The best bits from Virgin Radio in 2020

The Virgin Radio Lebanon studio
Virgin Radio
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
31 December 2020

2020 is the year no-one will forget. Through it all, Virgin Radio has been on air around the world, adding a touch of sparkle to our collective isolation. And these are its stand-out moments of 2020.

The legendary Graham Norton joins Virgin Radio UK

Graham Norton is a national treasure in the UK and, this year, he announced he’ll be joining the Virgin family. And if you’re hoping next year will be a whole lot brighter, rest easy knowing Graham’s new weekend show will launch in 2021.

“Graham Norton is one of very few truly unique talents in broadcasting,” Mike Cass, Virgin Radio UK content director, said. “I’m delighted to be welcoming him to the Virgin Radio family in the new year. He’ll be bringing double the wit, double the banter and double the love across Saturday and Sunday.”

Double banter sounds good to us. We can’t wait.

Graham Norton
Virgin Radio

Manu Payet back on the air at Virgin Radio France

Manu Payet is a big star in France so we’re excited to welcome him into the Virgin family this year too. Originally from the Island of Reunion, he began his career as a radio host before leaving radio to pursue a career as a comedian, actor and musician. But now he’s back on the airwaves. 

“Manu’s big comeback was eagerly awaited, and I am very happy that it was with Virgin Radio,” Frederic Pau, programme director for Virgin Radio France, said. “Even today, many radio hosts are inspired by him, he is loved and recognised by everyone – listeners, artists and the media.”

Join Manu weekdays on Virgin Radio France from 7am to 10am.

Manu Payet
Virgin Radio

Launching Virgin Radio Windsor

Virgin Radio in Canada got even bigger this year with a brand new station. The 12th Canadian station started broadcasting in Windsor, a city near the US border.

“The Virgin Radio brand continues to be the dominant youth brand across Canada,” Rob Farina, head of radio content for Bell Media, said. “We are royally thrilled to bring the Virgin Radio experience to Windsor, Ontario.”

Virgin Radio can now be heard in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Kelowna, Kitchener, London, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor and Winnipeg.

Virgin Radio
Virgin Radio

Reaching more listeners in Turkey

Virgin Radio Turkey has become the go-to station for a mix of global pop hits and Turkish rap, R&B and hip hop. It’s increased its listeners to 955,000 from just 100,000 at the beginning of last year.

“Despite the difficulties we have been facing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a great period for Virgin Radio Turkey,” Burak Can, chief operating officer, said. “In January 2019 we started an exciting journey by revamping the music format and built all of our brand strategy around this format. Since then, our ratings continue to increase and now we are ranked amongst the top 10 most listened to stations in Turkey.”

The Virgin Radio Turkey team
Virgin Radio

Virgin Radio Lebanon’s resilience

All of Virgin Radio’s stations worldwide have had to deal with some level of adversity this year, but none more so than Virgin Radio Lebanon. In August an explosion destroyed a quarter of Beirut City, killing more than 200 people and leaving thousands with injuries. The blast damaged the station’s studios but the team worked tirelessly to stay on air regardless. They have also been helping their local communities and fundraising for local charities.

The Virgin Radio Lebanon studio
Virgin Radio

“What the Lebanese had to go through in 2020 is beyond words, but we are known for our resilience and we will push through. At Virgin Radio Lebanon and Virgin Radio Stars Lebanon, we found ourselves in a position of responsibility, to help people in need,” said Najy Cherabieh, general manager of Virgin Radio Lebanon. “We dedicated both Radio Stations to the community throughout 2020 and will continue to do so into 2021. Everyone at Virgin Radio Lebanon and Virgin Radio Stars Lebanon, a true family, has played an incredible part in keeping the stations on air, continuing with live shows and supporting people in need, local businesses and even local talents.

“We are hoping that the worst is behind us, and 2021 is a better year for all of us. And, although it is still extremely an extremely difficult situation in the country, the positive energy continues and the reward of helping out is reflecting back onto everyone.”

Tune in to Virgin Radio around the world.