Radio Newsbeat

News from the Radio Today Site:

Radio Caroline offers time-shifted stream
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Listeners to Radio Caroline in different parts of North America can now hear a delayed version of the station enabling them to hear the output as it was intended.

The breakfast show will be available in the morning, whilst drivetime will appear in the afternoon, thanks to new apps and streaming facility.

It’s the first time that a British radio station has synched its output for Eastern Standard Time or Pacific Standard Time, although BBC Radio 1 offered a single delayed service in the mid-naughties.

Caroline’s breakfast show with Tony Paul is broadcast from Los Angeles live for a British audience, so will then be available again hours later in California.

The new apps are only available in the US app stores, and unlike the UK version of the app, they are free of charge.

Vanessa Feltz fills in for late Chris Evans
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Vanessa Feltz fills in for late Chris Evans

Chris Evans was 30 minutes late for his breakfast show – the biggest show on UK radio – this morning, meaning Vanessa Feltz had to say on an extra half hour.

The incident was handled light heartedly by Vanessa, saying “lovely listeners be gentle with me if you please I will be in charge for the next half hour”

Moira was on time for the 6:30 news though, allowing Vanessa to say “Thank You Moira” on the radio for the very first time after the bulletin.

Chris’ first link was out of the 7am news where he sung along with his Wise Buddah jingle and made no mention of his late arrival, but did say the show was dedicated to anyone who missed the first half hour. He said it was “probably the best, the very best since we started our five and a half year run. Seriously, catch up with it on iPlayer. It was off the chart.”

He did however say thank you to “Lady Vanessa” in his second link, who would have made her way to her next show on BBC London 94.9 a little later than normal.

High costs to blame for licence surrender

A community radio group which gave back its licence to Ofcom before launching has explained the reason behind the move.

The Sound of Mull Community Radio says there is not enough funding available to finance the cost of two transmitters, plus access and other infrastructure costs.

The group is therefore looking at broadcasting online only, after winning a community radio licence over two years ago.

Speaking with RadioToday, the station said: “Basically the cost of two high-powered transmitters, associated access and other infrastructure costs, planning, ground rental and the licence costs were prohibitive- there’s just not enough funding out there currently to pay for these set up costs.

“We looked at reducing the spec. (and hence costs) but the benefits would be significantly reduced and hence we felt the project would not be worth pursuing. Sadly our isolated/rural situation is a major barrier here from a start-up cost perspective.”

On winning a licence, the station said “Sound of Mull Radio will serve the islanders living on the Isle of Mull & Iona. It will reflect the unique island life, culturally, linguistically and socially, and will give a voice to islanders.”

A station spokesperson continues: “The good news is that the project isn’t dead in the water… we’re now going down the internet route and piggy backing onto our local community Broadband project. By going down the internet route we can get ‘on air’ and start offering radio related training without such a huge capital outlay. Then we’ll see what the future brings in terms of the funding and FM development landscape’.

Around 25 community radio stations have ceased broadcasting in recent years, whilst over 200 are still on-air. The Government is expected to announce details of the new 2015 Community Radio Order tomorrow (Thursday 22nd January).

The new Bauer City 2 stations launched last week and former Bauer Programme Director Euan McMorrow had a listen for #eRADIO

I approached the launch of Bauer’s new City 2 stations with cynicism. Not only do I have warm memories of the Magic AM network but something jarred about introducing local station names while reducing the amount of actual localness. I thought it was going to be a RAJAR/sales game and not about the listener experience. I was certain we’d hear some clever radio voodoo that would bolster the RAJAR figures of its sister FM stations. I was expecting a bland, generic and uninteresting product.

Hands up. I was wrong. The City 2 stations are the ones I’ve listened to most across the last week. I find myself turning one on for a bit and staying longer than I meant to. Why? It’s a combination of what is there and what is missing altogether.

The big attraction for me, and others I’ve spoke to, is the music. It’s a mix of the greatest hits of the 60s through to now. The emphasis is on the older songs but a smattering of George Ezra and Ed Sheeran keeps it from sounding like a nostalgia station. It’s well scheduled too. You never feel like you’re getting too much of one era or one genre. Truly Bauer is beating Heart hands down at the variety game here.

It’s easy to keep listening and there’s not much to make you turn off.

The stations allow very, very little to get in the way of the music. The presenters aren’t overbearing. They’re laid back, relaxed and on message. To quote a friend “they blend in unlike the infuriating egos on the FM station”. City 2’s presenters don’t say much but they sound like real people.

It’s a bit strange that they repeat the strapline lots but never say the station name. However the presenters are not cramming in content while selling everything else on the station, the £1.50-a-shot text message competition, the “big prize” competition on the website, playing some artist endorsements and salivating over Twitter.

The City 2 stations are for grown ups who don’t need much more than some decent music to accompany them. It’s unhurried and uncluttered, that makes such a difference.

An attempt at localness comes in the form of news and other functional information. Sadly It’s really patchy depending on which location you’re listening to and what time of day it is. Sometimes it can clash with the accomplished tone of the rest of the station. I didn’t want news of the troubles in Paris read in a smiley voice or an update on the Celebrity Big Brother house.

The website changeover was horrible at times. There was badly checked copy and lazy cut and pasting. This is the kind of thing that gets the anoraks on social media and forums up in arms. Do the vast majority of listeners care or even notice? Of course not. These stations will live or die by how they sound on air.

The quibbles are minor. The vast majority of the station is at a high standard.

So yeah.. from expecting something cheap, bland and unremarkable I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Unless you’re addicted to overpaying for your text messages while being force fed Taylor Swift they make a great alternative to their more bloated and commercialised FM rivals.

Euan McMorrow is a content and talent specialist, find him at mcmmonline.com or on Twitter @euanmcmorrow

 

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