Thursday, 27 October 2011

'Mix Radio' on the Nokia Lumia

I think it's widely accepted that increasingly radio stations need to offer more than just a music service with a nice brand behind it, if they are to continue to engage with listeners.

More and more streaming music services are available to consumers every single month, and this extends to handset manufactuers getting in on the action.

So to ensure they are keeping up with the pace, Nokia yesterday announced that as part of the new Windows phone... Nokia Lumia, you'll get something called 'Mix Radio'. It's a bit like a cross between iTunes, Spotify and Pandora... and a radio station!

It's nice that Nokia have chosen to use the word 'radio' as part of the offer... even if it's not how I'd traditionally define radio i.e. there's no human involved from the 'other side'. But let's leave that debate for now!!

So, now there's a little bit more competition for 'share of ear' and and even more choice for the consumer, which has got to be seen as a good thing. Whether this is a success for Nokia... we will see!

RAJAR - Q3 2011; "Here are the votes from the UK radio listeners..."

The latest UK listening figures are out, (RAJAR Q3:2011) and again we find out which stations are a little more 'tasty' than others. There are some nice headlines to be read, including the fact that listening via a digital platform is up again with 22.8 million people now tuning in to radio via a digitally enabled receiver; so that could be on DAB, on Digital Television or over the Internet. The growth of digital inevitably continues. If you want to read some posts about the changing nature of radio in the UK and the growth of digital businesses, you'd be hard pressed to find better analysis than that provided by two people who look forward to this day with an unbridled and somewhat unnatural enthusiasm, for which we are all grateful... Matt Deegan and Adam Bowie.

Meanwhile, the market I get asked about most whilst on my travels, London, sees another game of musical chairs. Last time Magic had the best of it in the commercial world, holding top spot in both Reach and Share, but nothing stays the same for long in this market. Capital have jumped back up to Number 1 in Reach, and Heart have leapfrogged the contenders to become Number 1 in Share.

'Reach' (or Cume for our American readers) always seems to be the most quoted of figures, so here are the Top 10 Commercial Stations in London based on Weekly Reach for Q3:2011

1. Capital London 2.17 Million
2. Heart London 2.02 Million
3. Magic 105.4 1.99 Million
4. Kiss 100 FM 1.70 Million
5. Classic FM 1.40 Million
6. LBC 97.3 841,000
7. Absolute Radio 771,000
8. talkSPORT 717,000
9. Smooth Radio 612,000
10. Choice FM London 562,000

If you add in the BBC, things look a little different...

1. BBC Radio 4 2.77 Million
2. BBC Radio 2 2.29 Million
3. Capital London 2.17 Million
4. Heart London 2.02 Million
5. Magic 105.4 1.99 Million
6. BBC Radio 1 1.80 Million
7. Kiss 100 FM 1.70 Million
8. Classic FM 1.40 Million
9. BBC Radio 5 Live 1.31 Million
10. LBC 97.3 841,000

Capital no doubt benefited from the exposure that the Summertime Ball gave them, proving once again that visibility is a key ingredient in the mix... a theme I'll return to in the not too distant future. And the BBC once again show that they still produce quality radio, all be it with a rather expensive price tag.

It would be rude of me not to mention 'in dispatches' Absolute 80s. First, because it gives me another blatant opportunity to mention my weekly show on a Sunday morning from 9am-12pm that I present along with Dan McGrath, called 'Cafe 80s'. Subtle plug huh? However, that's not why I mention them on this occasion. It's because they have become the Number 1 commercial digital-only station in the UK, with 1.01 Million listeners a week. That's a rather healthy increase of just over 80% year on year. A rather 'peachy' result... so well done to all the team there.

Finally, if you're that way inclined, you can look at some pretty graphs for all stations on Media UK.

Right - that's enough 'numbers stuff' until February 1st 2012!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

"The Magic Behind Magic"

Ask a listener what the main reasons are they to listen their favourite any radio station, and they’ll usually give you a variety of answers.

Often the answers they give say a lot about how successful that station is about communicating their core message.

