RAJAR Q3/2017

When RAJAR drops into my inbox, the first thing I check is the audience data for Fun Kids. By the time I’ve had a good look through, Hallett Arendt’s excellent system Octagon will have all of UK radio’s data ready to analyse. It’s then I first search for the figures around digital listening.

The big obsession by many is reaching the 50% point. That’s the point where 50% of all listening (hours) are through digital platforms like DAB, the internet and on the good old digital telly. It’ll mean that analogue radio – AM and FM – will have a smaller share of all listening than digital. Some think that it’ll kick off the digital switchover process. It won’t. It merely means the Government will have to “consider a decision about the timing and approach to a future switchover”.

Personally I’m not arguing for an quick switchover as I don’t think it would be great for listeners or radio listening. What I am very pro is that there should be a date (or selection of dates). I would like listeners (and stations) to know that there is a countdown and that analogue radios (and most analogue radio stations) have an expiry date. Five years, ten years, I don’t mind. We’ll only properly have banished analogue only radios for sale and have a co-ordinated marketing plan (and fill those final few broadcast holes) when everyone understands that the countdown is on.

So, I’m always keen to see how close to the 50% we are! I was somewhat disappointed when this quarter’s figure was 48.8% (up from, er, 48.7% last time round). Sigh. Then I had more of a look at the data for internet, digital TV and DAB. It turns out that DAB was quite a bit up, but internet listening and Digital TV listening saw a bit of a drop. Had internet and DTV stayed the same as the last quarter then the digital number would have reached 49.9%!

Switchover or not, FM stations without cross-platform, multi-station strategies will find their available audience is dropping – as less and less people will be on the FM band to find you. That’ll also have a significant effect on the value of that FM licence.

Take Radio X, it’s had a good book. UK-wide it’s generated its highest ever reach – 1.523m listeners – and highest ever hours 10.524m. Which are some great numbers. But if we look at the hours of listening on 104.9FM in London its 1.503m (about 14% of their total). If Radio X came off FM in London I’m sure some people would switch, worse case they might lose 10% of their hours. Now, for Global whilst they’d be in no hurry to take it off FM in London (why should someone else have it?) the value of that FM licence has surely dropped significantly. What would someone pay for it now? Capital paid £16m for it in 1998 – would it be worth that now? For £16m you could buy national digital carriage and spend a lot of money on content and marketing. You would certainly make more from the latter than the former.

In fact Global have been doing just that, with the launch earlier this year of Heart 80s. It had another strong book with 1.086m listeners and nearly 5m hours. Sitting on national DAB through Digital One, Heart 80s has a bigger reach than Celador Radio, UKRD, Lincs FM, KMFM, Nation Broadcasting, Q Radio, Oxis or Quidem.

London though remains the big battleground for Global and Bauer. Looking at commercial share, the chart toppers are:

  1. LBC 97.3: 5.8%
  2. Kiss: 5.5%
  3. Capital London: 5.2%
  4. Classic FM 4.1%
  5. Magic: 3.6%
  6. Heart 3.5%
  7. Absolute: 3%
  8. talkSPORT: 2.3%
  9. Capital Xtra: 1.8%
  10. Smooth Radio: 1.8%
  11. LBC London News: 1.7%
  12. Radio X: 1.2%
  13. Gold: 1.1%

An hours drop from an unusually high book last quarter, still leaves LBC in pole position and Kiss continuing to fight with Capital, ascending back to the top spot. In reach though, Capital continues to edge it though – 2.1m vs 1.8.

Heart London has taken a bit of a hit over the past few quarters, perhaps seeing 106.2 be cannibalised a little by Heart Extra and Heart 80s. It also fights with the other local Hearts that spill into the Capital. If we look at the Heart Network in London (that’s 106.2 and the locals) it generates a 6.2% share – putting it a the top of the chart! If we add in the Extra/80s spin off then it would climb to a 6.8% share.

Over at Bauer, Magic faces a similar issue. Concentrating on just 105.4 tells you just one part of the story, roll in the spin-offs and the Magic Network share in London goes from 3.6% to 4.9%. However, I still imagine Tony and the team at Golden Square are hoping that Ronan and Harriet sprinkle some er, magic, on the station as year on year their reach is down from 1.8m to 1.5m and hours have dropped from 8.5m to 7.5m

Absolute in London continues to ping pong around, this books’s a good one with strong reach at 874k but even stronger hours with a very high 6.3m (that’s why its share is up to 3% from 1.9% last quarter). Its success has been replicated across the country with the main Absolute Radio hitting a brand high. Reach at 2.4m isn’t too shabby whilst Christian’s breakfast show on Absolute (and all the spinoffs) collectively gives him the 2nd highest rated commercial breakfast show.

The biggest commercial breakfast show stays with Rickie, Melvin and Charlie at Kiss.

Over at the Big British Castle, Radio 1 with 9.6m reach is up slightly on the quarter and down slightly on the year. It’s not brilliant news for Grimmy as he drops under 5m listeners for the lowest ever breakfast rating. Elsewhere quarter on quarter growth for Clara, Scott, Greg and Annie Mac.

Radio 2 is back over 15m. 15m! …with 15.3m listeners. Evans has bounced back to 9.3m listeners. 9.3m! Which is up quarter on quarter and year on year.

Hot on the heels of six ARIA awards, Five Live hasn’t fared so well in RAJAR with the top line figure dropping to just over 5m reach. It’s lowest figure since at least 2004.

It’s the highest ever reach for 6Music at 2.4m, 1Xtra stays above a million and 4 Extra up q on q and y on y at 2.1m.

BBC London’s last book now looks a bit of an outlier at 621k, dropping back to 454k reach / 2.6m hours, which puts it behind, as usual, LBC News (Global’s AM rolling news channel).

In other news, Jazz FM has had a good book, up year on year and quarter on quarter, to 570k reach and 2.2m hours. National station Union Jack is over 100k listeners for the first time, Kisstory is the commercial leader for digital with 1.8m listeners and Virgin Radio has seen a very solid increase to a reach of over 500k for the first time (556k). It was also Edith Bowman’s best result on breakfast!

Our station, Fun Kids, has had a solid book. It’s audience remains something of an iceberg with only a chunk of our listeners publicly visible. This is because RAJAR only measures 10+ which means it doesn’t include our main audience, the swines! We choose therefore to just get London numbers rather than the national ones. This gives us 92k listeners a week in the capital which is still bigger than talkRADIO, Magic Chilled, The Hits and The Arrow. Hurrah for us.

More to read:
Adam Bowie, Paul Easton and John Rosborough

RAJAR Q2/2017 – Brand Power

Agree or disagree with the how RAJAR’s compiled, I think every three months is a good time to have a look at the radio market and think about changes and trends. Numbers are always a snapshot, but what lies behind them, and the direction of travel, can give a much clearer insight.

