Saturday, January 04, 2003

Whistling in the dark: In at number three

Hats off to Dr Fox for being brave and doing a good fist of univeiling "a new chart show" as the Sunday chart rundown enters an era more exciting than any battle for the Christmas Number One.

The old ILR chart - previously known as The Network Chart, the Nescafe Chart and the Pepsi Chart - has had the relaunch forced on it by Pepsi's decision to end its sponsorship, resulting in an exciting new name - "Hit 40 UK" (sort of suggests they've not even been able to pull an Autoshield type sponsor out of the woodwork, but Fox is buoyant. "We've already got 900,000 more listeners than Radio 1, and maybe we can lift that figure up to the magic million."

Well, yes, maybe. Only you're not going to be helped by the decision of EMAP to drop the chart from its stations (City, Picadilly, Aire, etc, etc), are you? True, the Network chart has pulled in a couple of extra stations - Fosseway Radio! Dune FM! - and the slightly popular Galaxy Radio "network" (one north east station and a manchester operation) may help a bit, but since EMAP has created a market-confusing third chart, The Smash Hits Chart, to go out in the same slot, it's probably unlikely that many people will bother to retune.

The Smash Hits chart is being pushed by its production team as The first ever interactive countdown, which is bollocks anyway - all charts are interactive, supposedly, as you buy a record, the sale counts - but is also bollocks specifically, because what about Radio One's Most Wanted from a few years back?.

Presenting, of course, is Mr. Radio One Puffa Jacket himself, Mark Goodier. Someone cleverer than I pointed out that this means the man who sits in for Uncle Ken Bruce on Radio 2 will now be presenting the chart rundown on the 'ow my gums' Kiss 100 in London; it also suggests why Radio One were keen for Goodier to leave their chart rundown a lot earlier than had been originally planned.

His exit from the only chart that counts on licence fee funding has left the door open for Radio One to bring in a totally fresh talent, former Travel Monkey Wes Butters, who'll be joining the formidable One FM in a hail of lame margarine-themed puns later this month.

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