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Radio: Trends to watch

14 Nov

The dust has settled on the grand unveiling of the Q3 RAJAR results last month and after a period of reflection our Radio Experts have been analysing the data in more detail.
Whilst some in the media feel that it was a very uninspiring set of results, there are two particularly interesting trends we’ve spotted that are worth noting.

BBC vs Commercial Radio
Whilst the BBC continues its listening share dominance (53.6% vs 43.7%), commercial radio is now snapping at Auntie’s heels and reaches over 34 million adults every week – only 44,000 behind. This is the smallest gap since 2005 and follows the trend from the last four RAJAR waves.

Digital Listening
Radio listening via digital platforms continues to rise and is now at a record share of 37.8%. The UK has finally reached the level where the majority of new cars now have digital radio as standard. This coupled with a 45% year on year increase on the number of adults listening via a mobile or tablet at least once a month (now 1 in 5) means things are indeed looking rosy for DAB stations. There are already four commercial digital stations with audiences close to one million. Advertising on these stations can be particularly effective especially as digital radio listeners are 19% more likely to notice adverts on the radio.

In 2015, a second national digital multiplex begins broadcasting offering another ten national stations, increasing the DAB national footprint from 72 per cent of homes to 90 per cent.

With a wider choice of stations, overall radio listening should increase and this growth will help the commercial radio industry continue to compete even more effectively with the BBC, offering  an enhanced range of opportunities for advertisers.

To find out more about advertising effectively on analogue or digital commercial stations, get in touch now.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert


Radio’s winners and losers – RAJAR

6 Feb

Who’s jumping for joy and who’s got their head in their hands?

The RAJAR figures for Q4 of 2013 were released today and our Radio Experts have been pouring over the figures to give you a quick top line on the winners and losers of commercial radio.

Here are some of the key headlines:

The radio battle in the nation’s capital continues and the winner is Capital London which still has the highest number of listeners in London. Its breakfast show presented by Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon retains its spot as London’s most popular breakfast show with 1.2 million listeners.

Capital South Wales achieved 1.3 million total hours in Q4 2013, but in its heyday – predecessor Red Dragon totalled over 3.6 million.

Key 103 in Manchester bounces back from hitting its lowest ever number of weekly listeners in the last RAJAR survey, up 44% to 570,000.

Kiss UK loses minimal listeners but gains 5% in total hours. The nation loves kiss!

Classic FM gains over 300,000 listeners – returning what it lost in the last quarter – now reaching 5.6 million in total.

TalkSport breaks 3.2 million listeners in terms of reach – making strides back towards its previous reach record.

LBC appears to have dropped in reach on both AM and FM but on the flip side has increased its average hours.

This RAJAR is showing that local radio is fighting back as we’re seeing many local stations resurgent against the bigger brand rivals.

All in all, commercial radio is in rude health reaching more and more people up from 34.4 million to 34.9 million listeners, but on average they’re listening for fewer hours.

For more insight on what this quarter’s RAJAR means for brands using radio advertising contact us.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

How do you listen to the radio?

4 Jul

Is it in the car? On the train? In the office? In the kitchen? When you’re out walking somewhere? In the gym, or just for those crucial 20 minutes as you get up and get dressed?

The fact is, pretty much all of us listen to the radio whilst doing something else – it’s how we use radio. This is why radio is known as a ‘secondary media’. In other words, because we’re only using our ears and our emotions – we’re perfectly capable of doing something else at the same time.

So, even after we’ve produced really strong audio creative for you – how do you then harness a media which is strong because it’s background – but is also a challenge because it’s…background?

Well, from the media perspective, the answer is FREQUENCY. Or as we call it in radio, OTH (Opportunities To Hear).

OTH is the critical way that we measure, advise and plan the intensity of your campaigns.  OTH is important because it determines how much listener recall there is for your radio advertising campaign. Too little OTH will mean your advertising message won’t be easily remembered, too much OTH (using the same commercial) could mean you spend more than you need to.

