Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A gold bar down Bjorn’s trousers

In my earlier ‘Mannequins’ blog I wrote about the views of a 'radio advertising expert'* on the 12 'Gold' stations being changed to ‘Smooth’ by Global. He commented:

"The Smooth brand has been designed to niche target a new type of slightly older listener with refined tastes and a high disposable income"

To capture the spirit of this SMOOTH have posted a picture on their Facebook page of Abba, (in which Bjorn wears VERY tight trousers) and captioned it:

“We love looking in our ABBA archive, we've just found this - HOW tight are Bjorn’s trousers?!”

Naturally, listeners with ‘refined’ tastes have commented suitably:

“Bet when he farted he didnt hear the noise till he took them off !!”

“Looks like blood flow has been cut off to his right t*sticle.”

“Budgie smuggler alert!”

“Tight ass springs to mind!”

“about as tight as a Welshman's sheep”

Listeners with refined tastes...... ? 

Sometimes, the listeners you want.... are not the listeners you get...

And I have to point out that after the hundreds of anti-Smooth comments on FB by the ‘Goldies’ (a new group furious about Smooth taking over 12 of the ‘Gold’ AM frequencies) I don’t think it’s..... a gold bar down Bjorn’s trousers.

Monday, March 24, 2014

PART 2 : Mannequins Killed the Radio Star

My "Mannequins Killed the Radio Star" blog was the second most read of the many I've written. But in terms of response people were surprisingly mute - I fear anyone not being 'politically correct' in radio nowadays will be shunned, which as I will be 65 this year.. is fine. With huge groups controlling the UK radio industry now it's unwise for anyone who is not retired to say anything. I was told by private message:

"there were some other people who were mightily offended!"

.. so at least it IS provoking some response, and as I said you cannot change the world with 'silence'. But I can stay 'silent' now as I do not need to do more than pull-together representative comments from listeners, who fortunately are not silent. What my blog discussed partly resolved last night when a dj called Dean Martin said his goodbyes 'Gold' listeners.  Their Facebook page was inundated with hundreds of annoyed listeners. But in our new ultra-informed world they were not just annoyed with 'Gold' but with 'Global'...

Can`t believe you have taken Dean off your website already when his shows still really are the lowest of the low,and after 12 tonight even though i can i`ll never listen to any Global station again.. (expletive deleted)

More importantly... an expert on the subject also drew his conclusions over the removal of all but one dj show a day. Who better than a legendary UK radio dj who opened the original London 'Gold' to comment on Twitter:

Many years ago I opened up the daily service on Capital Gold, tonight it finishes as a proper radio station,what a tragedy.

Of course the virtual closure of 'Gold' (as the listeners see it) is purely so Global try to direct them towards 'Smooth' radio, now replete with its 'cast' of tv people acting as 'model' dj's. But how has this been received by listeners; what are their comments on Smooth's Facebook page?

Err, Global have learned a lesson from the 99% negative comments on 'Gold' and today NO post on FB from their new 'star' breakfast presenter (ex sportsman) Andrew Castle. And over on Twitter?

Introducing your new Smooth Breakfast show!

This had 3 re-tweets and 1 favourite, and terse comments such as:

Switched radio on in car on way home from work this morning and no Simon Bates???

They've done away with him! Can't bear this new man. New station for me.

And just 2 other posts from one listener, then this from Kate Garraway (who presents the show after Castle):

Loving the new sound of smooth radio this morning - hope you are too - let me know when we chat at 10!! Xx

Which raised these responses:

Missing the legendary Simon Bates. Tuned out to Magic!

That makes two of us.... now tuned into Chris Evans Radio 2

This had just 4 re-tweets and 9 favourites  (from their thirteen thousand followers...) BUT of course was seen by thousands....

Not quite the stuff of a successful transition from Simon Bates?

It ended with:

Smooth where's Simon Bates and why did no-one tell me he was going?

The new breakfast host then finally did a personal post:

Thank you....let's do it again tomorrow.

I wonder what their advertisers make of all this? For a station with such a huge number of transmitters and broadcast mediums shouldn't they be worried?

A blog* from a 'radio advertising expert' says:

"Overall, there will now be 18 Smooth stations across the UK. This includes their 6 existing FM stations and the 12 re-branded Gold AM stations.
The Smooth brand has been designed to niche target a new type of slightly older listener with refined tastes and a high disposable income."
The writer forgets that the '12 re-branded GOLD' stations were of course on the AM frequency which many of its (much) older demographic will still call 'medium wave'! People who tune-in for 50s and 60s pop, rock'n'roll, served-up with strong American accents on the station ID's are hardly the stuff of 'refined tastes' that Smooth is seeking?

