Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Capital - No longer Mullered!

The news of the departure of Programme Director of Capital 95.8 - Scott Muller – wasn’t exactly unexpected when it reached me today. Not because I had any inside information. Far from it. But the significant changes made by new MD Paul Jackson less then a fortnight ago only signalled one thing. The clock was ticking on Mr Muller’s reign. It was a pretty safe bet!

Having once sat in the (now seemingly vacant) hot seat of Capital PD, and been ushered to exit stage left slightly prematurely (in my opinion!), I’m sure Scott feels that his tenure was also cut slightly short. We’ll never get the opportunity to find out if his particular vision to move Capital to a more CHR sound aiming at 15-30 year old Londoners, will have won the day.

It seems a genuine shame that the person who was described in the GCap 2006 Annual Report (and named, several times no less!) as “… a world class programmer with the specific skills and experience to help us take the station to the next level” is no longer deemed appropriate to continue in that role.

What does today’s announcement tell us? That he didn’t succeed? That he’d reached the next level – job done? Not really. I think Scott did a pretty good job with the sound of Capital. As a 15-30 year old station, it’s quite well placed. Whether the strategy was right in the first place, and whether the “2 ads in a row” policy can be called a success is another question for other to judge! But the station still isn't back at number 1.

What this whole affair should really remind us of, is the fickle nature of the radio business generally and the pressure to succeed at the top. The “saviour” of a station one moment, can be the person moved on to do “special projects” the next. A reflection of their limited ability and poor recruitment? Or an indication that whoever "holds the wheel" at any given moment can change direction (and first officer!) to suit their own agenda? Take your pick!

With the wonderful Annie O' Neill appointed as Programme Manager, the hugely talented Sheena Mason continuing as Head of Music, and MD Paul Jackson having his hands firmly on the levers of programming, perhaps this combination will provide Capital with some much needed stability. Let’s hope the revolving door has now come to a halt.

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