Stations figures rise and fall for a variety of reasons. Some are down to the station, some are because of what other stations are doing, sometimes its an external force – the weather, an election, and sometimes it’s bigger themes like platform shifts and new technology.

Nothing has ever existed in a vacuum, and today the word changes so fast that volatility is one of the only constants. Oh, and sometimes you just have a bad (or good) book.

Heart 80s

To me, the one thing that’s highlighted how the radio world has changed is the arrival on RAJAR of Heart 80s with a stonking 852k reach and 3.8m hours.

It’s a new radio station with no station-specific marketing and little unique programming, but it is based on a very successful understood brand and it plays a type of music that’s in-demand for a large audience.

It’s only been around four months but it’s already got a greater audience reach than all of Celador Radio or UKRD.

I think this throws into stark relief the opportunities/threats that changing radio consumption has on the market.

Anoraks talk about which small stations or groups the big operators will buy next, but with a success like Heart80s why would they bother? The cost and complexity of running a multi-site operation vs a well-programmed centrally managed spin off using existing brand and resources. There’s really no question.

Well, there is a question for smaller operators. It isn’t “why bother?” but instead “how do you use what’s unique about your operation to grow?” Local advertising relationships, community relationships, how do you leverage that to create an interesting business. Why are you only doing radio?

Jack

Heart80s isn’t the only new national station to appear recently on RAJAR. Union Jack made it’s debut last time around at 71k and is now a little up at 80k.

Now, both stations are similar in that they’re national, they’ve had little above the line marketing and their programming is mostly clever, well-done automation. The audience difference is large though – 10x! Why is that? Well, ironically after the trail blazed by Union Jack’s management when they ran Absolute and launched Absolute 80s, Heart have jumped in a very popular and relatively underserved format – 80s – and they’ve aligned that with a complimentary, well-understood brand in Heart.

Union Jack has the potential to be a great brand, it has great personality, but brand-building without a large cash investment is a long-term burn. It’s name is clever (when you realise it plays only British music) but it lacks the Ronseal delivery of Heart 80s, Planet Rock or Magic Soul that allows listeners to instantly understand it.

What is good for Union Jack’s parent company is that they’re building a suite of products around their Jack brand and not being hemmed in by just being a local radio station. As well as three Jack brands in their local Oxford base (89k reach), they’ve got a new digital-only local version in Surrey (36k) and the 80k the national station delivers. Whilst Oxford is probably going to stick around a similar audience level +/- 10%, Surrey and national gives them a chance of real growth. They’re now already larger than what was the old Anglian Radio.

The challenge new stations face, is that in the old days there was somewhat a “if we build it, they will come” mentality with new station launches. The world is very different now. Brand cut through is hard as new entrants in London like Thames Radio (16k reach) or Mi-Soul (47k) have discovered to their cost.

Mi-Soul, around for a few years, now faces an onslaught from Magic Soul. Similar to Heart 80s – they’ve aligned a popular format with a well-understood brand. In London, Magic Soul has generated 112k reach from a standing start. With sporadic DAB distribution, nationally it’s now generating 244k.

Good programming is irrelevant if you aren’t able to generate awareness or trial.

Digital

Clearly much of this change is driven by the volume of digital listening. This quarter the data shows that 68% of listeners listen to some form of digital radio (DAB, internet and DTV) each week and 53% of UK listeners listen specifically through DAB each week.

In share terms, 48.7% of all listening is to digital platforms (up from 47.2% last quarter). We are rapidly approaching the magic 50% number.

Digital-only stations like 6Music (at 2.2m), 1Xtra (up 100k to 1.03m), Kisstory (up 200k to 1.7m), Absolute 80s (up 150k to 1.5m) as well as Heart80s at 852k are making a significant impact in how all stations are being listened to.

London

London is probably one of the most competitive radio markets in the world. It’s big and national stations like Radio 4 often seem like local station to many of the inhabitants. The top stations in the commercial share chart switch places because they all compete hard. This quarter, though, Global is very much top of the tree – taking the top four commercial spots.

LBC 97.3 – 7.6%
Capital London – 5.1%
Classic FM – 4.4%
Heart – 4.3%
Kiss – 4.1%
Magic – 3.2%
Smooth Radio – 2%
Absolute Radio – 1.9%

Radio 1

I imagine a sigh of relief on the top floor of Broadcasting House as Radio 1 recovers from its dreadful Q1 book of 9.1m reach to a more respectable 9.5m.

15-24s still remain difficult for it to nail down with another drop this time, albeit a small one to 2,725 from 2,767. I think more dangerous for R1 is Capital’s growing 15-24 strength. More robust results for its stations and the network’s growth through acquisition means that it’s on the verge of claiming more 15-24s than Radio 1.

Fun Kids

A good book for our children’s radio station Fun Kids. We’re in an odd situation where whilst we’re national, we just measure London. RAJAR also only looks at 10+ whilst our core audience is under that! But it’s still nice to be able to benchmark ourselves against others.

So, 10+ in London we’re delivering 99k reach (up from 66k in Q1) and hours have increased to 292.6k (from 133k). When we measure 10+ reach against other digital stations in the London TSA it’s good to see we’re a bigger station than talkRADIO, talkSPORT2, Global’s The Arrow and Bauer’s Magic Chilled.

Though the success of Heart 80s, and the power of an aligned brand does make me think perhaps we should try a name change. I’m sure BBC Fun Kids would give us a nice sampling boost!

More to read:
Adam Bowie, Paul Easton and John Rosborough

Launching Upload Radio

Radio and audio has never been more successful. More radio is listened to than ever before and podcasts and audio streaming services have meant there’s more sound than ever to stuff in your ears.

In the UK lots of this success has come from the growth of new stations available on DAB Digital Radio and the expansion of what used to be London only stations – 6Music, Absolute 80s, Fun Kids as well as LBC, Magic and Radio X. Great content combined with platforms – particularly DAB – has resulted in happier listeners consuming more radio. This new choice has meant that 44% of the country now listen to DAB radio each week and 18% listen to digital radio through the internet.

At the same time the podcast explosion has seen a wide variety of companies and individuals create brilliant content – but quite a bit of which is trapped in the bowels of iTunes, never being able to be found.

Our company, Folder Media, has always been a big believer in getting people onto the radio. With our multiplex network MuxCo, we’ve got the most diverse bunch of stations on-air, broadcasting on DAB to the ten local areas that we look after.