Today the radio 'almightys' and Radio Academy 'lovies' are nearly all at a European Radio Conference in Dublin so I can throw-in this quote from a speaker into the (gold) melting pot:

"You have to destroy a radio station to rebuild it" says Dan Healy

Surely the trick to re-building a station such as Gold (with its lowly 2-3% Audience Reach), is not to LOSE current listeners? Many responses on 'Gold's Facebook page suggest they already  have - as noted by the'A516digital' page: 

"The changes have been viciously criticised by some listeners who have taken to the internet to protest, as it will leave them without an oldie station on the dial, while others who are in the reduced coverage area aren't happy at the loss of presented programmes on the station"

When people have 'grown up' with a station, they believe it is theirs, no one else's, as the comments from 'Gold' listeners show: 

So that's it, goodbye Gold a station I first listened to as "Supergold" 24 years ago when I was just 13. It really wasn't just "oldies" that listened to Gold, Global but your bean counters didn't tell you that. Its been great, now I am off to get the Ipod - goodbye!

And finally a comment from a young mother (of the 'refined tastes' Smooth seek) to 'Gold's most popular dj Dean Martin on his last show: 

My boy turned 8 yesterday and he loved listening to your show. I tried to get through to get a request in for him for his birthday last night but obviously everyone had the same idea. This morning I came in to his bedroom to find him crying. Crying because he loved listening to your show whilst he went to sleep and loved how you interacted with your listeners. He now wants me to find another radio station that does evening requests as he doesn't want to listen to an automated radio station. He got so upset that I got upset too 

My Conclusions: 

In 2014 the radio audience is far more aware of their choices/options than ever before, and no one can afford to throw-away faithful listeners (especially young mothers and their child...) who rightfully regard it as THEIR radio station. This is exactly the kind of topic discussed when young mothers get together or interact on social media! Not the best 'word of mouth' to have?

No one really knows WHAT will happen to Smooth and 'Gold', but looking 5 years into the future will 'everyday radio folk' see this on the Radio Today Newsletter?

"Andrew Castle and Kate Garraway will be inducted into the Radio Academy at a glossy ceremony on London"


Monday, March 17, 2014

"Mannequins Killed the Radio Star"

Radio in Britain has never before changed so swiftly as it has in the last 2 weeks. Between them Global Radio and the BBC are either turning what was once a great entertainment industry into an 'advert machine' without professional dj's, or making changes to 'balance gender' and be politically correct. 

All this goes on with very few comments from radio 'professionals', but in the case of Global's stations there is a torrent of listener voices... At Smooth and Gold out go iconic radio dj's Simon Bates, Kid Jensen, Pat Sharp, Lynn Parsons, Carlos and others, and at 'Gold' all but one of the dj's are 'let go' as it is to run continuous music (and ads) twenty hours a day! 

At Smooth, in come 3 women who have basically worked in television but who are now being marketed as 'dj's. Foolishly BBC Radio 2 started this 'fashion'/ personality led trend, and others follow, even though they don't have the BBC-sized budget to get real personalities. 

The image used for the first 'cat walk' of the new 'Smooth ladies' resembles shop window mannequins, with no allusion whatsoever to the fact they play musicWith just a little cartoonizing the image suggests 'Barbie broadcasters' ... 

BBC Radio 1 also had an 'all mannequin' weekend.. err sorry 'all female' weekend. There was a succession of rather vacuous Barbie broadcasters most of whom the listeners are unfamiliar with as they are usually confined to times of day (or night) more suiting their skills. There is more about this below.

This mis-balance towards women on radio did not cause a 'butterfly effect' in another part of the (radio) universe with a Somerset levels size inundation of male dj's. Indeed the opposite is happening. 

'Globally', the industry lost a pile of experienced males dj's when the station called 'Gold' announced that weekdays it would soon only have only ONE dj (on its breakfast show) and all the other (male) presenters were leaving! Within minutes listeners were very vocal in an almost universal (Global?) negative response to the changes. 

Hundreds of negative comments were posted on the Facebook page of first Smooth, and then 'Gold'; internet petitions started, and comments raged in many Facebook pages. What was surprising about this was that the listeners clearly felt it was THEIR station being ruined, the type of allegiance to a station we thought had died years ago.....

