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Bauer rebranding 53 stations to The Hits/Greatest Hits

The majority of its acquisitions last year (May 2020)

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GE
thegeek Founding member
I was working part-time in a small warehouse when Real Radio launched in Central Scotland, and it became something of a phenomenon amongst the full-time staff there.
I seem to remember Scot FM (which it replaced) being a bit of a lost cause, so it's as though they went from a standing start, and they did a solid job of it. John Myers knew his stuff.

EDIT: I see Scotland's "Place 2" AM stations are GHR in format but not branded as such. They have kept their 2 branding and have Scottish networked presenters. Wonder how that is working out for them compared to GHR down south. Surely it's an admission people like a degree of localness.

I think I'm right in saying that Bauer's Scottish stations are still mostly networked from Clydebank and Edinburgh with very few English voices, even if the format and music log is dictated from elsewhere - it's interesting to compare with Global who have nothing more than breakfast or drive on Capital, Heart and Galaxy.
WH
what
Galaxy.

Who’s going to break it to them?
GE
thegeek Founding member
what posted:
Galaxy.

Who’s going to break it to them?

I preferred it when it was Beat 106.

(I meant Smooth, of course.)
CO
commseng
Whoever it is I hope they do it Smoothly.
EM
Emily Moore
I was working part-time in a small warehouse when Real Radio launched in Central Scotland, and it became something of a phenomenon amongst the full-time staff there. I'm talking normal people (not radio dorks) shouting at you if you tried to change station. It was a cheesy singalong format and everyone knew it, but it was so upbeat and polished you couldn't help but warm to it. The formula clearly worked and struck a chord, even now I can't say the station name aloud without singing it.

Most of the Real Radio jingles with the familiar sonic logo were made by Bespoke Music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0mqOhbBFAE

These are the ones I remember (the Scottish versions), with even the most grumpy, jobsworth members of staff belting out "Another winnnnerrr, Real Rad-io!". As for the Fugitive/Renegade competitions, they were executed perfectly. My non-geek brother once admitted abandoning a construction site he was managing in Glasgow to search the city centre for "the futigtive".

I guess you can only sustain such a formula for so long without people eventually getting bored.


Real Radio, in that form, could only be sustained for so long because it was so incredibly expensive to run. It was a station very much of its era in that it was sustained by advertising for big-ticket items like cars, holidays, home improvements which were in turn funded by an influx of new money into those northern English, Scottish and South Wales broadcast areas through the economic growth catalysed by New Labour's big-spending policies and ever increasing consumer debt.

The station became characterised by its giveaways ("a car a day in May", for instance) - holidays, cars, large sums of cash, the "another winner" jingle sounding over and over. Crucially, they were doing this within each regional station area rather than as a "network competition", so it was always someone with the same accent as you screaming as they got told they'd won a Ford Fiesta.

People listened to Real predominantly because they wanted to win something, rather than being a fan of the programming. The relationship between listener and station became a transactional one - I'm listening to you because you give people money. Once the economy started to go south around 2008/9 and the giveaways stopped, Real Radio's RAJARs started to go in the same direction. People had no loyalty to the station beyond the fact that it gave them endless chances to win stuff. Ratings halved across several of the stations between 2008 and 2012 - you're not giving away cars like sweets any more, why should I listen?

It was, in my eyes, a salutary lesson in radio programming - Real Radio could probably have put out tone on those frequencies as long as they were handing out cash to people for tuning in and cleaned up in the RAJARs, and the programming alone wasn't enough to keep people once the winning ended.
LH
lhx1985
If anything made Real expensive to run was the local schedule and commitments to operate 24 hour newsrooms during Ofcom/RA beauty contests.

I believe competition prizes were mostly sourced via contra deals with advertisers or sometimes premium rate calls for the big cash prizes... The same as every other network running them.

This is also the period while GCap were pleading poverty, saying that there was no way to make money in the industry. GMG and Chrysalis seemed to manage it, however.

To suggest that a radio station could artificially afford to do contests and be profitable solely because of a government spending policy is a bit 'down the rabbit hole' - regardless of what government was in power at the time.

Real was a good format and was profitable for GMG. GMG Radio was offloaded to plug holes in the wider Guardian group, caused by the decline of its core product and the fact that nobody was buying AutoTrader any more.

You say that the listeners - and they did alright on that score - were all there because they wanted to win something and the relationship was largely transactional. My response to what appears to be an opinion, presented as fact is, as Wikipedia would demand, citation needed.