Nicky, Greg and I have been doing local DAB for a long time. From 2001 we ran GWR’s local digital multiplex network (it’s now owned by Arqiva). When we were there we came up with the idea of Access Channels – shared access services where smaller radio stations could dial in and out broadcast for a few hours a day. We started the project, but it was a little early in digital radio’s development for it to work. The concept though, that’s stayed with us.

We re-visited the idea when started bidding for our MuxCo local multiplexes in 2007, but wondered whether we could make those slots smaller? Could we create a radio station where every hour was up for sale? But then we weren’t sure how we’d be able to build it and how we’d cope with Ofcom’s then rules on advertising and sponsorship.

The idea kept rattling around in our heads though, so as technology advanced and Ofcom’s rules changed, we thought we’d have a go and in 2013 we started working on a system that would let people do just that and buy an hour at a time. I even announced we working on it an Next Radio! Our developer at the time Dean started working with me on the prototype. What we realised pretty quickly was that it was a bloody hard. We’d be building an eCommerce website, a radio station website and a play out system. As well as the code, we’d also really have to work out the logic of all of the different transactions.

Dean then left and Andy Buckingham joined to work on the project. We took what we’d learned from the prototype and then re-built a second version which went through a number of iterations. Andy left in the middle of 2016 and David Madelin joined to finish the work Andy started, taking the platform he had created and finishing many of the elements and finally getting it ready for launch. And today we did just that.

On our Surrey and South London, Wrexham/Chester/Liverpool and our Gloucestershire multiplexes we put Upload Radio live at just gone midnight this morning.

Upload Radio allows anyone to buy an hour of airtime, upload a show, and have it be broadcast on DAB, simulcast online and then be available for 30 days as catchup, it’ll also be on all of the Radioplayer platforms. It’s just £20 a slot. You can include music, advertising, promote other stations and platforms – we don’t mind. We want you to be successful, so as long as you follow Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, we’re fine with it.

Speaking of Ofcom, our team will be moderating all material submitted to confirm it follows the rules.

This project has been quite the slog. We probably would have done it slightly differently if we knew it would have taken this long! It’s also just the start of the project, and product, and we’re very open to suggestions.

Dean, Andy and particularly Dave have all done a great job building it and the wider Folder team, particularly Gregory have been very good at humouring me whilst we’ve been getting this to launch. We’ve also worked closely with RCS for the final playout and distribution, Sharpstream and Radioplayer for streaming and Arqiva and Radioscape for DAB distribution. The Fun Kids and Create teams have also helped seed some programming on the service.

Like all new projects part of this is a bit of a punt. But sometimes you just have to build it to see what happens. What’s your show going to be?

All the RAJAR Hits, All Day Long – Q4/2016

It’s the final RAJAR book of 2016 and time to have a quick whistle-stop tour and see what’s been happening. Stick around and I’ll tell you about a breakfast show ratings swap, a station that’s halved it’s hours since launch and we’ll see what’s happening share-wise in a certain city. [13sec]

Breakfast

In the week where Dave Berry’s announced he’s swapping Leicester Square for Golden Square, his Capital Breakfast Show has been knocked off the top spot by Rickie, Melvin and Charlie at Kiss. Capital Breakfast now has a weekly reach of 881 vs Kiss’s 983k.

London

A breakfast drop has not helped Capital in the battle for London’s market share either. The top commercial stations are now:

  1. LBC 97.3 – 5.5%
  2. Magic – 4.7%
  3. Kiss – 4.5%
  4. Heart 4.1%
  5. Classic FM – 3.7%
  6. Capital FM – 3.7%
  7. Absolute Radio – 2.0%
  8. Smooth Radio London – 1.7%
  9. talkSPORT – 1.7%
  10. Radio X – 1.4%
  11. Capital Xtra – 1%
  12. Gold – 0.8%

Well done to LBC on it’s third highest share ever and getting over the 1million mark for reach. Though very disappointing for Capital to now lag behind Classic FM in London share.

Kiss London had good increases across the board making it the number 1 commercial station in London for reach, pipping Capital to the number 2 spot.

Global

Radio X has seen the areas it’s on FM – London and Manchester – have ratings improvement, with the overall national figure stable year on year and quarter on quarter at 1.2m reach.

Heart Extra’s 2nd RAJAR book sees a slide from 664k to 437k, no doubt as a result of dumping its regular programmes for Heart Extra Christmas (and playing a weird mix of Christmas music at that). I’m still unsure why they don’t give it a more understandable brand. Club Classics, 70s, Musicals – I think all would do better.

Bauer

Well done to Free Radio which has had a tough few years. They seem to have stemmed any decline over the past few quarters and are starting to see some hours growth. With the Big City Network taking on their revised music policy, it will be interesting to see whether those stations’ figures go the same way.

Absolute Radio 90s has been gradually creeping up over the past few quarters. It’s now hit 727k reach without even being a true national DAB station (it mainly exists in the cities).

On the other hand Heat, which has been national on D2 for a year continues to fall back – now at 720k reach. Time to swap them over and see Absolute 90s grow further?

The main Absolute Radio has returned to its standard 2.1m reach stomping ground after an outlier book which gave them 2.6m last time round.

Wireless Group

Nothing to particularly shout about at Hatfields this quarter. TalkSPORT returns to above 3m reach, but back to 18m hours after two books of 21m.

TalkRADIO hasn’t managed to solidify it’s growth last time around falling back to 252k reach and some likely unlucky diary placement resulting in its hours being halved.

A similar fate has hit Virgin Radio, it’s seen its reach this quarter drop a little from 324k from 344k, but its hours are around half the launch quarter, now coming in at 757k.

Radio 1

Some mixed results for Radio 1. The headline figure is that it’s down three quarters of a million reach year on year (about half of which were 15 to 24s). Quarter on quarter its down 311k (again half from 15 to 24s). Total listening hours though, are relatively steady, and the hours coming from the remaining 15 to 24s are the best they’ve had all year.

The breakfast show has however been doing slightly better than the station. Whilst it’s seen a drop year on year, this quarter has rebounded slightly adding 100k listeners.

Listening to the show during January, creatively it’s seen quite a bit of renewal. It’s had a strong contesting month concentrating on an 8am appointment to listen, good daily guests, with the best bits repeated the following day and more benchmarking of features like the entertainment news. I think it’s sounding the best it has for a long time. I think the new imaging from Contraband is top notch too. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s reflected in its Q1 figures in three months time.

Bauer, again.

With all the furore about the style guide, I had a listen to a 3pm hour of Hallam this week to see how it all sounded on-air. To my ears it sounded very clean. The new playlist and the majority focus on music sells did seem to give it more consistency than it’s had for a long time.

It’s also obvious that a cleaning like this is the right thing you do when you start a re-build of a station. Strip out a lot of the features, have a consistent sound and then gradually add back on the other elements.

