Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gcap goes with One branding

The exciting synergy of opportunities presented by the merger of GWR and Capital into GCap has been realised. "Synergy" being a business term meaning "let's squeeze any individuality out of the businesses", of course.

The local stations of the single company are about to be made even "better". Taking advantage of local radio's attempts to really understand and reflect the unique natures of the geographical communities they serve, all the stations will now have the same logo, strapline and much of the same programming regardless of where you live.

They've gone with the One Network, which - besides there already being a radio network which pretty much is called One - is also, winningly, the name of one of the companies that occasionally push trains up and down the railway networks.

The strapline is:

Haven't you heard?

- although that seems to be only a step away from building a relaunch on the phrase 'You've not been listening, and is only two letters away from Radio City's 'Have you heard' slogan for the disastrous City Talk 1548 launch twenty years ago.

Network programming is now going to include Myleene Klass and Jeremy Kyle, who love the area you live in and know all about it, or at least are able to trigger adverts that are in someway local.

GCap insist that, far from meaning the abandonment of 'local' radio in any meaningful sense, having a station in Kent playing the same programmes under the same banner as a station in South Wales means more local programming, not less:
On-air changes will include more local news, listings and traffic information, while all One Network websites will offer local artists the chance to upload their music and potentially have their song played on the station.

More local news? Really? Or do they mean 'slightly longer time given in the news to local stories', which isn't quite the same thing. A station that reflects local news will react to a major local tragedy or victory not simply by filing a thirty second report, but ribbed throughout the feeling of all programming during the day. You can't do that properly if your one concession to 'localness' is thirty seconds of news in the hour, before going back to - yes, sometimes - RYAN SEACREST presenting a show from America.
"This is a hugely exciting development for the country's biggest radio network," said Simon Daglish, the national sales and trade marketing director, GCap Media.

"The One Network is not only a great, vibrant brand, it's a one-stop shop which offers clients the opportunity to reach consumers across the whole of the UK in an environment which is all about unrivalled content, big names and incredible production values.

"The revitalisation means continuity across all stations, backed by an in-depth understanding of our audience, providing better targeting for our customers"

It says it all, of course, that the "audience" is now seen, primarily as something which the stations sell to its customers. Of course, this is going to make for bland, soulless, heartless broadcasting (Kyle? Seacrest?) but it's going to generate much, much simpler pie-charts for the advertising sales department.


James said...

*radio-nerd hat on*

The threat of 'More local news' is a frightening one. Whenever I've flicked over to my local 'One Network' station, their idea of 'local news' has been to take a national story and crowbar a local reference into the first sentence. So a story on the government announcing more money for cycle lanes across the country will begin with "Cyclists in Crappington could soon be safer, thanks to a new government plan". An England World Cup match would be reported as "Football fans in Crappington are preparing for tonight's big game..."

Maybe they'll use the extra time for jocular banter between the newsreader and the breakfast presenter. I can't get enough of that.

James said...

*radio-nerd hat off*

*radio-nerd hat on again*

Oh yes, and...

"All One Network websites will offer local artists the chance to upload their music and potentially have their song played on the station."

Whilst I think this is a great idea and way overdue (these stations are perfectly placed to give local acts their first airplay), is this really going to work? I've had to listen to my local 'One' station at work for the last couple of days, and it's clear from the playlist that the average listener is terrified of hearing something new, unless it's been gently broken to them via a TV show/advert or an already-famous relative of the act. How will that audience react to a local band's first single? Or will new acts need to sound like James Blunt before they'll be considered?

Jeremy Kyle! Arf...

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