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Summer Lovin’

24 Mar

The clocks move forward this weekend, marking the start of British Summer Time. We’re all looking forward to warmer weather, but both the UK ad market and commercial radio have seen things hotting up for some time.

The UK was recently cited as the stand-out ad market in Europe, with advertising spend this year forecast to outperform the Western and Central Europe region. In addition, radio advertising spend in the UK is predicted to be up by 5%.

The latest RAJAR figures also revealed that, for the first time in 15 years, commercial radio has more listeners than the BBC.

The start of British Summer Time brings people out of their cocoons. The population starts getting out and about, engaging in more outdoor leisure pursuits, holidays and gardening activities – very often taking the radio with them wherever they go. This is an ideal opportunity for businesses to use radio to promote their products and services locally, using established radio brands such as Heart, Capital, Smooth, Radio X and the City Network.

For wider reach, there are strong national brands, such as Classic FM, talkSPORT, Absolute and Magic. In addition, there are now 18 stations broadcasting on the second national digital multiplex – many new to the national marketplace. These include talkRADIO, talkSPORT2, Share Radio, Mellow Magic, Magic Chilled, Sunrise Radio, Panjab Radio and Fun Kids. These stations are already broadcasting, but they are soon to be joined by the return of “Virgin Radio”, which launches on the 30th of March.

If you’ve got a brand that wants to be the “sound of summer”, contact us and we can help pin-point the right station selection for your campaign.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert


£43m spent on radio by travel sector

11 Mar

This week is English Tourism Week, the visitor economy is worth £106bn a year to England and the sector is the third largest employer supporting 2.6 million jobs.

Across the UK the Travel and Transport sector spent £43 million on radio in 2015 (source: Nielsen) – that’s a massive 24.9% increase year on year. It’s a sector that loves radio – whether it’s spot advertising, sponsorship or promotions, you’ll find transport and travel companies snapping up opportunities both locally and nationally as soon as they become available.

Radio is an amazingly powerful medium for travel clients. With the right approach to targeting, a well-written script, plus a massive range of sound effects, music and a variety of accented voices to choose from, we can use the magic of radio to transport the listener anywhere in the world.

Radio listeners’ favourite destinations often change. Right now, Egypt and Turkey are currently not seen as the safest places to visit whereas Italy and the United States are proving to be more popular destinations in 2016 (source: Travelzoo). Lonely Planet’s top suggestions for travel this year are Botswana, Kotor (Montenegro), Transylvania and… Manchester!

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

National radio stations to launch

26 Feb

The wait is over –  the second national digital multiplex (D2) will go live on Monday. Its launch will bring 18 national commercial stations to a new broadcast platform.

In total, there will be eight specialist music stations, three talk stations, three Asian stations, three Christian stations and one for kids.

The stations are:
talkRADIO (Presenters to include Paul Ross, Iain Lee and George Galloway)
talkSPORT2 (Launching 15th March at Cheltenham Festival)
Virgin Radio (DJ’s to include Edith Bowman)
Share Radio
Mellow Magic
Magic Chilled
Heat Radio
Sunrise Radio
Awesome Radio
Premier Praise! (Launching on Easter Sunday)
Panjab Radio
Fun Kids
Jazz FM

The following stations already broadcast nationally and are moving to the D2 platform: Absolute 80s
Planet Rock
Premier Christian Radio

In addition, Heart Extra is also launching on the original, D1 platform.

Accurate audience data for these stations won’t be available until later in the year, but whilst some are in their infancy, there are likely to be some short term national opportunities available for spot advertising, sponsorship and promotions.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

Get a post-election bounce

15 May

Even before the dust settles on the 2015 General Election, we’re starting to see a change in the way businesses are viewing their marketing.

For several months before the election, brands were being guarded about their plans to run radio campaigns before and after May 7th, unsure which way the results would fall. With the outcome now clear and commentators declaring it “good for business” confidence is now again returning to the marketplace and giving brands a post-election bounce.

Amongst others; retail advertisers, motor dealers and house builders are looking to take advantage of the positive effect on spending the election is predicted to bring. With Sterling currently performing well against other currencies, the foreign travel market is also one that’s likely to benefit.

Radio Experts has already seen a steady rise in requests for radio campaign planning as brands want to ensure they have “front of mind awareness” whilst consumer confidence is high.
Like politics, radio operates on a national, local and personal level. Whether it’s mass coverage, localised targeting or a personalised approach, radio can offer it all – communicating your message in a cost-effective way.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

Bank Holidays – Bank on Radio

1 May

May Day has been celebrated as a Bank Holiday since 1978 and whilst nearly everything used to be closed most shops are now open. Even the 144-year-old tradition of banks being closed on public holidays is coming to an end with Britain’s biggest lenders due to open a number of branches on Monday. Retail has progressed from being 5 days a week to 7 days a week now including every day apart from Christmas Day.