Clarity is key when communicating any message, and if an audience can gravitate around one main theme, then you probably doing something very right.

I recently did a session at 'Radiodays Denmark' with Magic 105.4 PD, Pete Simmons. We discussed the ‘magic behind magic’, and why it was such a successful radio station.

When Magic listeners were asked “What are the main reasons you listen to Magic 105.4?”... these were the top 5 reasons they gave...

1. It’s relaxing to listen to
2. It plays music I know and love
3. It plays music to put me in a good mood
4. It plays the best songs for my taste
5. It plays the most music, with least talk

Here’s a radio station which is clear in its purpose, focused in its strategy, and executing it continuously well with a quality product.

Listeners know what the brand does and it’s reliable in delivering that. The music quantity, lack of clutter and the mood enhancing qualities of the station have lifted it to the Number 1 Commercial Station in London, and the station currently has more listeners than any other music station in London including the BBC! No mean feat.

So if you asked your listeners what are the main reasons they listen to your station, would there be a few clear themes that their answers cluster around?

In the over-communicated world, stand for something; then clearly communicate what that is. And if you stand for something that consumers want, then you’re on the right road.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Monday, 3 October 2011

What Makes A Good Radio Conference?

What makes a good radio conference?

Over the last few weeks I’ve been ‘conferenced up’ attending and speaking at a good variety of events. So what are the things to look out for?

Do It Differently was an attempt to redefine the genre somewhat. Short, snappy presentations on a whole range of topics worked really well. It meant that as a delegate, you never had the time to get bored with anyone, plus you got a vast range of information that you could draw from take away with you. And it also meant that as a speaker, you focused more on exactly what you had to say, always aiming for that radio mantra... “Less is More!”. I’m certain will be back next year, even better then the debut event.... which was actually pretty damn good to start with. So ‘doing it differently’ is one angle that certainly works

Do It Well

I spoke an event in Cyprus on Friday morning called ‘The Radio Breakfast Show’ organised by Dias Media Group, a big Cypriot media company. It was a simple idea executed well;

• Get media agencies, clients, PR firms and other interested parties all in one room in a nice hotel... about 300 of them.
• Make the room look fantastic
• Give them a really nice breakfast
• Put on a short ‘morning only’ session with 4 interesting speakers
• Let everyone go back to work at 11am

I spoke about the changing nature of radio and advertising and was pleased that what I had to say struck a chord with many delegates. But it was just all very well put together, making the experience a good one for delegates (and speakers)! So getting the conference right and ‘doing it well’ may seem simple stuff, but you’d be surprised at many who don’t.

Speakers Who Share
I remember back in the days of the old 'NAB Europe', many a time I would turn up at a session where I thought I’d learn something... often to find that someone was trying to sell me something instead. #FAIL. A conference session should not be sales session. They should be about sharing knowledge and insight. Do your sales pitch in the bar afterwards!

Getting speakers who share is crucial. I was lucky to have 2 speakers who were fantastic at sharing during my two sessions at Radiodays Denmark over the weekend. First Pete Simmons, the PD of Magic 105.4 took everyone through the strategy behind Magic, and why it’s number 1 in London. He was open, honest and shared everything. The delegates really got some fantastic insight thanks to Pete, and I enjoyed chatting with him on stage about the format and how he overcomes challenges.

Likewise Andy Parfitt, in his first real ‘event’ after stepping down as Controller of BBC Radio 1 was equally candid. I created a session where Andy would take us through the Radio 1 strategy, how it functions as a station, and along the way telling the importance of everything from Live Music to Online. And he didn’t disappoint. He was brutally honest, perhaps being able to talk more openly than ever before, as he is now free from the responsibilities that heading the network brings with it. My only regret is that the session was not recorded so a wider audience could share in some of the insight that Andy shared. Mind you, maybe if it had been, he might not have been so candid! So ‘speakers who share’ is vital to the success of any event.

With all that in mind, it’s only about 4 weeks to go until the Radio Festival in Manchester. Much more on that to follow no doubt!