....clearly it lives on in the over-45s!

As well as short sharp comments there was clear focus in many, such as these about 'Gold'.

We your listeners don't seem to have any say in what we want regardless to the amount of emails sent.The DJs that have become our friends over the years have done us proud,but more they have done Gold proud and you have treated them disgustingly.Shame on you.
Like many other listeners to this great station,we cant believe that you are getting rid of 4 presenters...Disgusted isn't the word...non-stop music may work after midnight...But during the day.Well sorry to tell you.Many of your listeners will jump ship,go back to hearing mundane rubbish that's classed as music these days...Well,sorry to tell you,I`m one of them.RIP GOLD as we know it was...

Our German friends have always said there are two problems in England,class distinction and bad management.Here we have,from Global,a typical case of BAD management.They have a highly successful and very popular radio station,so decide to put it beyond the reach of most of it's loyal listeners,to encourage us to listen to Smooth.That's not encouragement,that's denying us choice.Shame on you Global for all this crap

And typical of the comments posted on the Smooth Facebook page:

Why are we suddenly being inundated with BBC rejects ??? Where are all my favourite presenters gone to - Dave Lincoln, Andy Peebles, Dave Brown ????? Also when Smooth began you would very rarely hear songs repeated but now you can hear the same song in every show  The original pleasure is going going gone

Eventually such was the venomosity towards tv presenter Kate Garraway (who replaced dj Lynn Parsons) that after Monday they stopped posting a daily 'topic' for Garraway to prevent more comments. 

Even 'soap' actress Tina Hobley who had arrived in a swathe of "from Coronation Street" publicity, received such negativity they do not post a Facebook plug for her Sunday show now. This is perhaps because anyone asking for a request during it is informed by other Facebook users that it is all 'recorded'

Radio listeners are now 'savvy' to ALL this...

Such is the strength of feeling that actual listeners (as opposed to radio anoraks or blog authors) have even found the obscure 'business' Facebook page for Global and it has had an endless stream of comments and petitions about taking off the dj's from Gold, such as:

Disgusted with you Global  well and truly, How can you treat your loyal staff this way?? All they have ever done is keep your Gold radio going and making it better as the years have past!!! How can you sleep at night, knowing you are disrupting families live's ??? You should hang your heads in shame!!! Oh and while i'm at it, you will slowly lose your Gold radio station because you need listeners don't you?? to keep a station going...................Well bye bye Gold because these changes you have taken upon yourselves is putting Gold into it grave!!!! It's gonna go down

With the hundreds of comments posted on Facebook they can afford to cancel their next few 'focus groups' !?

Of course what is ironic is that both Smooth and 'Gold' are managed by 'suits' some of whom have decades of radio experience and are members of the 'Radio Academy'. Yet members of the (so-called) academy, and nearly everyone else, turn a 'blind ear' to the ELEPHANT in the room. 

The fact is that 70% of national British commercial radio is now controlled by the programming theories and whims of very few people whose primary criteria is profit and loss, NOT what their listeners want. It's a similar scenario to the 'London v. Britain' banking situation.

Will we ever see the 'Academy' doing what any open organisation would and have a meeting with a debate between 3 of the 'Barbie broadcasters' and 3 of the redundant dj's? 

I doubt it... So those in the industry (and the many now out of work) have to just keep quiet..... and hope it might change.

It won't ~ dissent by silence has never worked

Sadly things are just as bad within the BBC.

Under ever-increasing pressure from groups such as 'Sound Women' their 'all female' weekend on Radio One ran for over 2 days.  Few had much to say.  

Sarah-Jane Crawford 'bellowed': "No sausage fest out here tonight... it's all about the xx chromosome. Hehehe" * 

Jameela Jamil : "I want to eat bacon off Jason Derulo's stomach"

Hardly liberating? And I do hope 'Lord' Tony Hall (who has pushed for 50% females on BBC Local Radio breakfast shows by this Autumn) loves this. And of course the male dj's were still being paid to take the weekend off.

But looking at the graphic below suggests that despite its attempt to be politically correct and 'gender balance' its radio stations, all the BBC has done is divide women into 2 types. Even though it IS radio, not tv, it's clear what a key criteria is for being on Radio 1 (I say 'being' it's hardly work) ....

