Giraffes, lockdown, and Times Radio

Greetings from Australia, where we’re slowly beginning to come out of “lockdown”. Very slowly. I hope things have settled down to more of a sense of normality for you, too.

  • Above: an ad I saw on the side of a bus today. It’s a giraffe, looking into a mirror. It turns out this is from a TV ad which has apparently been running for two months. The TV ad features a giraffe singing a Whitesnake song, with a logo saying “Sounds like TripleM” at the end of it. I’m in TripleM’s target audience (I’m male and under 54), but this is the first I’ve seen of this: as a reminder of the TV ad, it didn’t work, since I’d not seen the TV ad (and I’m surprised this is still a strategy). Either seen alone, or with the TV ad, I’d also question whether this communicates clearly that TripleM is a radio station that plays rock’s greatest hits. Or, even, that this communicates that TripleM is a radio station, though perhaps it’s hoping I already know that. Still, it isn’t as bad as this one, but it’s a close-run thing! John Myers used to say “I can never understand the fascination with animals and radio station adverts”. I wish I could have shown him this latest one.

  • Here is how the BBC is making radio shows during the coronavirus. Brilliantly, it involves more red tape! (<– joke for anyone who’s had to deal with their accounting system)

  • And here’s how PRX’s teams are working; and a WBUR podcast producer who is reduced to driving to park outside a ski centre and get their free wifi. Yikes! I hope you’ve done better.

  • Matt Deegan writes about Times Radio, the new project from News Corp in the UK. It’s a good long read, and I’d recommend it. Personally, I see Times Radio as being quite like Beats 1, Apple’s radio station: it has the appearance of something driven entirely by management whim. Perhaps, at maybe £5m/year to run, it’s good value as marketing and it doesn’t need to have any audience or revenue. (Radio 4, its closest apparent competitor, is £100m a year for programming alone, though).

  • I just went to check on how Beats 1 is doing. I used to judge these things by the number of Twitter followers: Beats 1 has 602,000; the UK station BBC Radio 1 has over 3m - though both these figures haven’t really changed since 2017, when I last looked, so probably not a good judge any more. The Google Trends chart for the last five years probably tells a story.

  • If you were listening to the radio industry, the virus had no effect on radio listening, or people were listening even more than they used to. Radiocentre posted that “38% of commercial radio listeners are tuning in for an extra hour and 45 minutes each day since lockdown”, as one example of the statistical gymnastics required to achieve a positive press release. Anyway, the good news is that even though listening didn’t go down, listening is now rebounding in the US. Total time spent listening was down 33% we now learn; it’s now only down 18%. In the UK, RAJAR’s figures come out on Wednesday for the quarter ending 29 March. Most of the data will be from before the effects of the pandemic.

  • This was a brilliant idea, and apparently sounded excellent. A pop-up station appearing on Absolute Radio’s AM service last week to commemorate VE Day, the end of the second world war. I gather it sounded excellent. Good for them!

  • iHeartMedia’s earnings call transcript. The only numbers that matter: they mentioned radio 49 times; and podcasts 57 times.

Classifieds: Decent radio is more than just show and go. Here’s a £1 week-long trial of Show Prep that’ll supercharge any radio show.

Thank you to Rupert Brun, Barrie Stephenson, Cleanfeed and Richard Hilton for your continued support.

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