It’s no fun to be entirely positive though, so I’d say that a much bigger issue than clearing your teases with the Content Director is the positioner. Surely “All the Biggest Hits – All Day Long” has too many words? Isn’t “The Biggest Hits – All Day” tighter and brighter?

More to read:
Adam Bowie, Paul Easton and John Rosborough

Classic FM’s 25th Birthday

I have huge affection for Classic FM. I spent four years working alongside them in Classic FM House and then three years in Leicester Square. I also used to produce and tech-op, often very badly, for the station and even helped to get their licence renewed. The latter was a very, er, interesting process and definitely one for the autobiography.

Anyway, I think much of the station’s success over the years has come from a happy desire to do what they think is right for their audience, rather than following what is expected of a station with a classical music format.

It’s also been a station that’s often underestimated. I remember flicking through the pre-launch coverage and no-one believed that it would be able to get more than 2m listeners (the audience for Radio 3 at the time). It launched with 4m and now has over 5m. Radio 3 remains at 2m.

This year it celebrates its 25th Birthday, which is as good a time as any to announce a raft of new initiatives. These include:

  • Classic FM and the Royal Philharmonic Society commission 6 brand new pieces of music by young composers
  • April is ‘Live Music Month’ with 18 exclusive concerts broadcast on air
  • Live stream of a celebration concert with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra
  • Classic FM’s Music Teacher of the Year Awards
  • Re-launch of a nice, mobile responsive ClassicFM.com

But the thing I think is the most interesting is the introduction of a new (6 part) radio show about videogame music presented by Jessica Curry.

If you’re not really exposed to video games then I imagine you could be saying “really?”. But video games are a bigger industry than movies, a medium that Classic FM created the first soundtrack show for in the late 90s.

It’s also an area that fans feel very strongly about legitimising. Tracks have started appearing in Classic FM’s Hall of Fame and the station’s run a number of well received specials over the past few years. Indeed, just look at the response to the new presenter’s tweet about it:

It’ll be interesting to see the response to the show and whether it becomes a more permanent feature.

Congratulations to Classic FM on hitting the 25 to 34 demo, and probably attracting a few more of them too.

YouTubers Doing Podcasts and the iTunes Chart

A slightly grumpy tweet prompted a mini-Twitter beef with YouTuber Marcus Butler.

Well, it’s 30ish days later, so let’s have a look.

Marcus who runs a couple of successful YouTube channels has recently started a podcast – Lower Your Expectations. My tweet was in response to his happiness at hitting number 1 in the iTunes Podcast charts before his show launched. My slightly mean spirited missive was less to do with the podcast and more about the nature of the podcast charts.

The iTunes podcast chart measures momentum, rather than success. It looks at a variety of indicators to show how a podcast is doing when compared to others. Over the years it’s seemed that new subscriptions, recent five-star reviews and new comments are key contributors.

iTunes doesn’t want a static chart, it wants movement to give an interesting, of the moment, list to iTunes users. Marcus who comes with a significant established young fan base was always going to be able to dominate the algorithm.

This, alongside some iTunes home page promotion in the key spot, gave the show a great start – with over two weeks at the top of the charts. His current position, 30ish days later, is 94 – still very respectable, though it bounces around a bit.

It’s a good reminder that when launching a podcast you, too, should marshal your fans to drive yourself up the chart. Doing this prompts new sampling from people you don’t know and if they then like what you’re doing, then these new subscribers will help you play the algorithm and keep you on top.

But also it’s a reminder about pacing. If you direct everyone to the podcast straight away you’ll be using up your ability to game the algorithm in a shorter period. If you can arrange a solid stream of subs, comments and reviews over a sustained period you’ll likely keep yourself at the top longer – and therefore give you the ability to be exposed to non-fans over a longer period of time.

YouTubers

As I understand it, there are more podcasts on the way for YouTubers. Particularly ones from Gleam, the talent agency that manages Marcus.

It’s a sensible idea. 2016 has seen YouTubers who’ve built significant audiences diversify into different media. The bedrock of their brands is, of course, YouTube, where they generally produce ‘Main Channel’ videos weekly and “Daily Vlogs” close to daily. For someone like Marcus his channels generate around 10million views a month.

YouTube revenues vary significantly person to person but tend to be a combination of AdSense revenue from Google (you get about £1,000 per million views) alongside specialist brand deals where YouTubers promote products/services in videos (around £5k to £30k for most of them).

On top of the videos most of the big name YouTubers have been creating bespoke online series (for YouTube Red or DVD sell-through), books, other products and doing live tours.

Clearly these things can be great for generating some dosh, but it’s also about trying to embed and grow personal brands.

Building a business on a single platform – in this case YouTube – can be dangerous. Just ask the Viners. A change to the algorithm or the discoverability can have a dramatic effect on your views and revenue. Recently there’s been a spate of YouTubers worrying that YouTube has done just that as they’ve seen big changes to the way that people can see their videos and they’ve seen a drop in views and subscriptions. This is the first public manifestation of the panic many YouTubers have been sharing with each other on their own private Facebook group.

Whilst I think there’s definitely something in this being an alogorithm issue, there’s also pressure on established folks from new entrants. Viewers only have a certain amount of time, so as they start to watch new channels, it’s likely older ones will see some form of a drop off.

Marcus, was one of the 2nd generation of Vloggers. The 1st generation were those who stumbled across the fact YouTube could be a place where native content could thrive. In the UK that’s probably people like Charlie McDonnell. The 2nd Gen, like Marcus, Zoella, Alfie were often inspired by some of these and then very much took it to the next level with higher production values and more regular uploading.

For many in this 2nd generation, five years on, and the platform is harder to work. For many in this group, Marcus included, their YouTube subscription growth has halted.

In many ways it’s the same as any product life cycle for a brand – Introduction, Growth, Maturity and Decline. In the maturity/decline stage, the product has to try and keep as much of the existing audience as possible whilst adapting and changing to refresh and bring new people in.

YouTubers on Podcasts

Creating a podcast for YouTubers is a good way to diversify. It’s another free-to-consume platform, its about content generation and iTunes is somewhere that has discovery mechanisms to get you noticed.

However, it is somewhere that has a distinctly different demographic to YouTube. This is potentially both a pro and con. Pro is that it’s a new audience that you can reach. The Con is the same – it’s a new audience who won’t necessarily be aware of you.

In demo terms YouTube for Creators is very 13 to 24, whilst Podcasting is probably more upmarket 25 to 44s.

Fundamentally it’s:

vs

There’s probably two ways to go with this. If the purpose of the podcast is to preach to the converted, the gamble is that you’ll have a new way to reach your existing audience. Even for those who haven’t heard of podcasts before, your pull is such that you can probably drag some of them over. This, combined with those who are already into podcasting, could give you some success.

