Monday, 29 March 2010

Absolute Classic Rock - 'The Great British Guarantee'.

UK station 'Absolute Classic Rock' relaunched today with a rather nice music propostition. At the start of every hour, every day, they'll play some great British songs back to back. They call it 'The Great British Guarantee'.

I tuned in today to take a quick listen, and sure enough... at the top of hour I got The Who, Billy Idol, David Bowie and Genesis. Very nice and very British.
It's true that British Classic Rock is a very definitive genre and hangs together well regardless of the era that it's from. You can easily draw a line from The Kinks to Blur, from The Beatles to Oasis and from David Bowie to... well, to everyone!
The interesting question to ask is why this move has taken place? I guess we can assume that analysis of research over recent years has shown that British Classic Rock has proved particularly popular in terms of artists and songs, and also as a 'cultural definer'. There's something about the ongoing 'coolness' of bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin that make a station playing old rock records seem relevant in a contemporary radio offering.

I wonder if there's an attempt to differentiate between Absolute Classic Rock and Planet Rock, the other commercial Classic Rock station that's available nationwide on DAB.
As a very crude experiment, I randomly listened to 3 'Top of Hour' songs from Planet Rock last week. I got Nirvana, Kiss and Pearl Jam... all US bands. Coincidence? Luck of the draw? Or do Planet Rock have a more US skew which Absolute are trying to provide an alternative to? Alice Cooper on Breakfast is great... but is just very American!

The listening figures show Planet Rock reach 698,000 listeners every week, whilst Absolute Classic Rock reach 217,000. So there's certainly some room for Absolute to grow in the Classic Rock space.

And perhaps playing more British Classic Rock is the key.

Rock on!

1 comment:

Clive Dickens said...

Thanks Nik for the post, you are correct, the re-launched ACR is designed to create a clearer gap between the two popular Classic Rock services. Especially when you consider that our commercial team and Golden Square exclusively sell spot airtime for Planet Rock.

The other thing worth pointing out is that Planet Rock is available nationally on DAB whereas ACR is only available on DAB in London.