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Is 'cool' Radio 2 now too hot for its own good?

 
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gfloyd



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:27 am    Post subject: Is 'cool' Radio 2 now too hot for its own good? Reply with quote

An interesting article in the Independent recently. Any thoughts about what they say?

==========================================
Critics say it's not the station's job to promote the Scissor Sisters
By Tim Luckhurst
Published: 10 December 2006

BBC Radio 2 is cool. Credibility has replaced cosiness on the network that boasts middle-youth icons Jeremy Vine, Chris Evans and foppish stand-up comedian Russell Brand as presenters.

The revolution was confirmed in October when Radio 2 signed the high priest of hip, Bob Dylan. Starting on 23 December, his Theme Time Radio Hour will bring Dylan's playlists to UK audiences for the first time. It will mark a fitting climax to six years in which Radio 2 has left competition in its wake, establishing itself as Britain's premier radio station, with a regular audience of more than 13 million listeners and an unparalleled Rajar share of 15.7 per cent.

One man has steered the music policy at the heart of this creative transformation. Colin Martin, Radio 2's executive producer of music, chairs the all-powerful playlist committee that decides each week which new releases will be added to the output. Inclusion on the A list (tracks receiving about 20 plays per week) can make a band. Stars that have benefited include the Georgian jazz/blues singer Katie Melua, Fife songstress KT Tunstall, James Blunt, Norah Jones and New York glam rock outfit the Scissor Sisters.

"Prior to Colin Martin, Radio 2 had an esoteric and shambolic music policy," says the radio industry consultant Paul Robinson, a former head of BBC network radio strategy. "He has made it coherent, given it real shape and focus and really younged it down."

But now Martin, the former drummer in the 1960s blues and rock band the Artwoods, has announced his retirement and the biggest job in music radio is up for grabs. Outside the BBC, radio industry leaders pray it will go to someone less ruthlessly determined to dominate the airwaves.

"I would like to see him replaced by someone who is entirely focused on delivering the BBC's public-service purposes," says Lisa Kerr, of the commercial radio companies body the RadioCentre. "Radio 2 performs very poorly against its public-purpose objectives. It has a format freedom that is totally incompatible with what commercial radio companies are allowed to do."

Analysis from the RadioCentre reveals that Martin's years in charge of Radio 2 coincide with a 40 per cent increase in listening by commercial radio's key demographic target group of 15- to 34-year-olds. The average number of hours they tune in to the BBC station has gone up by a dramatic 53 per cent.

"Once you commit to a strategy that is specifically designed to drive market share and pursue a younger audience, you are targeting commercial radio's heartland, whether you admit it or not," says Steve Orchard, operations director of GCap Media. "Colin Martin has been a very effective director of music, but why is the BBC pursuing market share at all? Its job is to fill niches the commercial sector cannot or will not fill."

Ms Kerr says: "If you give tens of millions of pounds of public money to a national FM radio station, it inevitably plays a role in promoting new talent. But the truth is there are loads of places where you can hear Boyzone or the Scissor Sisters. We were very disappointed that the Government did not take a much more critical view of Radio 2 during the charter review process."

"Some of commercial radio's loss to Radio 2 is the commercial sector's own fault," says Mr Robinson. "They have not been at their creative best in recent years. But the problem is real because research proves that once someone becomes a Radio 2 listener they do not want to leave. Commercial stations find it almost impossible to pull them back out of the pot."

That makes Radio 2 a dangerous enemy for commercial radio stations. "The BBC is being pushed on to the back foot," says Professor Steven Barnett of Westminster University. "Radio 2 is getting in the way of the profits of a lot of companies. All eyes will be on the service licence the BBC Trust draws up for it. I suspect it may have to withdraw a bit from popular music in favour of news, documentary and talk."

By the time Colin Martin hangs up his headphones in March it may be clear that is the price the BBC will pay for his formidable ability to predict musical taste.
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gfloyd



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thoughts would be that the pendelum is about to swing back the other way towards Radio 2 becoming more PSB oriented. Anticipating this Douglas is hiring as many younger and edgier presenters as possible in advance of this.
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Rachel
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted on the R2 MB a while back on how R2 is turning into the R1 of the 80s but got laughed out of town.......