The other option is to take as many people as you can with you, but use content designed particularly for the platform to reach out to new people and expand your reach.

Marcus isn’t the first YouTuber to try podcasting, many US creators have been making shows. There’s Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning who had Ear Biscuits (interviews). They managed 80 weekly episodes before ceasing in September 2015. Shane Dawson has Shane and Friends (interviews), Tyler Oakley has Psychobabble (gossip) and Grace Helbig has Not Too Deep (interviews).

In the UK, none of these, except for Shane, have managed sustained success in the iTunes charts.

The Podcast itself

My default view on all new things in audio form – is that it’s good that they’re there. There isn’t a ‘right’ way to do anything, if your material can establish and grow an audience then that’s a good thing. I don’t particularly like The Archers, but I have no issue with it existing, as plenty of people like it very much. I feel the same about Marcus’ podcast – if it gets new people into the audio habit, that can only be a good thing.

Also, it’s unfair to critically review things that are still new. At the time of writing it’s merely four episodes in.

Having listened to it though, there are some more general observations that I’d hope be useful for any new podcast or radio show.

Podcast Tips

1. Listen to some other podcasts

Like radio, or YouTube, podcasting has a certain grammar that people are used to. It’s fine to ignore it and go your own way – successful people often do – but it is important to at least understand it first. As Hamish Blake says in this podcast, you have to understand the rule book before you throw it out.

If you’re trying to make a splash in an existing industry, analyse the things that are successful and try to work out why. What techniques are they using? How do they format it? How long is it etc.

2. Respect your audience

I think the biggest fault of many podcasts as well as things like student radio shows is that they’re doing the show for themselves rather than the audience. Sitting in a room with your mates and having a laugh is fun. Of course it is. But you can do that in the pub. However, if you’re going to the trouble of recording it – then it needs to be more than that.

If people could always be naturally entertaining for an hour, comedy shows would never need scripts or any preparation.

I always think that someone is giving you a really precious thing – their time. How do you make sure that you respect each minute of that?

In radio we talk a lot about what the ‘out’ is. What’s the end of this bit of content and then how do you get there in the most entertaining or informative way, ideally in the least amount of time necessary. Now, that doesn’t mean it needs to be short. It just needs to be appropriate to the story.

3. What are you trying to achieve?

Why should someone listen to your podcast/radio show etc? If the answer to that is ‘me’ then it’s not enough. If you have a theme – do you then deliver on it in every episode?

If you say your podcast is about something in particular, how much of your podcast is dedicated to that. There’s nothing wrong with going off-topic, but if you sell it on a certain thing – do you deliver it on it?

4. Does your topic and focus have the ability to attract new listeners?

The podcast world is a competitive one. You have to have a clear proposition that can be explained to people (ideally in the artwork or title). The podcast needs to sell itself without you doing all the heavy lifting. If someone hits play on a podcast, they’ve also got to be able to understand it in the first 30seconds. Most people will try before they buy!

5. Role definition

If you’re podcast is a group show, then people need to understand who the participants are. Great radio shows have great character definition.

If you take the Scott Mills show – Scott and Chris have very defined characters. When they introduce a topic you already know how they’re each going to react – that’s part of the fun. But, guess what, how they act isn’t an exact facsimile of how they are in real life – their personalities are adapted to service the show and its listeners.

6. Leave out things that are unnecessary and unrelatable

It’s connected to respecting the listeners’ time, but it annoys me when shows leave in things like technical cock-ups or long meta discussions about what you’re doing. It’s never as interesting as hosts think it is and it gets in the way of delivering the content that listeners want to hear.

On commercial radio it’s an even bigger crime. As a listener I know a breakfast show has to fit in 10mins of ads, news, travel etc that’s never dropped, so if a presenter is wasting a link taking about the show, rather than delivering it, it’s incredibly frustrating.

Also – remember your listeners lives. Talking about how hard your life is etc, when a Nurse could be listening, I find quite offensive! Generally if you’re making media, you’re in a privileged position, remembering that can be a good thing that keeps your focused on delivering for a listener.

7. Get a mentor.

If you’re new to podcasting, or a show, find someone who’s done it, or something like it, to help you out and critique your material. Yes, you may figure it out on your own, but you’ll have wasted loads of time getting there.

If the world’s number one tennis player, Andy Murray, has a coach, then it wouldn’t go amiss for someone new to something – and in podcasting that’s the producer or presenter – having one too. Coaches and mentors are good for everyone.

Summary

Great radio/audio seems effortless. It rarely is.

It’s the same with many videos that successful YouTubers make. It looks like they’ve thrown something together, but they’re often well-thought out, tightly produced and edited.

If there is an influx of YouTubers into podcasting, I hope they learn about the medium, get help from those who are experienced with it, and produce great content that delivers for their existing audience as well as bring in loads of new listeners too.

The most successful radio stations on YouTube

I’ve been spending a lot of this year looking at YouTube, and with Fun Kids we’ve been putting a significant effort into growing views and revenue.

As part of this work, I’ve been looking at how UK radio has been doing and I thought it made sense to share some of the data. Here’s a link to a Google Sheet with the stats for all UK radio stations on YouTube (that I could find).

Firstly though, why should radio stations bother with YouTube?

I think it’s easy to forget that, for many, YouTube is itself a social network. Audiences, particularly younger audiences, subscribe to channels so they see new videos in their feed. For these groups delivering regular, consistent content is essential. And it can pay dividends too.

Growing a subscription base means that new videos grow views faster. Having a direct relationship with the people who like your content means that you’re more likely to get ‘thumbs up’ and comments. Creating engagement around your videos also means that YouTube’s algorithm is more likely to show your video to other users too.

Creating quality content is also an important measure. It will help your videos be promoted around the site if you have decent viewing times for your content. That’s people watch through your videos rather than abandoning them part way along. If you have high view times, then YouTube regards it as a ‘good’ video. The result? More viral distribution around the site.

The other way to make sure your videos are discoverable is to ensure that the metadata is good. Titles, descriptions and tags are the tools that YouTube uses to power its search engine (the second most popular search engine on the internet after Google). Are you maximising the chance of your content being found?

Building audience on YouTube is good for radio too. Great video can reinforce the connection with your existing audience, and it can show non-listeners the kind of station you are. But it can work against you too. Badly filmed content without purpose or respecting potential listeners time can damage your brand values as well.

It’s also something that can be profitable. 1 million views generates around £1,000 in Google Adsense money. Strong audiences to all videos (aided by a good subscription base) can also provide a revenue source from direct clients too.