Worryingly, the invasion of newly-trained women (or those already there being pushed up the ladder) on BBC Local radio is costing the licence payer even more as they cannot sack the male presenters (some are moved to sport or news). And the almost inevitable 'maternity leave' means the BBC will also have to financially cover more of this - and presumably pay some of the cast-aside male presenters to do the shows? 

The BBC seems to ignore the fact that radio is inevitably a 'career' and building a following is an on-going job. If the broadcaster has  2 or 3 'maternity leaves' in just a few years the listener soon forgets about them.

In 2014 the new 'broadcast barbies' and 'BBC Local Radio women' will increase in number, and Radio 1 will start planning their next 'all women' day. And sadly, in an industry that has lost all its imagination, by 2015 a crop of 'women's days' will doubtless appear all over British radio?  The 'baby elephant' in the room, will growandgrow, whilst the 'suits' will let perfectly good professional dj's and presenters 'wither on the vine'.

Of course, unlike the BBC, Global can perhaps be partly forgiven for this cavalcade of changes as their radio output is partly linked to their financial income.  Lord Allen, the Global Radio 'chairman' (as the Independent's journalist Chris Blackhurst calls him) wisely points out** that:

"BBC Radio 1, 2 and 3 have a combined content budget of £123.6m

 ...and Capital, which is up against Radio 1

...Heart, which is against Radio 2,

...and Classic, which takes on Radio 3....

... have a combined content budget of £19m"

With £104.6 million MORE... the BBC has no such excuse......

The British Radio Industry is losing many of the very talented people who have been the fabric of radio for the last 10, 20 even 30 years, and no one seems to be defending them!  This is why I was surprised by a recent blog*** by 'guru' David Lloyd. 

To sum it up he argued at length that radio is 'better' now. I find it surprising that the man who created the popular 'radio moments' truly believes this. He concluded:

"I have a feeling that the restructuring of radio is now approaching completion; and the medium is finding its place in a different world.  Different sorts of people will be involved.  Radio can be a curated background blend of your favourite songs, or it can create a ripple of dialogue which can continue in many places, not just on the air.  Another golden age of radio is beginning."

If by "different sorts of people will be involved" ....he meant more women, he's right

If  "radio can be a curated background blend of your favourite songs" meant no dj's for 20 hours a day, he's right

If  "a ripple of dialogue which can continue in many places" referred to London's LBC dressing itself up (mannequin style) as a national talk station, he's right

But as regards "Another golden age of radio is beginning", sorry David,  tv presenters, and women with just a few months hurried training (be it by the BBC or a commercial group) will NOT make another 'golden age of radio'. 

THE 'golden age' of radio in the UK was created by people who had natural talent, who loved music, loved radio, and had the voice and personality to share their 'radio selves' with the audience. Because of that the audience loved them, and 'stuck' with them. 

I firmly believe that the gift of being a great broadcaster is a natural one. You cannot teach more women to paint pictures just because you want more female artists ~ you'll end up with some very average paintings ~ and I'm sure we ALL know good radio is about 'pictures in the mind'.

With its huge budget the BBC can afford to do exactly what pressure groups dictate, and it seems the currently prevalent forces in commercial radio will blatantly copy it, though on (relatively) tiny budgets...  

"Mannequins HAVE Killed the Radio Star"



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dear BBC - I'm typing as fast as I can....

I was going to call this blog "DouBBCle Standards" when I started it yesterday, but the BBC faux pas are coming at us so fast I've had to re-name it and ..... type as fast as I can to get it on today! 

Firstly, I ask "How MANY  acts of (alleged) bullying does it take for the BBC to act on them?"

‘Thirty’ ... or ‘Several’ ??


(The Independent 24 January 2014)

Rod McKenzie: “complaints by more than THIRTY current and former members of staff. A dossier of statements from 17 serving and former members of the BBC’s Newsbeat, describes a “climate of paranoia and fear” in which they worked under an editor who has been moved following a year-long inquiry into bullying and harassment across the BBC.Rod McKenzie has been given a final written warning and moved to another role outside of the BBC network news following complaints by more than THIRTY current and former members of staff. 

Throughout the disciplinary process Mr McKenzie has disputed the claims against him, and has since pointed out that some of the claims were not upheld. Statements seen by this newspaper detail alarming levels of distress experienced by young BBC journalists who are required to produce news for Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s audience of 16-29 year old listeners.”


