Media: Lifeline - Heart 106.2

In a decade in the London market, Heart has topped the audience table but has now fallen back.

1995: Chrysalis rebrands its London station Crystal FM as 106.2 Heart FM, as part of a move to build a network of stations under the Heart brand. Phil Riley (pictured), the station boss, is Heart's director, with Keith Pringle, the former Capital producer, its programme director.

1997: As Heart 106.2 unveils a new logo (a heart-shaped car aerial made out of a coat hanger), the station announces that it intends to occupy a more confident, less bland positioning, serving 25- to 44-year-olds still keen on clubbing and the music scene. An ad campaign courtesy of Leo Burnett also signals its determination to take on competitors more aggressively.

1999: Chrysalis tries to prove no publicity is bad publicity by sacking its breakfast-show co-presenter Kara Noble for selling topless pictures of the Countess of Wessex (taken when the then Sophie Rhys-Jones was on a trip with Chris Tarrant, Noble's former colleague at Capital) to The Sun. The station gets front-page coverage for days.

2003: Although the music policy and targeting has meandered somewhat, Heart 106.2 begins to make real progress by focusing on women aged 25 to 44 and broadcasting an adult contemporary playlist. In October, it makes history by becoming the first commercial station to overtake Capital's audience in the London market.

2005: Heart celebrates its tenth anniversary in uncertain mood. Having slipped behind Capital in 2004, it replaces its star breakfast presenter Jono Coleman with Jamie Theakston. But with Theakston yet to prove himself, Heart slips behind Capital and Emap's Magic.

Fast forward ...

2006: Frustration dogs the beginning of Heart's second decade in London. It succeeds in overtaking Capital once again, but remains in second place with Magic claiming the top slot for the first time. As Capital makes a shock move to hire Coleman, Heart contemplates taking on the displaced Capital breakfast presenter, Johnny Vaughan.

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