In my stats below I’ve grouped together multiple channels from brands. For example Radio 1 has its regular channel and a Vevo channel, Capital has a profile for each station and at Fun Kids we have a number of channels doing different jobs. The data is also showing all consumption, including non UK. However, what I’ve tried to do to compare stations more honestly, is to look at data from the last 30 days. So all this is mainly what happened in November.

The chart is sorted on total views in the last 30 days.

Station

Last 30 Days: Views

Last 30 Days: Subs

Total Subs
(not deduped)

1 BBC BBC Radio 1 (All) 42,483,624 58,407 3,951,607
2 Global Capital FM (All) 13,604,269 19,909 1,301,502
3 Wireless talkSPORT 5,599,242 7,786 596,352
4 BBC BBC 1Xtra 4,062,933 7,640 374,773
5 Folder Fun Kids (All) 3,318,413 15,691 40,396
6 Bauer Magic 1,358,325 922 7,287
7 BBC Kermode & Mayo 895,949 1,159 109,805
8 BBC BBC Asian Network 759,866 2,342 33,360
9 Bauer Absolute Radio 692,216 582 38,945
10 BBC BBC Radio 2 625,311 998 39,571
11 Global Capital Xtra 604,447 1,907 31,895
12 UKRD Pirate FM 362,416 180 866
13 Premier Premier (All) 309,171 739 16,893
14 Bauer In Demand 299,234 187 63,321
15 Bauer Heat Radio 218,711 109 75,570
16 BBC BBC Radio 6Music 208,425 662 21,158
17 Global Classic FM 163,187 256 8,258
18 Global LBC 158,704 994 17,125
19 BBC BBC 5 Live 157,401 189 6,653
20 BBC BBC Radio 3 155,841 415 18,390

Radio 1 and 1xtra, Capital and talkSPORT are doing really well. If you have a look at their channels, the reason is obvious – high quality content, regularly updated and focused.

Whilst there’s now a load of Jingle Bell Ball videos on the Capital channel, if you scroll backwards a little bit you can see the regular content they put online. Yes, there’s good video of studio guests, like the Shawn Mendes video below, but it’s highlighting a specific part of the interview, with a good thumbnail image too (if you look in the grid view). It’s designed to be appealing for Shawn fans and be clickable, rather than just be ‘Shawn Mendes radio interview’ dumped onto YouTube.

Much of Capital’s other video content is bespoke material, again with a view to it being consumed by those who live on YouTube. But often these are off the back of people coming in for a radio interview. Here’s a piece about How To Be A YouTuber – taking guests and doing more with it.

Radio 1’s main channel takes a different approach. Looking across their grid it shows a whole variety of different material. It’s part of the problem they have because of the nature of their radio station which comprises specialist music, silly games, celebrity interviews, massive live lounge guests, stunts etc. Whilst an accurate reflection of the nature of what they do, it does not help them benefit from how YouTube is used.

This may sound a little harsh when their channels is by far the world’s most popular radio station channel, delivering 40m views a month! However, much of their video consumption is to the content with superstars. Whoever does a Taylor Swift cover is going to generate millions of views for that video. I think what tells more of a story is when you look at the smaller videos – things that are the more regular content.

Radio 1 talks a lot about their 3m YouTube subscribers – an amazing success. But their YouTube strategy isn’t turning those subscribers into regular viewers of the content. For non-superstar content the videos average 5k to 20k views. Usually on YouTube each video should be generating 10% of the subscriber base, they’re clearly not.

Generally having lots of subscribers is good, as more people then see each new piece of content in their feeds and so are more likely to watch it. But with such diverse content and lots of different reasons that people are subscribing, are they actually prompting feed blindness, with people automatically ignoring the material?

Of course, all of this is a lovely problem to have!

I think talkSPORT’s channel is a great example of not needing the budgets and access of Radio 1 and Capital to do well.

They upload a new video daily, but they’re usually based on graphics rather than bespoke filmed video. The content is focused, usually funny and with good clickable hooks. Sport is also a passion centre for many and can prompt lots of discussion (good for YouTube’s audience-driving algorithms).

This video is a great example of something most stations with a copy of Adobe Premier could, if they wanted, for their station.

At Fun Kids we’re operating six different channels that are all doing different jobs. Our aim is to build a variety of distinct platforms on YouTube that captures young audiences’ imaginations. We’re making a concerted effort at creating channel brands around topics driven by particular presenters. Our first major effort is around video games, with N60Sean.

The recent success that channel has had, has come from combining different elements that are popular with younger audiences alongside good production and personality. In these videos we’re less about promoting Fun Kids as a radio station and more about getting viewers to love Sean and the videos he make. As he’s the breakfast presenter of the radio station, we hope doing it this way round builds him up as a celebrity people also want to listen to as well as growing the channel for us in its own right.

The video below shows Sean using the WWE 2k17 game to create a narrative with other videogame YouTubers.

If you’re committed to growing a channel on YouTube for your radio station, the best thing I can recommend is reading YouTube’s Playbook for Brands. It’s a brilliant insight into growing a channel and will really help.

There’s a lot more to say on YouTube – both from good and bad radio practice, to what other people can teach us, so I’ll try and do some more posts.

 

 

RAJAR Q3/2016

I’ve spent most of today in Denmark, working with the programming team planning Radio Days Europe (early bird tickets available now!), so I haven’t been able to do a deep dive into RAJAR, so here’s a quick look at the toplines.

London

It remains a ridiculously close commercial market share battle in London. LBC leads healthily with 5.1%, then Heart and Kiss are tied at 4.4%, Capital at 4.3% and Magic at 4.1%. All so close.

Global

Capital continues to grow its network reach with the brand now reaching 8.7m people and generating 50m hours. The addition of the old Juice to the network doesn’t harm that headline figure, as the Liverpool station has delivered marginally higher numbers now it’s branded as Capital.

Over at the Heart network it’s pretty stable Y on Y and Q on Q, though this quarter they’re publishing data for Heart Xtra (the nationally delivered fill-in-the-gaps version) which has a reach of 663k

Radio X is still struggling to make a mark in London. The people who like it, love it! Its average hours in this incarnation are strong – around 6 – but its reach has dropped back again – to 378k – when it used to do c500k as XFM. Across the UK, however, it’s had its best network figure for a long time with 1.2m reach and delivering over 9m hours.

Capital Xtra has been consolidating in London with reach fairly stable at 599k and across the UK, again, delivering record figures with 1.3m tuning in and generating over 6m hours.

Digital

Digital figures on the whole are good. 45.5% of all radio hours are now digital (that’s DAB, internet or through the telly) with DAB continuing to make up the bulk – 71%. It’s also DAB’s biggest ever quarter with 24.23m people listening on the platform each week.

