Welcome to Kiss 102 - Manchester's Essential Rhythm
The station went on air on 16th October 1994 from studios in Portland Street in centre of the city. The licence win was spearheaded by Eugene Perera's Level Broadcast and included shareholders UKRD, Eastern Counties Newspaper Group and 3i. The format was the brainchild of two highly experienced UK radio programmers - Managing Director, Guy Hornsby and Programme Director, Mike Gray who first worked together at the original BBC Radio London where they produced the station's highest profile presenters Tony Blackburn and Robbie Vincent.
Kiss 102 won awards for its coverage of social issues and is acknowledged by writers like Dave Haslam and commentators such as Tony Wilson as helping to prolong and grow dance music in Manchester. The station achieved a 10 per cent reach at its height (RAJAR, Q2, 1997), with a fantastic opening line-up of presenters including David Dunne, Graham Park, Grainne Landowski, Gary Burton, Matt Thompson and Paul Webster.
Unusually for a small UK radio station aimed at the youth market, it had a dedicated news service (at one point providing a news-reading service to its sister station in London Kiss 100), a nightly entertainment magazine sponsored by The Guardian, and was noted by Independent Radio News for its coverage of the 1996 Provisional Irish Republican Army bombing of the city and also for its policy of linking sport and music for example with the Manchester United Red Cafe and the Manchester Giants shows. It was also noteworthy for its policy of social integration, led by the influence of the club scene which brought about sponsorship of such events as the Manchester Mardi Gras during its years of greatest expansion. In common with other specialist music stations it handed over many hours of output to club DJs, artists and music producers who had little or no experience of radio presentation leading to ground-breaking if at times anarchic entertainment from groups like Fat City Records, Autechre and 808 State.
Kiss 102 was the first commercial radio station in the UK to have a website - Click here to see what it was like in 1997, just after the company won a second radio licence Kiss 105 for Yorkshire and the East Coast. The new station launched on 14 February 1998.