″N 0°08′18″W / 51.51598°N 0.13844°W / 51.51598; -0.13844

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