BBC News website 5 March 2014

Mark Lawson:  BBC arts presenter “is to leave Radio 4's ‘Front Row’ after 16 years, it has been announced. ‘For personal reasons I shall be taking a break from live daily radio journalism’ he said in a statement.  The broadcaster's departure follows allegations of bullying among SEVERAL staff in the BBC Radio Arts Unit.” 

I know nothing more than is stated/alleged, but I do wonder how many MORE than THIRTY it might take for the BBC to actually SACK someone? I also wonder if Mark Lawson is maybe 'ticked-off' that he only had 'several' but is treated this way?

But all of this pales into insignificance compared to that heard on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, as aptly recorded and visualised on YouTube:

Anyone who has actually worked in radio might find the official BBC statement rather too 'fantastic' to believe.

"There was a technical mistake where sound effects being prepared in another studio for an unrelated item were accidentally broadcast over the news bulletin"

Given that sound fx have not been broadcast over their news in living memory, do they truly think anyone believes this given that the fx matched perfectly the dialogue of the Pistorius story? Of course I'm sure no one thinks it was rowdy young journalists larking around in the next studio as the bulletin went out, not realising it had an 'open mic'?

If the sound fx were being made for an 'unrelated item' the BBC would have said what it WAS for? Unless they work a VERY long way ahead for making sound fx for Halloween.... I have no idea what 'unrelated item' they would fit...

So, BBC Coventry /Warwickshire, is it for Halloween?

Of course there is the fact that now rather than being one of the worst-performing BBC Local stations, at least people know it exists.  Now where was it as regards 'average hours per listener' in the official Rajar audience figures in September 2013? 

You find it!

Sorry, that was naughty; BBC Coventry /Warwickshire had just 8.6 hours so did not even get into the 'top 20', and an equally poor 15% weekly reach. 

This leads me to ask WHY the BBC continue with very brittle, speech-led local breakfast programming when it clearly does not work in many areas? 

There is also the factor that 'Lord' Tony, the BBC DG wants '50% female co-presenters on BBC local radio breakfast shows by this autumn', as widely reported last year. At a time the BBC needs severe financial stringency they are responding to feminist pressure groups and promoting inexperienced  or newly trained (in a hurry) staff onto what should be their main show of the day. 

(In MY 40 years radio experience
 good broadcasters are never 'trained' they are born...)

All the above is purely to be SEEN to be politically correct to the feminists!

The only glimmer of hope in this awful management/ politically correct mess is that the BBC Local stations are showing some signs of change by employing REAL broadcasters such as James Whale on BBC Essex. With 40 years experience, he cut his 'radio teeth' in the north-east for decades and was also very successful on London's LBC. Similarly, ex-commercial radio dj's are used on weekends or late nights on some stations. But they would be far better (mature) candidates for the breakfast shows, or the afternoon show on BBC Coventry /Warwickshire!

Instead, BBC Local radio blunders on blindly with 'university type' staff, several decades younger and out of touch with their ageing audience, playing music often issued before they went to school.

SOLUTION: just close down the FIVE least successful BBC Local radio stations, and put the next lowest 5 'on notice'. It will save building rental, reduce pension and wage costs.

And of course, get some MATURE presenters and journalists.

If I can't convince the BBC, just dig out the report John Myers did on BBC Local radio. You paid for it, so READ it !

Postscript: I was delighted when 2 hours after I posted this it was 'favourited' on Twitter by BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine, and I had a supportive email from a BBC Local Radio editor - thank you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Radio Pancake

I just had memories come flooding back of Pancake Day 33 years ago at Radio Trent in Nottingham. 

Our librarian Jane Morrell and the engineer's secretary Alyson Brown would go into the 'Trent kitchen' about 10.30am, and start to prepare real pancakes for everyone

At that time Radio Trent had about 55 staff so this was a big job, and they'd serve from mid-day. 

It became a tradition that first pancakes went to our MD Ron Coles, and then I'd dash up after my 9-12 show to get mine! In would pile the 10 sales staff, 2 or 3 engineers, receptionists, maybe an off-duty security man, our delightful secretaries (including mine the much-loved Jean Hook and Ron's 'rock' Shelley), that day's news staff, say five, a sport's reporter, 3 or 4 from the accounts department, and the team from 'traffic' (who produced the advertising logs completely manually)

And of course, most of the dj's - Tony Lyman, John Peters, Dale Winton, Viv Evans, Steve Merike, Peter Tait, Graham Knight, Guy Morris, Pete Wagstaff, and a still young David Lloyd who had joined us in 1980. And Programme Controller Chris Hughes would dash-in for a pancake between cigarettes in the car park!

