London’s Number 1 Hit Music Station

There must have been some celebrating last night.

95.8 Capital FM has often, since its launch in 1973, been the figurehead for commercial radio. It was, just, the second commercial station in London and its historic success and sound has been coveted and emulated by many. It was also the first to face the challenge of new stations moving into its market and the faded glory of having heritage status. It’s difficult to remain number one when a selection of stations are taking bites out of you.

The first time round Richard Park was in charge, he’d started to see a couple of quarters of decline before leaving Leicester Square in 2001. The massive explosion of stations at that time, a resurgent BBC and some dubious programming choices saw Capital’s figure cliff over the next few years and then hit rock bottom at the beginning of 2006. Since then they’ve plateaued and have started to see slow growth.

Today, they celebrate something that they lost for the first time in Q3 2003, when Heart stole their crown – being the number one commercial station in London. Suddenly the ‘London’s Number 1 Hit Music Station’ tagline is actually correct.

However, it’s a very tight race and Capital has only just nudged ahead. I also think it’s the lowest ever share figure in London to grab the top spot. Indeed, if you have a look at the share chart below these are not great numbers with Capital at a lower share than even the last quarter.

Getting back to number one is a real success for Capital. The station sounds better than it has for a long time, it’s doing what CHR needs to do – play a small number of hits, have a good selection of presenters with a personality and have all the big events. However with such a tight race it’s going to be hard for them to keep that number one spot.


Remember to go to Radio at the Edge

The nature of my day job means that i’m quite often in the midst of radio politics, a decent chunk of which is to do with DAB. It can be quite tiring and it often distracts from the good things that flow out of it. Just with one of our DAB-related projects, Fun Kids – it’s lovely to see the volume of emails we get from listeners (and their Mums) and how closely they follow and support what we do.

But then, that’s the danger with the political side of things. I guess we get caught up in the metadata of radio without thinking much about the product that’s all related to.

Therefore it’s nice to do things that concentrate on the product, listeners and how to be better at things. That’s part of the reason i’m involved with the Radio Academy’s Radio at the Edge conference.

The event is on Monday 9th November and is just £199. I say ‘just’ because it’s probably the best value of any of the radio conferences that you’ll see advertised.

Anyway… we’ve worked really hard to cover the topics and bring people from the companies that are defining how listeners come into contact with ‘audio‘ in the digital space and we’ve tried to work on sessions that will help you generate £££s and cut your costs.

There’s sessions on mobile, programming radio stations, how to visualise what your station does and how music streaming services like Spotify are building a new audio model.

Plus Tony Blackburn will tell some jokes he’s told before, but also talk about how he, as a presenter, is using new technologies to benefit himself and/or the radio stations he works for. Maybe there’s an interesting question in that…

So, who should go? Well, I think anyone who works in radio should. It is inconceivable, that digital (whether that’s DAB, the internet or mobile) won’t affect the job you do and it might help you out if you’re the person in your building who actually knows something about it all.

And… if you’re trying to get into the industry (or move within it) meeting the other delegates who’s budgets are probably the only part of a radio station’s that are growing, might be a good idea too.
Hard sell over? Here’s a link to find out more.