Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Prepare to Meet Jack

The countdown is on... The clock is ticking... It's not long now... The wait is finally over... T minus 10 seconds to launch... Prepare for takeoff... (Insert your own cliché here!)

The first JACK-FM outside North America is launching this week in the most English of English cities... Oxford! How will one of the biggest format success stories in the last few years from the US translate the UK?

Well - we know that it will be different for a start. The North American JACK's are mostly music intensive, no-DJ environments. In the UK, JACK-FM will have a good old 'Breakfast Show' and a 'Drivetime' moment, both hosted by real people... and not just the 'voice of Jack'. (Trevor Marshall, who is one of the hosts of mornings is an excellent broadcaster and will bring a certain class to the show without a doubt).

But 'JACK-FM Oxfordshire' will be different in the way that it approaches the challenge that many commercial radio stations in the UK have, that is how to break the pattern of predictability and cycle of monotony that tightly formatted stations bring?

The 'extreme variety' position that JACK has grown famous for in many US and Canadian markets will now be unleashed on the good folk of Oxfordshire. We can expect car crash segues from artists as varied as The Police, Bananrama, Leo Sayer, Carl Douglas, Roxette, Depeche Mode, Steely Dan and David Bowie.

Hang on a minute... that sounds like something the BBC would do!

And that's the point. I believe that JACK-FM will offer a viable alternative to Radio 2 and BBC Radio Oxford and provide a section of older adults, mainly 40+, with a "commercial radio station that doesn't sound like a commercial radio station". I'm sure that Fox FM (the heritage commercial station in the market) will not be welcoming this new entrant to the rather uncompetitive Oxfordshire marketplace, as inevitably JACK will pull from some of the older end that's been holding up their cume for all those years. But even the guys at Fox should welcome a station that will challenge the BBC in a smarter way.

A morning show that will have a 50/50 speech and music balance and packed with local content will inevitably appeal to some of BBC Oxford's 100,000 weekly listeners, and hourly news bulletins will satisfy the demand for information throughout the day.

The Year 1 audience projections are around a 55,000 Reach with a Market Share 5.4%. I'm confident they can achieve that given the strength of the proposition and format, the charisma of the brand, and the expertise of the operators.

Good luck Jack!

And to get you all in the mood, here's a fun TV spot from JACK-FM in Toronto...

No comments: