Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Forget about Brands - increase the use of Passion

I came across a Blog * by a young 'radio man' afflicted with the jargon and 'branding' the radio world is far too full of now, and felt I had to balance this :

'Let me try', said Youth. 'No, best go on as we are' said Age..

I've read through your article several times, and apart from it being far too long, you are wrong in your crass simplification of the 'three ages of ILR'.
Your comment on the years 1992-2002, "Some may call it uninspiring, but the explosion of research-led programming meant that ILR played the right kind of music – in decent quality – FM! (and generally) told the DJ to STFU" is a gross generalisation.
I  programmed the music on the East Midland's from 1978 to 1994 and we had reaches of 28-34% on FM, and 23-24% on AM so we HAD BEEN playing 'the right kind of music" for SIXTEEN years! The reason research was brought in was because the financially motivated companies who bought-up decent radio stations, such as the Midlands Radio ones, had no STAFF able to sensitively select the right music for each local AREA. (When we were taken over my immediate 'superior' was a former sport's journalist who had never programmed music, but had produced one of the worst jingle packages I'd ever heard). So, they just blandified the music (using consultants and research), stopped using jingles (saving!!) they cut back to the AWFUL short, repetitive playlists that STILL dominate - hence the explosion in YouTube music listening, and on-line stations where you can get something fresh (if old..)
Looking at your photograph I suspect you were still at school in 1973, and the early years of ILR, so your opinion is learnt from READING about it, not being part of the industry...  Your comment "For the vast majority of ILR stations that haven’t re-branded, their 2011 product is the same as their 1994 one. But, amazingly, probably less tight and focused"...
….leads me to say HURRAH!
THAT is why it's sad BRMB et al have been re-branded - to many 'radio people' what Orion was doing was the equivalent of being the 'good son' in a troubled, financially motivated family, you’d never invite round for dinner.
I won't carry on at great length as you have done, but suffice to say your opinions are extreme, and your perception of the evolution of ILR far too generalised..
You wrote: “The main reason that BRMB, Beacon, Wyvern and Mercia need to change is their audience figures”, yet they are all between 17% and 23% reach and Capital London (a station you clearly admire) has 20%, so that is NOT the reason.
You used the word 'brand' in various ways, 12 times, so clearly you do understand the MONEY side of radio. But you only used the word 'passion' ONCE... and PASSION is what radio ultimately HAS to be about - passion about the music, the presenters, the locality and, yes, the jingles...
If you really LOVE radio (and maybe you do despite this piece) I'd advise you forget about 'brands' and increase the use of 'passion...'


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