Because this is such an important factor, our planning team make sure they build every campaign with the OTH needed to meet the campaign objectives. They’ll also work with our creative team to provide the best advice on how many radio commercials should be produced to ensure the balance is right.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. @timcradioexpert

It’s all about the brief

25 Jun

The RAB’s Five I’s research into radio creative effectiveness is a stunning example of how to turn ‘Art into Science‘. In fact, with radio creative everyone has their own opinions about how to make great ads. And that’s fine. With something as precious and subjective as human creativity, there will always be different ways and different philosophies. After all being different is always a factor in good radio creative.

But no matter which school of thought you subscribe to, one thing is definitively true:

If you don’t start by knowing how to take a brilliant radio brief, you won’t end up creating a brilliant radio campaign.

That’s why Radio Experts have developed the most sophisticated Radio Briefing System in the market. It has been developed over many years and refined so that, whatever the type of business, our writing team extract the essence / ROI denominator / boring details all in one effortless process. Different brands and marketing challenges all actually require different types of brief, so Radio Experts have a Briefing System, not just a ‘one brief fits all’ approach.

Getting a brilliant brief doesn’t take more time – it just requires some serious Radio Experts TLC.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. @timcradioexpert

Radio cuts through the clutter

29 May

There’s loads of good reasons to use radio but here’s one that’s really worth remembering – Radio offers the least clutter of all mainstream media.


1)     Because Radio has the lowest advertising content to editorial ratio versus other mainstream media, so when your commercial is played it naturally has a bigger impact.

2)     Because radio is linear it demands your undivided attention. When a radio ad is playing there’s nothing else to distract you, unlike online or press where your focus can move to other ads or editorial around it.

3)     Ad-avoidance on radio is incredibly low. People rarely switch stations when the ads come on so as long as your creative is relevant and intriguing, radio will enable you to fully engage your potential customers.

Our Radio Experts team of writers and producers produce original, inspirational, death defyingly awesome audio creative every day.

It’s what we love to do.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. @timcradioexpert

Spotify says ‘Hola’ Mexico

18 Apr

Spotify the ad funded music streaming service has launched in Mexico, Hong Kong and Eastern Europe and is now boasting more than 24 million active users worldwide. Big numbers.

This is an important move for Spotify’s service, establishing itself within these emerging markets for streaming music. And now that the streaming and music services marketplace is firmly on the radar of the big three technology companies, (Apple Google Samsung), Spotify’s bold moves make a lot of sense. What can be seen as a natural expansion could also be seen as a clever counter strategy following the rumours of the Apple iRadio service/platform possibly launching in June.

And if it’s the fast lane for Spotify – it’s pedal to the metal for Blackberry and 7Digital. Just this week, they announced a deal with in car entertainment system maker QNX. This means that dashboard integrated music streaming services and audio apps are about to become a regular part of the in car experience. That brings GPS in – and that’s really exciting for ad serving and geo / micro targeting possibilities.

If Apple, Google and gang reach breakthrough metrics in ways to connect our mobile devices more intuitively with our car dashboards the picture could change again……and you can rely on Radio Experts to remain in hot pursuit.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. @timcradioexpert

In-car entertainment: getting a turbo boost for 2013

10 Dec

From the announcement that VW, General Motors and many other large manufacturers are putting DAB radio into cars as standard to the fact that UK became the second largest market for new cars in the EU (according to the SMMT)… the UK has been really revving up its engines in 2012.

Combining all this positive activity together, is it any wonder that in the UK motoring still has the biggest Radio Advertising spend – (RAB, Nielsen)?

With the convergence of in-car entertainment systems and the rollout of 4g(ee), the creation of the in-car entertainment experience can be a new in-car advertising space.

Where else can you have such an intimate connection with the listener? Where they are intently listening on a regular basis? Combine that with timely traffic updates or local information and advertising the incar audio experience is about to get a turbo boost. Check out Spotify’s collaboration with Ford getting the car stereo to control Spotify.

Imagine the power of intelligent car entertainment systems which can look at where a person is driving (thanks to their GPS) and tailor advertising to their destination or where they are going to pass on the way…

For more on the developments of in-car radio, on demand or indeed radio advertising for the motor industry in 2013… mirror, signal and manoeuvre your way over to our office

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. @timcradioexpert