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November 24, 2022 10:20 am  #1


What British Radio Does Better Than Stations In Canada

I'm not a huge fan of Rogers, but radio vet Dave Charles has an illuminating interview with Paul Kaye, an exec. with the company, who has worked extensively in both Canada and the U.K. 

While admitting that Canadian radio seems superior in promotional creativity and format experimentation, he insists there's one area where the British have us beat. 

"[T]he UK has always had a greater emphasis on personalities than radio in North America has appeared to.  We have always had a rich history of characters on the stations in as many dayparts as possible."

"Most importantly, UK radio has emphasized talent across a schedule rather than consolidating it all into mornings.  Sure, the talent may serve a different need at different times of the day, but the UK has always believed in being personality forward."


I couldn't agree more. If you look at British newspapers, they're full of coverage of radio, something you never see here. And almost every story is about a local U.K. personality. 

I have long decried the idea that only a morning crew can be funny, wild or unusual. My all time favourite radio stations from days past are perfect examples of this. 

I thought Brian Skinner at night was as entertaining as Jay Nelson was on CHUM in the morning before they brought in the Drake format.

66/WNBC New York, which was the best radio station I ever heard, was incredible in the mid-70s. Every daypart was filled with the greatest talent, and I would put up with interference from adjacent CFTR just to hear it here after sundown. At a time when everybody was just playing the hits, they were also entertaining between the songs. Oogie Pringle, Vernon With A V, Just Plain Al Brady, and Dick Summer were just a few of the incredible people you could hear via DX in Toronto. And they were alternately creative and laugh-out-loud hysterical. 

The Real Bob James, who ruled the evenings on 50K WGAR in Cleveland around the same time and who I'm proud to now call a friend, once told me that his P.D. John Lund (who would later work at WNBC) made it his mandate that he wanted "all morning men" on the air around the clock on his station. In between the hits, you couldn't tune it out, never knowing what they might do next. Even their live spot reads were incredible. 

Perhaps the industry has changed too much over here now, as listeners increasingly flee to online music sources. But you have to wonder if some of them could be lured back if what happened between the tunes was as entertaining as the music itself. 


Dave Charles Interviews Rogers Sports & Media VP, Paul Kaye

 

November 24, 2022 11:58 am  #2


Re: What British Radio Does Better Than Stations In Canada

The UK radio networks have a lot of personalities and talented on air people.  However they differ a lot from what we are used to in Canada.  British personalities can be outrageous, funny, even silly on air but it is not constant.  It seems to be more understood that this is an act and just entertainment and the real personality of the host comes through.  Different from some US personalities who fake drama or outrage but try to make out that it is real and sincere when it's not.

Also most on air people in the UK really know their music and give time to talking about artists and groups with some gossip.  This is why the big stars on radio and the stations themselves are respected by those in the music business in Europe.  We don't see this nearly as much in North America. The general public in the UK seem to be into music more than here, and even people in older demographics often are more aware of the what is happening with current music or at least the top 40. 

I remember when Much Music VJ's would interview artists or talk about the videos they have played with informative little bits about the group or the video.  A lot of DJ's in the UK are more like this, but then in the next break doing a funny bit with a listener.

Interesting that Paul Kaye feels we are better at promotions and format experimentation which is kind of surprising.  To me it seems it is the smaller independent companies and some Pattison stations that are doing most of the innovation.  Bell, Rogers, Stingray while mostly successful aren't terribly innovative and tend to play it safe.  But maybe that's what most people here want. 

 

November 24, 2022 12:06 pm  #3


Re: What British Radio Does Better Than Stations In Canada

paterson1 wrote:

Interesting that Paul Kaye feels we are better at promotions and format experimentation which is kind of surprising.  To me it seems it is the smaller independent companies and some Pattison stations that are doing most of the innovation.  Bell, Rogers, Stingray while mostly successful aren't terribly innovative and tend to play it safe.  But maybe that's what most people here want. 

This also surprised me, but possibly for a slightly different reasons. Now that the UK is fully DAB+ (all digital), there's room for hundreds of new radio stations. All of them have different formats and different audience targets. As Kaye mentions, there's even one called "Fix Radio," aimed at handymen, construction workers and repair people across Britain.  

It sounds like it might be a narrow audience, but apparently it's not only quite popular but is making money. You can listen to it live over the web if you're curious. Something like this would probably never be on the public airwaves here. 

Here's part of the schedule for Thursday. Definitely different.

https://i.postimg.cc/J4ZKDG51/fix.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

November 24, 2022 12:36 pm  #4


Re: What British Radio Does Better Than Stations In Canada

I don't know much about DAB but it never caught on in North America.  To me the examples above are "cottage or hobby stations" that appeal only to very small select audience and not comparable to regular broadcast outlets. I know some are more mass appeal and have larger audiences but many are more like podcast stations to me.  Both radio and TV have always been different in the UK and don't serve the public the same way as here. 

The article makes mention of the UK being geographically small with a good population of about 68 million and this alone makes it radically different than Canada.

Mainstream network radio is still huge in the UK with ratings that would make our stations weep. Prime time network TV ratings are generally higher and more consistent than OTA networks in the US and with a fraction of the population. 

 

November 24, 2022 2:46 pm  #5


Re: What British Radio Does Better Than Stations In Canada

Here is a station that gets 14 million listeners and here is its schedule, even the program descriptions are interesting.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/schedules/p00fzl8v

Take NT1010 The Rush and ex news anchor and a sport guy, Hmm how about using experienced talk show broadcasters Like John Moore or Alex Pierson. 

Promotion??? We did not even get dressed and go to the ballpark. Sorry, but I don't hear or see much promotion outside the actual station. Billboards showing John Moore for NT1010 were prevalent 10 years ago, radio promotion does not exist in this country. 

Radio is all down to time tune and temperature, that's the death of Canadian radio.


 

Last edited by Stinand (November 24, 2022 4:56 pm)