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"


1 comment:

  1. Wow !, I'm really glad I read your blog now. I loved Gold radio's old format with it's "live" DJ's, with Dean Martin being my particular favourite with his very personal, humble and honest touch, he was excellent.
    Gold has lost it's soul and the know it all executives, if they aren't too careful, their legion of loyal listeners.