Monday, 30 March 2009

"In The Naval"

Are you a navel-gazer? The definition of a navel gazer is “one who is extraordinarily self-absorbed with him or herself on any given issue; excessive introspection and reflection when action is more necessary”

Well, it’s an accusation that the Chief Executive of Global Radio, Stephen Miron, makes of the whole UK commercial radio industry, in an interesting article in today’s Media Guardian. He cites a lack of creative and commercial ambition in the sector, which he believes has resulted in UK commercial radio lacking the essential momentum required to move forward.

There’s no doubt that Global Radio are ‘on a mission’ to redefine the meaning of ‘local radio’ in 2009, with the next stage of the Heart rollout having just occurred. Whether you think that’s a good thing for the industry or not is a matter of opinion, and time will tell if it’s the right thing to do both in terms of audience and ad revenue.

There is one comment I thought fairly amusing in the interview, where Miron talks of the mainstream nature of BBC Radio and advertisers desires...

The idea, he says, is to create a commercial rival to Radio 2. "We have advertisers who say, we wish we could advertise on Radio 2. Well now you can - it's called Heart."

I’m not sure if Stephen has listened to Radio 2 lately (if at all)... but last time I checked, it didn’t sound anything like Heart. It’s an ambitious aim to become comparable to a station that had a budget last year of £51.3 Million, but “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp” and all that. So to be sure, I thought I’d double check, and start with an obvious area ... current music. So you can see I’m not ‘pulling the wool’, here are the 2 current playlists to inspect;

Heart Playlist
Alesha Dixon - Breathe Slow
Annie Lennox - Shining Light
Beyoncé - Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
Beyoncé - Halo
Beyoncé - If I Were A Boy
Enrique Iglesias - Takin' Back My Love
Girls Aloud - The Loving Kind
Girls Aloud - The Promise
James Morrison - Please Don't Stop The Rain
James Morrison feat. Nelly Furtado - Broken Strings
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Lily Allen - The Fear
Pink - Please Don't Leave Me
Pink - Sober
Ronan Keating - Time After Time
Seal - It's Alright
Shontelle - T-Shirt
Take That – Greatest Day
Take That - Rule The World
Taylor Swift - Love Story
Zarif - Let Me Back

BBC Radio 2 Playlist
LUNIK - Everybody Knows
TONY CHRISTIE - Every Word She Said
PAUL CARRACK - No Doubt About It
TAKE THAT - Up All Night
SUGARLAND - All I Want To Do
JAMES MORRISON - Please Don't Stop The Rain
THE SCRIPT - Talk You Down
ALAIN CLARK - Father & Friend
JON ALLEN - In Your Light

ZARIF - Let Me Back
PET SHOP BOYS - Love etc.
*NEW* DUKE SPECIAL - Sweet Sweet Kisses
DOVES - Kingdom Of Rust
*NEW* JASON MRAZ - Make It Mine
FLEET FOXES - White Winter Hymnal
SHENA - Can't Stop The Rain

STEVE CRADDOCK - Falling Rocks
*NEW* AL GREEN - Just For Me
COLIN BLUNSTONE - The Ghost Of You And Me
BEN MONTAGUE - Can't Hold Me Down
IMELDA MAY - Big Bad Handsome Man
AC/DC - Anything Goes / Big Jackeatest Day

So... the eagle eyed amongst you no doubt spotted that a massive ‘3’ of the songs on Heart’s playlist are also on Radio 2’s playlist 2. That’s around a 10% crossover. Blimey. “It’s practically identical guv’nor”... apart from the 90% difference that is, of course.

I won’t even dare to compare the speech content, but it’s suffice to say that today on BBC Radio 2 when Jeremy Vine was discussing the positive environmental impact of water metering designed to help protect limited supplies of water and reduce consumption, Toby Antis on Heart was forward promoting the fact that “Candi Staton’s coming up”.

As Chrissie Hynde famously once said.. ‘Don’t get me wrong’... I think Heart is a really strong brand and a fantastically well produced commercial radio station. But sorry Stephen Miron... Radio 2 it ain’t!

What could posses a man to make such a bold claim as to liken output of BBC Radio 2 with Heart? It sounds like one of those ridiculous claims that only an awful newspaper like ‘The Mail on Sunday’ would concoct! Hang on a minute... what role did Stephen Miron used to have? Oh... he was Managing Director of ‘The Mail on Sunday’...

Enough said.

1 comment:

Terry Purvis said...

I think Heart is a really strong brand and a fantastically well produced commercial radio station

That depends on your criteria of well produced. How can a programming pattern such as, 3 songs, a speedlink, 3 songs, a content link then ads, be described as well produced?

It certainly doesn't sound like highly entertaining, intimate, yet tight, commercial radio when it comes out of the speaker. I personally think the production values of Heart are extermely poor.

Global have missed a huge opportunity to really move commercial radio forward with the expansion of Heart, instead they have stayed with same old, same old.

Radio can and needs to be far more than a really strong brand, the people behind the microphone need to actually say something once in a while.

It will take more innovation than the froth produced by 3 songs, a speedlink, 3 songs, a content link then ads and a wider playlist than the mindset at Heart could ever bear.

Music radio is the hardest form of radio to get right and Heart aren't even close. Give it a year and the audience will collapse.