I like the way R2 is going; all of us, 40 ish Embarassed year olds just want our youth back... Smile
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gfloyd



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I suspect it may have to withdraw a bit from popular music in favour of news, documentary and talk."


That quote doesn't fill me with much joy. Nobody on the old boards was arguing for that. The "anti's" if I can call them that, wanted more traditional music and presenting, not more talk.
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reckon! "Radio 2's lead over commercial radio narrows during the year after the BBC Trust insists on more public service speech items and more non-pop music tracks being introduced on to the daytime shows?
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Cherskiy



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gfloyd wrote:
I suspect it may have to withdraw a bit from popular music in favour of news, documentary and talk."


Imagine the likes of RB's show duplicated six or seven times during the course of the week.... heaven help us. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

gfloyd wrote:
"
That quote doesn't fill me with much joy. Nobody on the old boards was arguing for that. The "anti's" if I can call them that, wanted more traditional music and presenting, not more talk.


I am one of them - less talk, more music. Documentarys are exempt, however - I do like these, but they at least have a point to them.

Cherskiy
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Scott Nelson
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm beginning to doubt Russell Brand as a signing now. Sad
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gfloyd



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott Nelson wrote:
I'm beginning to doubt Russell Brand as a signing now. Sad


Geez that didnt take long. Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, seriously, I am not liking the endless prattle and very few tracks. Methinks Russell Brand would be better off on Radio 5 Live. He talks more than what Mo Dutta does (and that's saying something)! Rolling Eyes
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Cherskiy



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott Nelson wrote:
I'm beginning to doubt Russell Brand as a signing now. Sad


<Applause>>

See, you know we make sense.....! Smile

The sooner LD realises what kind of mess she's made to the Saturday schedules, the better.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sundays are just as bad! Shocked
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Daz_M



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is one thing I really hate about commercial radio. They think we want to here more music which is wrong. I want to be entertained when I listen to the radio.

The one and only reason why commercial radio is doing so badly is 99% of its output is just utter crap.

A breakfast crew in the morning, love songs/problem shows late at night. All music being the same (80's 90's and today)

Radio 2 has introduced me to so many artists (Nick Drake, Longview, John Martyn etc etc) that I never would have found if I had listened to commercial radio.

If they had a good show on a commercial station then I would listen. I use to listen to Pete & Geoff on Virgin Breakfast.

My favourite show at the moment isn't on Radio 2 but is Geoff Lloyd's late night show on Virgin. Virgin decided to remove Virgin Love and Jezza's late night confessions and put Geoff Lloyd in that slot. A presenter who is different, has been allowed to do what he wants to do - and the result. A listener away from Radio 2.

It is easy for the stupid idiots of commercial radio to attack Radio 2 but they should look at there output. If you put something good on you WILL get listeners away from Radio 2. If you put smashy and nicey and Alan Patridge on which is what 99% of people do, then you won't get any.

Another thought is perhaps, just maybe us in the UK who pay the BBC actually like the station? We pay for it, we like it, why should someone who is struggling in there own jobs in tinpot radio world try and ruin Radio 2 so it makes there own appalling output seem more appealing.

Surely the challenge for them is to make better programmes, rather than attack those who do make good shows.

At this moment in time there seems to be no person or station up to the challenge. No wonder Radio 2 is doing so well.
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lonegroover



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gfloyd wrote:
"I suspect it may have to withdraw a bit from popular music in favour of news, documentary and talk."

That quote doesn't fill me with much joy. Nobody on the old boards was arguing for that. The "anti's" if I can call them that, wanted more traditional music and presenting, not more talk.


No disrespect to them, and the "antis" are entitled to their personal taste and their viewpoint of course - but we shouldn't confuse the interests of the listeners as a whole with theirs.
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Ella Sailyour



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lonegroover wrote:
No disrespect to them, and the "antis" are entitled to their personal taste and their viewpoint of course - but we shouldn't confuse the interests of the listeners as a whole with theirs.


It depends on who the listeners as a whole are defined as being, of course.