Local commercial radio was somewhat more relaxed then; no 'brands', just a great team.

I cannot recall when the Pancake tradition died-out. As dj's 'moved on' to our stations in Leicester or Derby, or joined other stations things did start to change. In came computers, so less staff were needed - people left, but I think the Pancake tradition made it into the 1990s? 

Jane & I were still in the library doing the playlist each week, but I think were too busy by then for such frivolity, as we were doing the music for the Midland's Radio eastern stations in Leicester and Derby as well as Nottingham, plus of course GEM-AM had been born in 1988. By 1994 Jane and I had been 'together' 16 years doing the playlists (a GREAT job) and joked we saw more of each other than our partners...  

I wonder how many people work on the regional service that replaced Radio Trent, and if they have their own "Jane & Alyson"? Somehow, I doubt if they need to make many pancakes...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Some 'sisters' are NOT doing it for themselves + radio wages!!

For 2 years the BBC has pandered to feminist pressure-groups (in fact holds events for them) has been overly politically correct, and recently 'Lord Tony' decreed he wanted 50% Women presenters on BBC Local Radio breakfast shows by 'Autumn 2014'. 

Now, Gillian Reynolds, the most revered and honoured woman in UK radio, 'tells it like it is'!  It seems some 'sisters' are not 'doing it for themselves' or for Ms Reynolds, or indeed the listeners.

"Radio 2’s Sunday nights changed, Shennan says from necessity, I think for the worse. Clare Teal is a good singer. As host of a new two-hour show she’s embarrassing."*

"Shennan made a star signing this year in Clare Balding,... Good Morning Sunday, once a religious programme, was recalibrated for her, becoming “spiritually inclined”. Balding’s undoubted gifts are not shown to advantage here."*


It's time to FORGET quotas, and political correctness, and let there be a more natural balance in male/female radio presenters based on native ability!

More seriously in unnaturally, speedily, elevating women into radio, presumably the BBC will be paying them equal wages to their male counterparts, even though they are much newer to the role and got it by 'feminist default'?! 

Lord Tony?

I ask as I've recently become familiar with what seems to me to be a huge disparity with what BBC Local Radio pays for shows, and the equivalent in commercial (branded) radio. As far back as 1997 some BBC local stations were paying freelance presenters more than £20,000 a year just to present weekend shows! This was at the time some young, spotty hopefuls in (what was) ILR were being given £10 or £20 a shift on long overnights, before voice-tracking took over of course.... :-(

Goodness knows what some of the BBC Local staff must be getting 17 years later? 

Can anyone no longer enamoured with the secretive BBC system enlighten me further on BBC Local wages, past and present

Given the rapidly shrinking (in Rajar) and dying audience for many BBC Locals (some get less than 1 hour and 20 mins a day per listener) these shows are very expensive per head of audience!

And of course, I'd also love to find out which ILR over-nighters were paid the lowest wage between 1997 and now!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Young listeners ARE deserting music radio!

Yet another round of Rajar audience figures are manipulated and hyped, and the stations and media agencies are proclaiming how well syndicated commercial radio is doing, to tie-in of course with '40 years of commercial radio'.

But, take a look at the whole long-term picture. 

Graphs from MediaUK* basically show that by aiming only at under 30s stations such as (for example) Capital's flagship one in London, have lost 50-60% of their 'listening hours' in less than 10 years.

No amount of massaging the figures can hide what the second graph 'hours per listener' shows. It's how long people tune-in and stay listening. This is

"useful to know if the audience likes what they hear, or the consistency of the station sound"*. 

It shows the average Capital London listener 'hears' only 4.5 hours of the station in SEVEN days - it used to be 10 ! I'm amazed that any advertising agency would recommend using any station with such figures - what chance do you have of them actually hearing your ad!?

Of course no amount of poor figures, or the fact BBC Radio 2 is light years ahead in audience size, will change the 'system'. But the most important fact it shows is that stations such as Capital are of little use to the young audience seeking new music or a varied musical diet. 

Ofcom and the government should ask if it's really healthy for the UK music industry to be 'led by the nose' by syndicated stations that narrow-cast tiny playlists indistinguishable from those in radio around the world? In a country that is fast losing any local identity, there is nowhere left in commercial radio for the next generation of musicians and song-writers to go....... and it's their music that British radio needs to survive.