First Direct, DHL and House of Fraser are among the first advertisers to book space on Talk Radio UK, which launches on February 14, the national commercial speech station confirmed this week.
Launch advertisers are being offered price incentives and audience guarantees. A number of on-air sponsorships are also close to being agreed, says Talk Radio sales director Alec Kenny.
The new station, which will target 25 to 49-year-old BC1C2s, also confirmed its launch schedule this week. “Moz” Dee and Carol McGiffen will present a programme called The Rude Awakening each weekday between 6am and 10am. The presenters fronting other shows include Jeremy Beadle, Terry Christian, Scott Chisholm and “shock-jock” Caesar.
Talk Radio managing director John Aumonier refused to comment on speculation that the line-up also includes Radio 1 DJ Steve Wright.
Advertiser interest suggests the station will break even to-wards the end of its second year, Aumonier claims. The schedule has been designed to match the lifestyle of Talk Radio’s target audience, adds Kenny.
“It’s not a dip-in, dip-out service. People will not use it like a utility, but decide when to listen and when they do so it will be foreground, not background.”
Advertisers will be encouraged to target audiences in a way previously untried by commercial radio, Kenny says. “We will build a schedule for advertisers around two or three core programmes, as one would for TV.”
Despite initial scepticism voiced by some agencies – mainly due to a lack of information about the proposed style and tone of the service – advertiser and agency interest is on track, he adds.
This opinion is supported by media buyers.
“Talk Radio has a proposition. This is one reason why Virgin 1215 struggled initially – because it was unable to offer a discreet demographic in the way Classic did,” says CIA Medianetwork head of radio David Fletcher.
However, Fletcher says that one obstacle to be overcome will be promoting individual shows so that the listener knows what time to tune in – a problem which Radio 5 suffered from before its relaunch.
A £2m launch campaign, created by FCB, will comprise national TV, poster and bus-end advertising. It breaks on February 13. Two subsequent bursts are planned for later in the year.