Smooth Chill (UK radio station)

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Smooth Chill
Chill radio logo.png
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
SloganMusic to chill to
  • Ambient
  • Chill-out
NetworkSmooth Radio network
First air date
21 February 2005 (2005-02-21)
WebcastGlobal Player Edit this at Wikidata

Smooth Chill (formerly Chill) is a British digital radio station dedicated to chill out, ambient and trip hop music. On 3 September 2019, Chill was rebranded as Smooth Chill to extend the Smooth Radio brand. It is owned and operated by Global

Originally, the station broadcast solely online and in Greater London as well as on Radioplayer and Global's own Global Player, but was made available nationally on Digital One on 9 April 2020.[1]

The station[edit]

Originally, the station broadcast on DAB multiplexes across the UK and also through internet streaming services. The station's aim was to help listeners relax and put stress behind themselves. It broadcast 24 hours a day and until September 2019 featured no news bulletins or commercials with only some sponsored programming. Chill originally had no presenters, interspersing tracks with pre-recorded links featuring messages voiced by Davinia Palmer that reinforced the laidback atmosphere of the station. One of these memorably described the station as "T'ai chi for your ears". The station encourages interaction with its listeners, who suggest new songs and artists for the playlist, as well as relaxation techniques, via the Chill website and social media.

Global announced on 2 September 2019 that Chill would be replaced with a new station, Smooth Chill.[2]


The station was launched in early 2005 although it's argued Chill went live as early as December 2004, as a means of filling empty slots on DAB multiplexes owned by GWR prior to its merger with Capital Radio. Group Corporate Development Director Gregory Watson and Programme Director Bern Leckie devised a format for a relaxing, ambient station, aimed at 18- to 35-year-olds.

On the station website, the founders claim, "We used to make compilation tapes for ourselves and friends to chill out to. That's where the idea for our station came from, and we make it the same way we made the tapes - listening to lots of music, swapping ideas, seeing what happens."[3]

In June 2006, Chill bid for its first analogue licence, for Bristol, citing the city's record in producing trip-hop artists such as Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky in support of its application. However, in September 2006, Ofcom awarded the licence to Canwest and its Original 106 format. It is not currently known if Global Radio will bid for any more analogue licences with the Chill format.

In August 2006, the station launched its first regular programmes on weekday evenings, "The Garden of Delights", presented by Pete Lawrence and "The Deep End", presented by Paul Noble, two of the organisers of The Big Chill festival. It also introduced a nightly programme made up of listener requests, and inherited the Chiller Cabinet sequence from its sister station Classic FM, which plays "ambient soundscapes, movie soundtracks and classically inspired chillout music".

Late in 2006, Chill upgraded from a 32 kbit/s internet stream to a 128 kbit/s stream, offering internet listeners the same quality as the cable and satellite viewers.

The station stopped being broadcast on Sky and Virgin Media on 3 July 2007,[4] with other GCap stations Capital Disney, Core and Classic Gold Digital Network. It is speculated that this is connected with cost-cutting measures under previous owners GCap.[citation needed] In November 2008, Chill reappeared on Sky and Virgin Media, following the closure of jazz radio station TheJazz, using its old channel numbers on Sky and Virgin Media.

In March 2009, Chill ceased to broadcast in Leicester, Nottingham and west Wiltshire due to competition regulator compliance following the takeover of GCapMedia by Global Radio.[5]

In July 2009, Global Radio announced that Chill would lose many of its DAB slots on numerous local DAB ensembles across the UK to allow for an expansion of the Galaxy network, but would still broadcast in London, some parts of the West Midlands and central Scotland. A spokesman indicated that this move was also financially led.[6]

It was announced on 28 August 2009 that Chill Radio would be replaced in Edinburgh and Glasgow by LBC Radio.[7]

On 20 October 2009, it was announced by Bern Leckie[8] that Chill Radio has moved from stereo to mono output on DAB Radio in the London area. However the range in which Chill can be heard has slightly extended to an extra 20 miles or so from London.

Rajar figures for the third quarter of 2009 showed an increase of weekly listeners by 9,000, bringing total listenership to 209,000.[9] In March 2012 it attracted 229,000 listeners per week.[10]

On 15 July 2010, Chill ceased broadcasting on Virgin Media channel 961. On 8 June 2012, Chill ceased broadcasting on the Birmingham multiplex, leaving London as the only area where the station broadcasts on DAB Digital Radio. On 24 August 2012, Chill ceased broadcasting on Sky channel 0177.

In September 2014, TuneIn Radio announced that Chill Radio had received the 100k 'follower' mark, one of the most listened-to UK and worldwide stations, via its various apps and websites.

In September 2015, Global Radio confirmed that Chill would return to DAB in Nottingham and Leicester, replacing XFM. This is because XFM would be re-branding, and launching nationally on Digital One.[11] Since its return to DAB in Nottingham and Leicester, Chill can also be heard on DAB in Derby.

Global announced on 2 September 2019 the station would be replaced with a new station, Smooth Chill.[2]

The station re-launched nationally on 8 April 2020 on Digital One broadcasting in 32kbps DAB+.[1]


The Chill playlist was largely drawn from the mainstream end of chill out and ambient music, mixed with downtempo rock, vocal jazz and lounge tracks, film scores and the occasional classical piece.


A notable programme was The Chiller Cabinet - from Arctic Circle Radio

DAB multiplexes[edit]

  • Chill broadcast on DAB using the London 1, Leicester and Nottingham multiplexes.[12]

Former multiplexes[edit]

Chill closed in March 2009 due to Office of Fair Trading ruling on the merger of GCap and Global Radio:

Chill closed from August 2009 on these multiplexes:[6][13]

Replaced with Galaxy:

Taken off air:

Replaced with LBC:

Closed on the following multiplex in June 2012:


  1. ^ a b "Smooth Chill goes national on DAB digital radio". RadioToday. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Smooth Radio launch two new radio stations: Smooth Country and Smooth Chill". Smooth. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  3. ^ "What we do ◊ Chilled Music ♬ Chill". Archived from the original on 21 October 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  4. ^ "GCap feels digital radio heat as Chill leaves Sky platform - Media news". Media Week<. 8 January 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Myspace". 16 July 2013. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Chill disappears from DAB". 30 July 2009. Archived from the original on 5 August 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Radio Broadcast Update August 2009". Ofcom. 28 August 2009. Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  8. ^ Retrieved 23 October 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  9. ^ "". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Chill: audience figures". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Gold to replace XFM on local DAB multiplexes".
  12. ^ "Stations". Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  13. ^ "Radio Broadcast Update August 2009". Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 2009-08-28.

External links[edit]