Monday, January 09, 2012

"Are you free, BRMB?" "I'm free"

Orion, the owners of BRMB in Birmingham, have decided to change the station's name.

To Free Radio Birmingham.

God help us all.

{Phil] Riley, the chief executive of Orion Media, said: "The decision to change the name of our stations after each one has been broadcasting in their areas under their original names for so long has not been easy or one that we have taken lightly.

"We have given this a great deal of consideration and undertaken detailed research. The original on air names of each station means a lot to all of us at Orion, and we know and understand the deep affection many people have for those names.
"But" continued Riley "we really don't care."

Oh, hang on, he didn't say that:
"However, the radio market has changed dramatically recently and we have to adapt and respond."
It's not entirely clear what "dramatic changes" have meant the only logical response is to throw away four decades of brand recognition and heritage (Mercia, Beacon and Wyvern are also being shorn of their names.)

So, what's the thinking behind the name? Some might wonder about the chutzpah of using "free radio" - usually a sign of a rebel group broadcasting against a despotic government rather than a Top 40 hits station with the weather forecast sponsored by Anglian Windows. So, is this the International Brigade of broadcasting?
Riley said the "Free Radio" name was chosen because it was "easy to remember, easy to spell, and is flexible enough to work in a number of different ways. It's not free as in cheap, it's free as in freedom to have a bit more character".
Ah. Freedom to have more character. Created by taking four distinct stations, each with their own character, and imposing a bland, marketing-driven blanket name over the lot.


James said...

Riley said the "Free Radio" name was chosen because it was "easy to remember, easy to spell,"

...whereas 'BRMB' was a sod to spell.

Robin Carmody said...

In the late 1970s, there was a pro-Enoch Powell pirate station broadcasting in the West Midlands, warning about the evils of our Marauding Welfare State and that Dangerous Communist Jim Callaghan.

This station was called, ahem, Radio Enoch, but it was this, rather than an offshore station circa 1970, which I thought of first when I saw this news.

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