Ella
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lonegroover just can't get it through his thick head that the people who disagree with him are actually listeners too..
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and while I've no objection to lonegroover perving over pictures of Branson and Evans in bed together in the privacy of his own padded cell, do we all have to be subjected to such stomach-turning images?
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Clive55



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect the director general of Radio 2 has a cunning plan to stem the popularity of Radio 2 by appoiunting Russell Brand with his non-stop inconsequential twaddle on a saturday night.
If Russell is kept in that one hole it might not be too bad, but if they start peppering the R2 schedules with such boring tripe, it would certainly dent the stations listernership.
I know some object to Chris Evans, but to me he is entertaining & respects Radio 2 & its audience.
When people talk of "edgier" presenters & music, I worry. I speaks of boring Xfm and 6 music to me. Please, no!!
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lonegroover



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BullfrogJones wrote:
lonegroover just can't get it through his thick head that the people who disagree with him are actually listeners too..


No, you're wrong again, BullfrogJones. What you appear to be unable to understand, Bullfrogjones, is that while they may be listeners, their interests do not necessarily coincide with those of the listeners as a whole. Sinking in?
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lonegroover



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ella Sailyour wrote:
lonegroover wrote:
No disrespect to them, and the "antis" are entitled to their personal taste and their viewpoint of course - but we shouldn't confuse the interests of the listeners as a whole with theirs.


It depends on who the listeners as a whole are defined as being, of course.


What I mean by "the listeners as a whole" is the totality of R2's regular listening audience, of course.
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Scott Nelson
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BullfrogJones wrote:
...and while I've no objection to lonegroover perving over pictures of Branson and Evans in bed together in the privacy of his own padded cell, do we all have to be subjected to such stomach-turning images?


Morecambe and Wise!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morecambe and Wise never went to bed together with naked chests!!! (I presume it's just chests) Wink
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Ella Sailyour



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rachel wrote:
I posted on the R2 MB a while back on how R2 is turning into the R1 of the 80s but got laughed out of town.......

I like the way R2 is going; all of us, 40 ish Embarassed year olds just want our youth back... Smile


Rachel, I couldn't agree with you more!

I listen to very little Radio 2 now, usually only the specialist programmes. Most of the daytime fayre is bland and repetitive.

Ella
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Pugwash wrote:
Morecambe and Wise never went to bed together with naked chests!!! (I presume it's just chests) Wink


Well, Branson is smiling! Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just pleased I can see their hands...... Wink

Getting back to the subject - or one of them raised here - I can't really find any shows I like on commercial radio. As someone who advocates 'more music, less chat' (documentaries excepted), I agree with Daz M's comments re most of the output being dire.

I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than listen to Metro Radio up here in the NE, whilst Galaxy FM belongs to the 'thump, thump, thump' brigade of charvas driving souped up/clapped out Saxo VTRs at breakneck speed around suburban streets. I only listen to the Newcastle Utd football commentaries on Century FM since 'Skooldaze' was replaced by 'Hair Brush Divas'....

The last show I tried hard not to miss outside R2 was 'Wheels of Steel' on a Friday evening on Virgin - until it was canned. The presenter didn't take himself too seriously and it was non-stop disco and cheesy 80s stuff, cracking music to start the weekend with. It was fun without trying to be clever or 'alternative'.

If R2 goes down the route of adding more speech content, it'll end up like the early days of Radio 5 (before it was revamped with the 'Live' bit). IIRC, it pleased very few people as it tried to do too much and did not deliver what it promised to. The current mix on R2, despite a few odd signings (IMHO), is just fine - don't let a bunch of suits armed with fancy flipcharts and spurious data on demographics tell LD otherwise! Evil or Very Mad

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lonegroover



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cherskiy wrote:
I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than listen to Metro Radio up here in the NE


I used to listen to that in the late '70s .. it was a pretty good station, with a strong regional identity and some pretty good presenters.

James Whale used to host the late night phone-in, "Night Owls", and there were some very good music shows at the weekend.

If I remember correctly, after James Whale left, Alan Beswick took over his phone-in (well, there may have been a couple of intermediate presenters). I hadn't heard Alan Beswick since 1982 until he popped up on 5Live standing in for Stephen Nolan about 3 weeks ago.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lonegroover wrote:
I hadn't heard Alan Beswick since 1982 until he popped up on 5Live standing in for Stephen Nolan about 3 weeks ago.