Bauer

Kiss has taken a bit of a hit with London and the Network down year on year and quarter on quarter. Its sister station, Kisstory, though continues to grow from strength to strength and is now the biggest commercial digital station, racking up 1.6m listeners and 8.9m hours.

Magic’s been recovering after a few poor books in both London and across the country, whilst its new stations are doing good business. Magic Chilled is generating 240k reach, up a touch on its first book whilst Mellow Magic is up from 380k to 423k.

The main Absolute Radio has been steadily building its reach and now hits 2.6m – the highest since the 2008 re-brand, aided by a good performance from 105.8 in London and 105.2 in the West Midlands (where reach is up from 199k to 241k). 80s continues to drop back, still probably feeling the pinch from it’s move from D1 to D2. Overall the Absolute Network is delivering record reach for Bauer.

A tough book for the Wireless Group which sees talkSPORT and talkSPORT2 drop around 12% in reach (whilst hours hold up). This pops talkSPORT under 3m reach the first time in a while. TS2 sees a small drop from 284k to 250k.

A shame for the new Virgin Radio which sees a reach drop from 409k to 344k for its second book, whilst its stable mate, talkRADIO grows reach from 224k to 303k. talkRADIO also grows its average hours too, resulting in a solid hours bump from 839k to 1.3m.

It’s probably not wise to read too much into the ups and downs of national stations with a sub 400k audience, especially those reporting quarterly, as the sampling is resulting in quite a bit of volatility at the moment.

Nation Broadcasting

But, it’s not just the big boys that are playing digitally. Nation Broadcasting has three new digital projects on the go – Thames Radio (which has yet to report), Chris Country which from a standing start hits 35k passionate listeners in London (who are listening for 8.5 hours each) and digital-only Dragon Radio in Wales (which this book doesn’t entirely cover) starting off with a small 11k reach. Early days for all of these stations, but it will be interesting to see if they can build consistent growth over the coming books. They’re the first smaller radio group to launch new digital-only’s, but right behind them are UKRD with stations like Encore and their Oldies spin-offs and Lincs FM with things like Suffolk First.

Nation’s original analogue stations have had their best book this year (with a 16% Q on Q reach bump) and their hours back over 2m.

Over at the Beeb, Radio 1 is up Q on Q, heading back towards 10m (this quarter – 9.87m) and is back over 60m hours (62m) for the first time this year. R2 continues to have ALL OF THE LISTENERS with a slight drop in reach and hours but still delivering a stonking 15.1m people every week. Radio 3 does what it always does – bobs over and under 2m reach (this one’s an under). Radio 4 consolidates a good Brexit quarter, with its reach remaining over 11m and sister station 4 Extra is back to a reach over 2million. 6Music has its highest ever reach at 2.3m

Fun Kids

It was the first RAJAR for our children’s radio station Fun Kids this quarter. We’ve always held off being part of RAJAR as it doesn’t measure our actual audience – kids under 10! But, as we’re now national it made sense to experiment a bit and see what data it can give us and whether we can use it to support the business. So, we decided to just measure the London bit and see what drops out.

So, today’s figure shows that 10+ in London we’re at 58,000 a week (with the 15+ bit at 24,000). It’s at the lower end of what we expected, but looking at the data a bit more closely I expect that 10+ figure to probably bounce around between 50k and 100k in the capital over the next few quarters.

As a business we also use TGI Youth to measure the important bit – the children tuning in. It has a nice, large, robust kids sample, that shows we reach 291k kids (aged 7 to 19) across the UK each week.

It’s been an interesting first book, we’ll see what the trend’s like, but in the meantime there’s still a little way to go before we’re challenging Capital for the top spot.

More to read:
Adam Bowie, Paul Easton and John Rosborough

Radio Formats & Union Jack

I’ve just got back home after a lovely holiday in Bergerac, followed by a quick trip to Amsterdam for a RadioDays Europe production meeting. If you’re aren’t aware RDE is the biggest conference in European radio and is an amazing melting pot of different people and ideas.

I’ve been involved with the event for a number of years supporting what they do online, but this year I’ve been bumped up to the programme committee. Hark at me etc.

The committee is made up of a load of radio folks from all across the continent and we’re tasked with putting together around 50 sessions that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the radio sector. We had a good kick off meeting and were joined by lots of other radio folk who were contributing ideas and thoughts. Oh – and if you have an idea for a session please email me – and I’ll suggest it too.

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Anyway, the thing I want to talk about is the dinner we had after the first meeting. At my end of the table it was me and new radio colleagues from Finland, Denmark and Switzerland. As I’m sure you’re aware, radio folk are never short of topics to talk about, so aided by some booze it was a good night.

What I was a surprised about were some of the UK radio things I got interrogated about and also how some general assumptions about radio formats and interest in show types was very different.

There was lots of interest in the new D2 stations and the performance of things like LBC. Many European public broadcasters are, often because of DAB, suddenly facing new formats competing with their heritage position, so they were keen to know what was coming next. They were also interested in finding out about Bauer – as the company has started to make a big splash acquiring stations in the Nordic countries and much of the reporting lines lead to the management in Golden Square.

The biggest surprise though were that none of my colleagues, later joined by a Swedish one too, could understand why you would want to talk about sport on the radio. Listening to sports – fine. But a discussion afterwards, they said there would be entirely no interest from their listeners.

Now, sport isn’t exactly my core interest, but I performed a spirited defence of 606 and talkSPORT. They knew it worked in the UK, but were adamant it wouldn’t work in their own countries – and a station like talkSPORT would have no chance whatsoever – their listeners cared about what the scores were not why they were.

Was it just received wisdom, assumptions or a deep understanding of their audience? Who knows. Though I did find myself volunteering to start a competitive sports radio station in Stockholm. Perhaps I’d had a little too much wine.

What is in no doubt is that in the UK, we forget how vibrant and developed our radio market is, something I think is a result of a very well funded BBC, a resilient commercial sector and the potential that DAB has brought to the country.

Indeed, another new station has just popped on the dial as of a few minutes ago – Union Jack – a new national radio station that’s taken the very last few kilobits on D2.

Union Jack is the brainchild of the guys behind Jack FM in Oxford and the original progenitors of Absolute Radio – Donnach O’Driscoll, Clive Dickens and Ian Walker.

The station’s based on the main Jack service – an irreverent classic hits format – but with a slight twist in that it’s only going to play British music. I think this is a neat concept and something that will lend itself to marketing and stunting pretty well. It’s also driven by Futuri’s Listener Driven Radio product. This allows listeners to vote up songs (from a wider database than would normally be on a similarly formatted service) to get them on the radio.

