GCap’s flagship London station Capital Radio is in “intensive care”, according to chief executive Ralph Bernard, and the company has no plans to give the station any significant marketing support until the station sounds “considerably better”.
He adds that the group expects a “bad” Rajar result for the station at next week’s quarterly Rajar figures despite its relaunch in January. The station was rebranded from 95.8 Capital FM to Capital Radio, was given a new music policy, and runs less advertising. He says: “You don’t make a major change and get an instant result. It is like spring-cleaning, you move everything around and there is a point where everything looks worse, but when it is all back in position, you know that you have done the right thing.” The decision to cut advertising inventory and revamp station’s music policy are part of a long-term strategy, he adds.
Bernard says that when the station is ready it will receive significant marketing investment. “When we get the product right, we will blast the market with a campaign like you have never seen. It will cause ripples across the industry,” he adds.
Radio industry observers agree that improving the programming on the station is key to improving audience figures. MindShare head of radio Howard Bareham says: “GCap has identified the reasons why Capital Radio was not working, but listeners will only come back if they like the sound of the station.”
Last week, Capital Radio appointed Scott Muller, former programme director for Australian radio station Nova, as programme director. It followed the recent departures of Capital Radio managing director Keith Pringle and programme director Nik Goodman.