Skinner vs Skins

XFM gets a bit of a schedule shake-up today as Ian Camfield returns to the station after his brief soujourn at K-Rock. The other big change sees radio veteran Richard Skinner, 56, join the station. There’s no doubt that Richard’s a great DJ, he’s presented on Radio 1, Capital, GLR, Virgin, Magic, Virgin Classic Rock, Classic Gold, BBC Radio Berkshire and Original 106, however, it does seem an interesting signing for XFM. The argument against says that as a youth station, having  a DJ twice the age of its average audience member seems a bit odd. The argument for says that XFM’s a music service and Skinner gives XFM some more musical clout.

Personally i’m not so sure about the hire. Even though XFM has moved away from the broader personality stuff recently and is focusing more on talking about the music, Skinner will have to work hard to connect with his much younger audience. Of course, there is another argument that he’ll bring some of his older followers to the station. Good for reach, no doubt, but not so brilliant for hours. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

Meanwhile new kind on the block, NME Radio, has a schedule shift of its own – the addition of Skins Radio to the station. Every night from 7pm, Skins Radio will combine new music acts and interviews with the new Skins stars presented by James Theaker and Daniel Kaluuya. It’s young, young, young and seems even more so when compared to the addition of Skinner at XFM. It should also do very well for NME Radio, who have, I think, one of the youngest average ages for any station in RAJAR.

[disclosure: we do some online work for NME Radio]

New Heart Network – Day 1

Today, the first wave of the Heartification process kicked in, with Radio Broadland, SGR Ipswich, SGR Colchester, Hereward, Chiltern Bedford, Chiltern Dunstable and Northants 96 (update: oh, and Q103) moving from the One Network to the Heart Network. Whilst the change is significant, the stations have been runnning the Heart music log for some time and have gradually moved to the Heart positioner – More Music Variety.

I thought it would be interesting to have a listen and do a programming log of a new local Heart in the 10am hour this morning. This is the first hour of the new networked Toby Anstis show.  It’s a bit mean to look at a first day, as there’ll naturally be teething trouble, but I thought it would be a good to get an insight into their thoughts about how the network progamming will sit with the local programming. I caught it at about 10.03 this morning.

Toby Anstis, 10am, A Heart East Station

Music: Atlantic Star – Secret Lovers
Production: More Music Variety –  This is Heart
Music: Leona Lewis – Run
Music: Blue – All Rise
Production: More Music Variety –  This is Heart
Music: Jordin Sparks – Air
Production: Dream Destination (on Heart) promo
Music: Tracy Chapman – Baby Can I Hold You Tonight
Music: Take That – Rule the World
Production: More Music Variety –  This is Heart
Music: Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
Production: This is Heart
Music: Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry
First Link!: (around 40secs) A music back-anno – stick with heart – generic weather – (talks about snow in some places) – reference to kids going back to school – mention of a listener stuck in bed with a cold – plug to get in touch using – text 82122 (start with heart) or get on the phone (though no number mentioned) – then a music promote before a but of ‘this is heart’ production
Ad Break: 30sec gap (I imagine where first ad should of gone) then a workdays sponsor promo in what would have been the second ad
Production: This is Heart
Music: Wet Wet Wet – Goodnight Girl
Production: Contest Trail
Music: James Morrison – Broken Strings
Link 2: Back- anno – more music variety on heart – song played for Jason at Asda – appeal for first day at work stories – 82122 start with heart – promote for listeners to call when they hear the BA boarding call (but no explainer of what that means) – timecheck – forward promote of music
Ad break: – no problems – workdays sponsor promo as second ad
Production: This is Heart
Music: Flashdance –  What a Feeling
Production: More Music Variety – This is Heart
Music: Jamelia – Superstar
Link 3: Speedlink to promote Mariah up next
Ad Break: normal ad break
Link 4: Into news “mention of on fm, digital radio ad online” (not so good for stations who aren’t on digital) News: 1minute national news, sport, entertainment with a more at plug
Production: Local Heart Breakfast promo (30secs)
Production: Dream destination promo
Push for Dream Destination (across the Heart network) – uses the national 0845 number
Production: This is Heart

Overall it’s a tight commercial radio hour, adopting, without mentioning it,  a 30minute non-stop sequence out of the 10am news. There was then Four links across the hour, getting through 11 songs.

I guess the thing that I was most surprised about was how little local drops there were in the hour. I would of expected local promos at least out of ad breaks and thought they would have localised the production with town mentions etc. This is very easy to do, so is obvioulsy a strategic thing. It will be interesting to see if in the local hours it follows the same pattern. (Update – apparently London has ‘London’s Heart’ production)

In the presenter links, there was the standard network practice of generic mentions of people and places without locations. I’d be interested to see if there’s any split links for London.

A few catch-all errors, like mentioning digital, when half the East Anglia stations aren’t on it and speaking about a competition as if people have heard it before – but really that’s a but nitpicky.

Toby sounds good and slick, allthough I thought they could have done with some early links in the hour, at least for today, providing some context for East of England listeners. Especially as for many listeners, tuning in for the first time after Christmas, the whole Heart thing may have come out of no where. Therefore using jocks (networked or not) to hold their hand is important.