It's a small fraction of listeners who normally take part in on air contests. For everyone else, it's a little bit of entertainment, so long as the segment isn't too laboured and is suitably short.
Last edited by lhx1985 on 14 February 2021 1:06pm - 2 times in total
TM
tmf9

People listened to Real predominantly because they wanted to win something, rather than being a fan of the programming. The relationship between listener and station became a transactional one - I'm listening to you because you give people money. Once the economy started to go south around 2008/9 and the giveaways stopped, Real Radio's RAJARs started to go in the same direction. People had no loyalty to the station beyond the fact that it gave them endless chances to win stuff. Ratings halved across several of the stations between 2008 and 2012 - you're not giving away cars like sweets any more, why should I listen?


In addition to this, the format of the stations changed a lot after John Myers left at the end of 2008. The music became far more contemporary, long standing phone in programmes were dropped and networked evening/overnight programmes were introduced (to much hostility in Scotland). All GMG's attention seemed to shift to Smooth Radio which was rolling out nationally on DAB and becoming bigger than Real in some areas (especially the North West), Real became Smooth's poor relation.

By the time GMG Radio was sold to Global in 2012, Real sounded awful. The playlist resembled Capital (Example, FloRida, Rizzle Kicks) with a few 80s tracks.
Last edited by tmf9 on 14 February 2021 1:18pm
PH
Philheybrookbay
GH Plymouth news has failed.

Cue Queen -Somebody to Love......
LL
London Lite Founding member


EDIT: I see Scotland's "Place 2" AM stations are GHR in format but not branded as such. They have kept their 2 branding and have Scottish networked presenters. Wonder how that is working out for them compared to GHR down south. Surely it's an admission people like a degree of localness.


They've done the same in Wales with the former Swansea Sound, which has a line-up of Welsh presenters from 6am-midnight on weekdays with overnight with the English GHR network.

However Bauer were under pressure to provide Welsh based output by the Welsh Government on either AM or their market leading FM sister station The Wave which shares a lot more output with Manchester's Hits Radio Network.
TE
tellyblues
Whilst it is true that Real attracted listeners because of competitions, the music and the presenters were a draw.

People at the time would have been understanding that due to the recession the station had to stop giving away big prizes but the format they liked being changed was needless and unforgivable.
VM
VMPhil
They did start making some odd changes towards the end. On the north west station they suddenly dropped the popular breakfast hosts Ditchy and Salty in favour of a new team of three who didn't last very long at all, then it changed a few more times before it became Heart.

11 days later

CF
CallumF
Bauer Media set to acquire Ireland’s Communicorp Group
Quote:
Bauer Media Audio has entered into an agreement to buy Irish-based radio business Communicorp Group subject only to regulatory approval.

The deal is for the group’s Irish stations including Today FM and Newstalk, excluding Communicorp in the UK which runs Global brands.

In addition to the two national stations, Communcorp also owns local stations Spin 1038 and 98FM in Dublin, and Spin Southwest in Limerick, as well as digital radio sport station Off The Ball, digital audio exchange audioXI and aggregated listening platform GoLoud.

Today FM was previously bought by Scottish Radio Holdings in 2002, which was sold to Emap in 2005 and sold to Communicorp in 2007.

Paul Keenan, President of Bauer Media Audio comments, “Radio is very popular in Ireland with more than 80% of the population tuning in every week. The industry makes a vital and much-valued contribution to the country’s rich cultural landscape.

“Communicorp’s award-winning radio stations are reaching record listening highs, and the combination of these highly valued audiences offered alongside fast growing and innovative digital brands means they are well positioned to capitalise on the future development potential of the wider world of audio.

“This offers more choice for listeners alongside enhanced, targeted solutions for advertisers. We are very much looking forward to working with Communicorp CEO Simon Myciunka and his talented team.”

Commenting on the announcement, Communicorp Chairperson, Lucy Gaffney, said: “Communicorp has been at the forefront of Ireland’s media industry for over 30 years and this agreement marks the culmination of an exciting and dynamic journey, which has enhanced and transformed radio in Ireland.

“Hundreds of incredibly talented and special people, both in front of and behind the mic, have made that journey possible and I want to thank them for their enormous contribution to the company. I also want to thank our advertisers, our stakeholders and especially our listeners, for their support and loyalty over many years. Finally, on behalf of the Board, I wish Bauer and everyone at Communicorp continued success for the future.”

https://radiotoday.co.uk/2021/02/bauer-media-set-to-acquire-irelands-communicorp-group/

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