Monday, 23 August 2010

"Friends... Lend me your Talent"

How exclusive should your talent be?

How would you respond if another station wanted to “borrow” your morning show host to cover for someone for a week, and present an afternoon show on a completly different station?

Well that’s exactly what’s happening with Christian O’ Connell, morning show / breakfast host at Absolute Radio in the UK. According to reports today, he’s booked do a week’s cover of Richard Bacon’s afternoon show on BBC Radio 5Live.

It’s not the first time that Christian has ‘moonlighted’ with the station, as he’s hosted shows like the excellent ‘Fighting Talk’ before, and provided cover for some other 5 Live shows... but perhaps not as high profile as a big daytime shift.

So, is this a good idea... to lend out your key talent to another broadcaster? With a weekly reach of over 6.5 million people, it could be part of a strategy to allow talent to ‘do other projects’ in exchange for the benefit from the exposure that those projects bring. In this case, maybe core listeners to 5 Live will enjoy what they hear, and possibly seek out Christian on a daily basis?

Or is it a slightly dangerous game to play, especially with the BBC, who have a habit of occasionally filtering off commercial radio’s best talent luring them over to the network with promises of bigger audiences and multi-platform exposure etc. They’ve never been particularly gentlemanly when it comes to competition over talent!

I understand the Christian recently re-signed a deal with Absolute to continue with the company for a couple more years, and there’s no suggestion that he’s looking to move elsewhere... but I guess it’s always nice, as a host, to know you have a potential home somewhere else should it all go horribly wrong!

Doing a breakfast show each morning and then a quite intensive afternoon show every day for a week, will be a good stamina test for sure!

I look forward to tuning in to see how it sounds...

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