‘Think globally, act locally’ said Paul McCartney. Many of us still look to buy many items close to home and most of us will make the majority of our purchases within 10 miles of where we live. If the weather is good this weekend some of us may be dragged out to the nearest gardening centre, DIY store, furniture shop or the closest adventure park for the kids.

Radio remains one of the most effective ways of reaching this local retail audience throughout the day. Research by the UK’s Radio Advertising Bureau has shown that radio increases ad awareness by 70% for retail campaigns.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

Marathon or a sprint? Radio helps brands do both

24 Apr

The London Marathon takes place this Sunday and although none of the Radio Experts team will be on the start line, you could say we know quite a lot about the marathons and sprints. This is because we often use these as metaphors to describe the different ways to advertise on radio.

A marathon means delivering results over a long term campaign. The sprint offers brands opportunities for a short, more tactical approach.

The marathon offers creative opportunities and partnerships through sponsorship and branded content, helping to build awareness and brand values. Spot airtime can also offer clients longer term exposure – for example a house builder with a 2 to 3 year site build can run a long (marathon) drip feed campaign at a low OTH until completion.

The marathon isn’t suitable for all brands; the sprint may be a better choice. Short term promotions can also get your brand to the top of the podium, running for only 2 weeks and creating buzz and talkability. Short term spot advertising, with strong creative can also provide effective brand recall and a good return on investment for all brands regardless of size and geographical location – a motor dealer may need to shift some stock quickly over a weekend and a heavy short term (sprint) burst of 6-8 OTH over a few days can effectively target the relevant audience.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

Is commercial speech radio coming of age in the UK?

3 Feb

The BBC has traditionally led the way with speech radio but maybe this trend is changing.

TalkSport currently has its highest ever listening figure of 3.25 million*. The station provides extensive football coverage for the game obsessed UK audience – as well as coverage of other sports such as cricket, golf and rugby union – and is now a real alternative to BBC Five Live.

LBC, positioned as ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ and available nationally, now has 1.3 million listeners*. The station achieved some high profile national coverage in 2014, especially the EU debate between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg which was also broadcast live on Sky News. With the General Election taking place in less than 100 days, the station looks well set to provide strong political coverage and is becoming an alternative to Radio 4.

Both stations are able to provide advertisers the opportunity to tap in to potentially attentive and increasing audience numbers; also, past research has carried out by NOP Research revealed that speech radio listeners display higher levels of spontaneous and prompted brand recall and are generally more attentive to commercials.

*all figures based on RAJAR Q3 2014

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

Less ice – More ice-Cream

3 Dec

One of radio’s biggest sectors, Travel, has been boosted by Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement today of reductions in UK Air Passenger Duty (APD). It won’t arrive in time for those icy Winter Holidays but it will be in place in time for those ice-cream filled summer getaways.

Osborne’s headline change is that children under the age of 12 won’t be charged APD after May 2015 and that means significant savings for families looking to head overseas. So, it’s good for holiday sales …which is good for radio.

But why is travel such a strong sector on radio? Simple. One of radio’s and audio’s greatest strengths is to engage imagination and ‘take’ listeners to different places. We’ve all heard great radio ads where the voices and sounds whisk us away to the seashore, the swimming pool, the Taverna and the chatter of foreign language. Radio’s power is like that of a book – the listener imagines the scene for themselves and so the listener makes the scene fit perfectly to their own ideal vision.

If you would like any more information about how  radio could work for your brand –  and enable more ice-cream to be consumed – please contact us.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert


26 Nov

A lot is said about radio’s role within the increasingly complex world of media integration. But even when complex technologies are involved, sometimes it’s the old ideas that work best.

A brilliant example of this – is when we see radio stations using social media to do something they’ve pretty much always done…..tell listeners what the next songs are going to be.

Simple isn’t it? It’s really just a technological step up from the station presenter simply mentioning which tracks are coming next…..

Radio stations across the UK don’t just have loyal listeners, they have loyal followers. And because audio is consumed alongside other media (not instead of other media), we belong to an industry that has cajoled, reinvented, finessed and migrated its contemporary media relevance very successfully.

Twitter is just another example of how radio has managed to stay tuned in to the old things that make it special – whilst also adopting the new things that fuel and direct our media consumption habits today. Good job!

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

Coming soon to the UK?

26 Nov

Interesting developments in audio around the world

Audio technology is always changing. Here are the latest developments in the worldwide audio market that could be of future interest to UK listeners and advertisers.

  • Apple Radio has already launched in Australia and the US (the launch date in Europe is still unspecified but will probably be in 2015)
  • In the US, internet radio station Pandora has over an 8% share of all listening (the highest share in the UK is Radio 4 at 15%)
  • Turkey has a radio station aimed only at 2 year olds and under.
  • As of last Friday, Spotify Premium account holders in 10 major world cities – including London, Singapore and Sydney – can listen to their playlists in taxis booked through the Uber smartphone app.

On demand audio continues to grow worldwide. However traditional radio remains a vital source of new music, up to date news, live sports coverage, community discussion and the feeling that listeners are associating with a friend.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert