Talk Radio UK has moved quickly to fill the gap left by managing director John Aumonier, who left the station last week, and confirms plans for “significant” programme changes this autumn.
Talk Radio sales and marketing director David Lees confirms plans for wider programme changes this autumn. Although unwilling to describe them as a relaunch, the alterations are “significant”, he admits.
Latest Rajar data shows Talk Radio’s audience continues to grow from its initial post-launch audience of 1.5 million. The station is now positioning itself as more upmarket than The Star, Sun or Today, although more downmarket than the Daily Express or Daily Mail. “We are getting into a very important gap in the radio listening market,” Lees says.
Peter Clark, chief executive of one of Talk Radio’s main shareholders – Media Ventures International – took over as acting managing director on Monday. He will hold this position until a permanent replacement is appointed. The search is now under way for a new managing director.
The station, which attracted criticism for poor output and small audiences at launch, has already implemented “tweaks” and has axed its controversial “shock jock” format. However, a number of agencies have called for greater changes – or even a relaunch – to reinvigorate agency, advertiser and listener faith in the station.
Agencies believe plans for wider programme changes are overdue. Even so, a number of blue-chip brands have signed up – including Ford, News International and London Underground.
Kimberly-Clark, which already sponsors the radio’s hayfever pollen count, last week began a ten-week, on-air promotion involving a weekly draw for the winners of ten Vauxhall Corsas – prizes for a competition which has branded Talk Radio on 7 million Kleenex packs.
“This is a big endorsement for the station,” he insists. “There is a genuine increase in confidence of what the station stands for.”