A POPULAR Bury and Bolton radio station is to be shut down.

Tower FM is to cease independent broadcasting and be integrated into the UK's largest commercial radio network.

The station will be rebranded as Greatest Hits Radio as it joins the Hits Radio Brand Network.

The move could put jobs under threat at the station, which has served the region for over 20 years.

Several other Greater Manchester and Cheshire broadcasters will also be absorbed in the merger ­— including Wire FM, Wish FM and Signal 2.

It comes after Tower FM was acquired by the German multimedia conglomerate Bauer Media last year.

Bury Times:

Dee Ford, group managing director of radio at Bauer Radio, said: “Audiences love and trust radio. Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world.

"This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”

As Greatest Hits Radio the former Tower FM station will now play hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as regional drive time and networked breakfast shows.

It will also provide local content alongside broadcasts from national presenters, Bauer Media said.

Where possible, stations previously only accessible via FM or AM radio will be made accessible by DAB digital radio, the firm added.

This is in a bid to boost "extended coverage for audiences".

However Bauer Media has admitted some jobs at former stations could be under threat and will be put to consultation.

Freelance contracts will also be reviewed.

In a statement, Bauer Media said it is "fully committed to supporting all affected employees throughout this period and will be working closely with them over the months ahead".

Graham Bryce, group managing director at Hits Radio Network Brand, added: “We are committed to ensuring the future of radio in local markets and serving the needs of our listeners and advertisers.

"However, our top priority right now will be to support those affected through this period.”

Tower FM was launched in March 1999 and is named after the iconic Peel and Turton Towers in Bury and Bolton.

Although it was mainly targeted at listeners in these two towns, the station gained popularity around the region.

Over the years it has been sold twice.

New owner Bauer Media is one of Europe’s leading digital commercial broadcasters.

Its operations span seven countries - the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland and Slovakia ­— and includes brand such as KISS, Mix Megapol, Absolute Radio and Radio Norge.