Reading about radio, i’m always surprised how negative it is. Now whilst that maybe rich bearing in mind some of my posts, I find it odd that people seemingly have such a downer on the medium. It’s always ‘doomed’ or in apparent decline or destined to be replaced by the internet. In addition all you ever hear is what stations are doing is wrong.
When people slag a station off to me, especially something that has a significant amount of listeners, I always say that there isn’t one right way of doing things. Both Radio 1 and Radio 4 have a great breakfast shows, but there’s no need for either to adopt each other’s style.
It was interesting, therefore, to see a post about radio content in alt.radio.digital. It’s a vicious newsgroup where nothing ever positive seems to be said. In the post it linked to an interview given by the head of Radio Nova, a French commercial radio station with a broader outlook than the bottom line. The best quote in the article is this:
As head of broadcasting, I have two objectives: not to lose money, and to ensure that Radio Nova’s image is long-lasting. Of course, we can make a profit, but this is not my priority. I simply have to make sure that we still exist next year and that we are in good financial shape.
Since publicity [advertising] receipts are indexed according to the audience, my role is to make sure that we do not drop below one-and-a-half audience points. Conversely, exceeding two-and-a-half points might also put the radio station’s image in danger: if Nova were to have too many listeners, this would signify that we have lost the distinctive character which attracts our listeners. This distinctive character allows us to sell our advertising time more expensively than our commercial rivals because our station has a public of so-called ‘early adopters’ which is very unusual. These listeners are really at the forefront of new trends. We value the uniqueness and the curiosity of our audience and my work consists of keeping a balance between these two factors.
Whilst sounding, er, very French, I thought it was a great attitude to have. And a very different way to look at the business of radio. Now, whilst I don’t neccessarily intend on following their example, it was refreshing to hear about it.
You can read the whole speech (in English) here.