I seem to remember that Alan Beswick could be heard on a north west station - Red Rose or something like that in the late 1980's. I didn't listen (tuned into R1 Very Happy ), but apparently spent his time winding people up and insulting them - is that right?
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daz_M wrote:
That is one thing I really hate about commercial radio. They think we want to here more music which is wrong. I want to be entertained when I listen to the radio.

The one and only reason why commercial radio is doing so badly is 99% of its output is just utter crap.

A breakfast crew in the morning, love songs/problem shows late at night. All music being the same (80's 90's and today)

Radio 2 has introduced me to so many artists (Nick Drake, Longview, John Martyn etc etc) that I never would have found if I had listened to commercial radio.

If they had a good show on a commercial station then I would listen. I use to listen to Pete & Geoff on Virgin Breakfast.

My favourite show at the moment isn't on Radio 2 but is Geoff Lloyd's late night show on Virgin. Virgin decided to remove Virgin Love and Jezza's late night confessions and put Geoff Lloyd in that slot. A presenter who is different, has been allowed to do what he wants to do - and the result. A listener away from Radio 2.

It is easy for the stupid idiots of commercial radio to attack Radio 2 but they should look at there output. If you put something good on you WILL get listeners away from Radio 2. If you put smashy and nicey and Alan Patridge on which is what 99% of people do, then you won't get any.

Another thought is perhaps, just maybe us in the UK who pay the BBC actually like the station? We pay for it, we like it, why should someone who is struggling in there own jobs in tinpot radio world try and ruin Radio 2 so it makes there own appalling output seem more appealing.

Surely the challenge for them is to make better programmes, rather than attack those who do make good shows.

At this moment in time there seems to be no person or station up to the challenge. No wonder Radio 2 is doing so well.

How many of the commercial stations don't have actual overnight programmes? Instead just leave a machine running and playing the same few boy/girl bands etc that you hear the DJs play during the day. Not that I would want to damage Mark Radcliffe, Janice Long & Alex Lester's audience!
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Cherskiy



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lonegroover wrote:
I used to listen to that in the late '70s .. it was a pretty good station, with a strong regional identity and some pretty good presenters.

If I remember correctly, after James Whale left, Alan Beswick took over his phone-in (well, there may have been a couple of intermediate presenters). I hadn't heard Alan Beswick since 1982 until he popped up on 5Live standing in for Stephen Nolan about 3 weeks ago.


*Was* being the operative word....

Alan Robson took over Night Owls in the late 1980s?? and nights during the summer school holidays were full of "I'm bored, what can I do?" type calls from TWOCers and slappers.

Cherskiy
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Firefly



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...research proves that once someone becomes a Radio 2 listener they do not want to leave. Commercial stations find it almost impossible to pull them back out of the pot."



The 'Hotel California' of Broadcasting Rolling Eyes Wink

However, Radio 2 frequently have had a jolly good go at shaking some of us off though!

I'm clinging on Cool


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Cherskiy



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lonegroover wrote:

No disrespect to them, and the "antis" are entitled to their personal taste and their viewpoint of course - but we shouldn't confuse the interests of the listeners as a whole with theirs.


This goes both ways, LG - the 'pros' (that's people for, not prostitutes) and the 'antis' are always going to be poles apart and neither may be necessarily representative of the entire listening population. In fact, the remainder may well be totally ambivalent and not care whether he's on or not.

I'll be interested to see the figures for RB's show after say two months when he'll have had a chance to settle down into a routine with a core audience, whatever its size.

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gfloyd



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cherskiy wrote:


I'll be interested to see the figures for RB's show after say two months when he'll have had a chance to settle down into a routine with a core audience, whatever its size.

Cherskiy


I would expect the listen again audience for Russell Brand to equal if not exceed the listened live audience. Why begs the question "Why is he broadcasting on Radio 2 and why on Saturday night at 9pm?"
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If he's not working out, I can't see LD keeping him on... Although why she perseveres with Mr O'Leary is baffling Very Happy

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