Opinion: Radio’s Doom, Gloom and Boom!

A brief but firm insight into how the radio scene should look once the balance of power is more evenly spread.

I speak as a former employee of major groups and now as an independent station owner.

During the last few weeks, the industry has fragmented hideously to a complete David & Goliath scenario. Bauer & Global have acted swiftly to refine brands, shed workforce to refine their business models.

Nothing short of scandalous has pretty much been the social media onslaught regarding the cull. Former industry gurus, disgruntled casualties but mainly listeners, have reacted angrily to local wipeouts.

So where’s the joy? Are we lumbered with UK wide domination plus a smattering of low budget BBC locals and Community stations scratting to make ends meet?

In the short terms yes…..however by the end of 2021 most of the UK should be covered with new small scale DAB operators facilitating new brands, ideas, up and coming air talent and seasoned pros returning to past glories.

The discussions and comments from industry colleagues suggest an almost similar explosion to that of Sirius/XM in the US, whereby say Country music dissected to offer 5 or 6 alternative spin offs.

Listener choice indeed!

There’s a red flag though blowing in the wind and it’s the one word that will haunt David…… and Goliath knows it only too well………Sales.

As a station owner I am excited at the choice heading our way, but to get a balance playing field we must connect with operators who have a clear vision to sell 20 or so new brands serving the local Mux. Surely a key add on feature for owners is to offer potential advertising and sponsorship deals. I doubt the new array of brands will be arguing too much over commissions.

I’m enthused by the new operators who are already reaching out with invites to join their platforms if successful. As a Gold station we, like others require additional marketing help…..who doesn’t, to enable us to apply our modern take on a tried and tested formula. The win-win is undoubtedly with new selling agencies to accommodate the potential.

The great names of the past coupled with new talent are around and ready to entertain the post COVID-19/Alexa audiences that seem to be awakening to the choice. Let’s match our ambition carefully by reaching out to sales initatives countrywide to fund our dreams and aspirations.

We can offer a real alternative with high listener engagement if allowed to prosper. The boom is ready to happen.

Goliath need not be afraid though……well not just yet.

Kev Roberts

Former Smooth & Magic presenter and currently the owner of 45 Radio on selective DABs, Apps/Smart Speaker.