The station launched as Southern Sound from the converted Rothbury Cinema in Franklin Road, Portslade. Under the leadership of managing director Keith Belcher and programme director Rory Macleod, early presenters included Sean Bolger, Louis Robinson, Stewart Macintosh, Vince Geddes, John Mann, Russ Williams and Becky Manesseh. The head of news at launch was Paul Woodley with a reporting team including Andy Steggall, Sue Trimingham, Sue Maskell, John Worthington, Andrew Winter and Cornelius Lysaght.
Tommy Boyd joined the station, initially as a fill-in for Timbo (Tim Lloyd) and was subsequently hired to present a regular Sunday evening show with a team of assistants including Nicky Keig-Shevlin, Steve Lawrence, Cathy and Mary.
At the launch of the station, Southern Sound broadcast only to Brighton and parts of West Sussex. In 1987, transmissions were extended to Lewes, Newhaven and Seaford. Then on 5 February 1989 the station won a new licence for East Sussex too. Initially running split programming for East and West Sussex, the station now only splits for commercial breaks.
In 1994 the Radio Authority merged the two licences to become one official ILR licence.
The station broadcasts to the following areas:
- Analogue VHF FM
- DAB Digital Radio: Block 11B 218.64 MHz
- Worthing (Findon Transmitter)
- Newhaven (Beddingham Transmitter)
- Hastings (Hastings Transmitter)
- Eastbourne (Eastbourne Transmitter)
- Chichester (Burton Down Transmitter)
- Brighton (Whitehawk Hill Transmitter)
- Heart Sussex for Crawley & Surrey broadcast to the following areas on FM:
- 102.7 MHz - Reigate Transmitter
- 97.5 MHz (around Horsham)
Since Heart and Mercury FM merged. Heart Sussex has taken over Mercury's frequencies, on both the Reigate and Horsham transmitters.
Read more about this topic: Heart Sussex
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