Thursday, 10 January 2008

Star Signing

Hardly a week goes past at the moment without something exciting happening at London's Capital 95.8... and this week is no exception.

"Come on down... Denise Van Outen", new co-host with Johnny Vaughan. Either a shrewd move to re-create some of the on air chemistry that existed on Channel 4's "The Big Breakfast"... or a signing that will only have an impact on the budget and not the audience?

Cast your mind back to 1997. The Spice Girls were in the charts and on tour (1st time around), Bill Clinton was President of the USA, Tony Blair had just been elected as Prime Minister, and we all thought that Hanson were the next big thing in music. Mmm Bop indeed!

Well that was the time that Johnny and Denise were on The Big Breakfast together. Seems like a while ago now! Many people just won't have seen the show with them on it, and if you were 25 in 1997, you'll be around 35 now... and possibly more into the dulcet tones of Jamie and Harriet on Heart or even Foxy on Magic. (Wogan only really kicks in when you're over 40!)

Having said that, Denise is having a bit of revival at present. She performed well as a judge on the BBC TV's 'Any Dream Will Do' show, and she's a down to earth, homegrown, cheeky Essex girl made good. If anyone can be 'the strong female' up against Johnny, it was either going to be Liza Tarbuck or Denise Van Outen.

What this signing shows is that 'star power' is alive and well. Radio stations are still prepared to get out their cheque book and hand over the cash in exchange for the media equity a star can bring to the show. (My guess is that Denise would be on a 2 year deal starting at at least £750,000 for year 1)

When looking for a new breakfast show, stations often ask should they go for an established star or develop their own? Well, if you can afford it, and the right star is available that matches your brand perfectly... go for it. Stars bring a lot of heritage (good and bad), instant familiarity and certainly drive listener trial.

Capital may just have played a trump card in the London Breakfast Show war. And for those of who can't wait for for the magic...

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