In reality it’s got some clever rules around it to stop it being, er, Boaty McBoatfaced all the time, whist still giving the perception of being listener-controlled. It’s also a good way to engage listeners and build a database.

No doubt it will be another format our friends in mainland Europe are interested in and I wish all the Jack guys success with their new radio station.

RAJAR Q2/2016

A plethora of DAB related news in this quarter’s RAJAR. This is the first survey that’s included stations from ‘D2’ the Sound Digital national multiplex that launched at the end of February.

This saw the addition of new stations including talkRADIO, Virgin Radio and Magic Chilled as well as “upgrades” of stations like Jazz FM and Heat going from a smaller number of areas to nationwide coverage. It also saw some “downgrades” too, with Absolute 80s and Planet Rock moving from D1 which covers over 90% of the UK population, to D2 which covers around 75%.

Plus some of these stations – Magic Chilled and Jazz FM – are broadcast in DAB+, so it’s the first time we’re seeing DAB+ listening behaviour.

The topline digital news, is that 65% of the UK listen to some form of digital radio (DAB, DTV or Online) each week. This digital consumption now accounts for 45.3% of all radio listening (up from 44.1% last quarter).

Half of the UK’s radio listeners (49.7%) now listen to radio on DAB each week.

As I mentioned on the Radio Today podcast, I really think we’re in a golden age of radio right now. The scale of the broadcast platforms means that these news stations can get decent-sized audiences and justify investment in a range of content with significant presentation and production.

Areas that had around 10 radio stations on analogue 10 years ago are now likely to have easy access to 50. Whether it’s new national stations like 6Music or Virgin Radio, upgrades of stations like Kiss and LBC to be nationwide or new local stations like Radio Yorkshire and Great Yorkshire Radio, listeners have never had it so good.

The idea of having to put up with a “least worst option” is long gone and listeners now get to self-schedule by picking and mixing a variety of stations to match their mood or need.

Wireless Group and Bauer

The second national multiplex was a big investment for the Wireless Group with the launch of talkRADIO, Virgin Radio and talkSPORT2.

Virgin Radio’s kicked off with 409k reach and 1.4m hours. talkSPORT2’s tempted 285k to tune in and added nearly a million hours for the sales team to sell and talkRADIO’s debuted with 224k and 840k hours.

Over at Bauer, the reduction in coverage for Planet Rock and Absolute 80s seems to have had an effect on the audience figures.

Planet Rock has declined from 1.2m to 986k and Absolute 80s has fallen back 1.720m to 1.581m. Kisstory, on the hand, which has seen its digital coverage grow, adds 100k reach going from 1.440m to 1.540m, putting it in spitting distance to capture AR80s ‘biggest commercial digital station’ crown.

Heat has seen no appreciable gains in their coverage upgrade with their figures dropping back from 878k to 872k, though seeing a small increase in hours. Heat hasn’t really seen any growth for a little while, so I’d assume it’s more likely to be a programme-related rather than platform-related issue.

Two of Bauer’s new stations are interesting to compare – Mellow Magic (think Ace, Percy Sledge and Sutherland Brothers) and Magic Chilled (Adele, TLC, Rhianna). Both are on D2, but Chilled is broadcast using the newer flavour of DAB, DAB+, whilst Mellow is in the regular version of DAB.

Mellow’s done 380k, whilst Chilled’s reached 233k. For both around 80% of their audience is through DAB. I think this bodes very well for DAB+ as a digital radio format. Obviously a like for like comparison is impossible – as they’re two differently formatted radio stations – but Chilled really is a great sounding station and it’s had an impressive debut.

For new stations, the first quarter isn’t always brilliantly indicative, and as the stations grow and develop their trajectory may change significantly. What is interesting though is how similar the Magic Chilled and talkRADIO audience figures are. 233k vs 224k. I imagine the cost base of the two are quite different even if the reach is very similar.

I think Chilled’s success is partly down to cross-promotion and the power of the umbrella brand. No above the line marketing, but it’s clearly a very understandable format. Two songs in, and you know what it’s there to do.

For talkRADIO, as an occasional listener, it clearly varies significantly across the day – it’s challenge is to communicate this breadth, or what the specific shows do. In a competitive media environment this is even harder, but the opinionated/funny nature would surely benefit from well and speedily executed social media – particularly more video – combined with some aggressive PR pushes of content.

I don’t think this is something particularly limited to talkRADIO – cutting through is very hard without big advertising budgets, I know it’s something that we often worry about with Fun Kids. But with the changing nature of listening and the breadth of stations available, marketing is something that all new stations are going to have to more heavily invest in to stand out and grow.

The acquisition by NewsCorp may be the saviour of these new Wireless Group stations, as access to both money and NewsCorp talent and titles will surely benefit the growth of their new stations.

Back to the DAB+, the other DAB+ addition is Jazz FM – who seemed to have added around 100k listeners outside of London (where they broadcast in regular DAB).

The worry for DAB+ use in the UK is that it would deliver Sunday League style audiences. But it looks like it’s making a solid Division 1 performance compared to the Premier League of DAB’s distribution, these all seem very respectable numbers to build on.

Global

More oddities from Radio X. After a poor London performance and strong national data last time round, this quarter London’s had a bit of a resurgence but national (and Manchester) have taken a hit. Another aberration? Or has Virgin Radio’s appearance stolen some of its thunder?

A stellar performance though from LBC – jumping to the number 1 spot in the capital’s share chart – surely driven by three months of pre-Brexit vote discussion? I know it’s a station that generated cume from me from the first time.

Radio 1

Radio 1 continues to face significant pressure. Lowest reach since 2003 at 9.4m and second lowest hours. The station, of course, is up against changing listener behaviour from younger audiences, but I don’t think it can hide entirely behind it.

Radio 1 remains, I imagine, the world’s best funded CHR radio station. £40m on content, significant cross-media marketing support and a digital team any other radio station for kill for. It’s “psychological” 10m reach point is now surely permanently broken and beyond defending. Arresting the decline of 15-24s and 15-34s – where this quarter they’re delivering lowest ever reach and hours for both, is surely what it should now be concentrating on.

Capital Xtra

Global’s Capital Xtra smashed to pieces Choice FM and started afresh, something that destroyed audiences in those early months, but is now paying dividends looking far more prosperous, up from 950k to 1.3m reach year on year.

Jack

Digital opportunities are not limited to the big boys. The guys behind Oxford’s Jack FM launched a digital only version in Surrey and South London, delivering nearly 60k reach, pretty close to the figures their Oxford analogue station gives them. Another demonstration that consistency,  branding and distribution can help build success for any new service.

More to read:
Adam Bowie, Paul Easton and John Rosborough