The UK’s “gold” format radio stations need to be branded and marketed as if they are one radio station, the commercial radio industry heard at its annual conference in Dublin this week.
Classic FM sales director Nigel Reeve told delegates that if commercial radio is to grow, all gold stations should be “put under one brand and one umbrella”.
“Advertisers are looking for just the audiences gold stations can supply,” he said. “If they are marketed in their own right they could bring in new revenue instead of being an afterthought to an FM advertising schedule.”
Any attempt to create new branded entities for radio is “good for radio and advertisers”, agreed John Raglan, group planning and development director of EMAP Radio. However, he denied any plan was imminent to create a unified “gold” brand.
AM services have lost 20 per cent of their ad revenue in the past three years, according to Andrew Oldham, sales director of radio sales house Media Sales & Marketing. However, at the same time their share of listeners has fallen by only ten per cent.
At the conference, Oldham called on the Radio Advertising Bureau to support AM in order to change advertisers’ perceptions. There is an extra 20m of advertising revenue available to AM stations if they market themselves better, he said.
However, the long-term future of AM broadcasting was summed up by Mike Thorne, radio business manager of National Transcommunications Limited. “There will be no engineering developments to improve the quality of AM reception,” said Thorne. “It is a cash cow; let’s milk it until it dies.”