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Amber Zoe Livingstone joins Pure Radio Scotland

Mon, 2020-01-06 13:46

Pure Radio has announced Amber Zoe Livingstone as the newest addition to its schedule.

The Scottish station has been teasing its listeners throughout December, both on air and across social media, with a series of clues about the identity of the masked presenter.

Born and bred in Glasgow, Amber will take the helm of the drivetime show, which will be broadcast Monday through Friday from 4pm to 7pm.

Amber got her first big break on Radio Clyde and has been presenting the travel on Clyde 1’s Home Run with Grant Thomson since 2015, after attending the Bauer Academy.

Amber Zoe Livingstone, said: “To have my own drivetime show across central Scotland really is a dream come true. I’m so excited to be joining Pure Radio and the talented team that is already on the station.

“They are radio presenters that I have admired for years and it’s an honour to be working alongside them, but this time, I’m going solo and I can’t wait!

“I love the music and the personalities on Pure, I think it’s just what the Central Belt needs. I’m also a huge supporter of females working hard and achieving amazing things, so I’m doing it for the girls. I can’t wait to get started – 2020 is going to be an amazing year of Pure fun!”

Robin Galloway, Breakfast Show presenter at Pure Radio, said: “We are so excited to welcome Amber to the Pure family. It’s a great way to start the New Year to be able to unveil our new drivetime presenter and I think it paves the way for what I’m sure will be a fantastic 2020.”

Gary Lamont made Bauer’s Head of Creative for Scotland

Mon, 2020-01-06 11:56

Gary Lamont has been appointed to the newly created role of Head of Creative for Scotland at Bauer.

Gary has 10 years of experience in commercial radio across programming, creative and marketing roles and Bauer says he will be responsible for shaping the future for creative within the organisation.

Previously, Gary was Senior Creative at Global and most recently held the position of Chief Creative Officer at agency Fore Digital.

Gary Lamont said: “The role at Bauer Media is a really exciting and interesting challenge and I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

“With an industry-wide focus on effectiveness and campaign transparency, it’s never been more important to immerse in a client’s business and offer a strategic, multi-platform creative solution. I think there’s a big opportunity in this marketplace and I’m looking forward to working with a hugely talented team to deliver growth within the organisation.”

Matt Allitt, regional commercial director for Scotland added: “I am delighted that Gary is joining our team at Bauer. His wealth of experience and industry knowledge made him a standout candidate throughout. Gary will be a great fit for the Bauer Media Scotland Creative Team and will help to deliver creative excellence in 2020 and beyond.”

ENCO founder Eugene Novacek has died aged 61

Sun, 2020-01-05 23:26

Eugene Novacek, the founder and CEO of radio playout software company ENCO has died following a long battle with Cancer.

He passed away peacefully on January 1, 2020 in New York surrounded by family following a long and valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.

In a statement, ENCO and UK representative The Useful Media Company told RadioToday: “He is survived by his wife Judith Kane Novacek; his daughter, Kristin (Tom); his son Andrew Novacek (Valerie) and granddaughter, Evany.

“His legacy lives through his family, the company he founded, and the industry he loved and changed.”

The UK radio industry has been using ENCO products for the last 30 years, including ENCO DAD, the popular playout software.

TV and radio stations around the world use its large range of products including DAD, MOM, enCaption, enTranslate and ENCO1.

Jenni Falconer moves from Heart to Smooth Radio

Fri, 2020-01-03 10:05

Jenni Falconer joining Smooth Radio to present the breakfast show in London and nationwide on Smooth Extra after leaving Heart last year.

She takes over from Gary King, who will present Smooth’s new, national early breakfast show from Monday to Friday, as well as continuing to host Saturday afternoons across the network.

Angie Greaves, who joined Smooth last September to host the brand-new nationwide Smooth Drive Home, will present a new three-hour Sunday morning show.

The Smooth Sanctuary at Seven will now run seven days a week till 10pm hosted by Gary Vincent from Sunday to Friday and Tina Hobley every Saturday.

Jenni Falconer said: “I am beyond thrilled to be joining the Smooth family and truly honoured to help wake up London every weekday morning. I’m no stranger to the early starts, so I can’t wait to keep listeners company as they get ready for their day, set off to work or make their morning cuppa! I’m also excited to host a brand-new nationwide show on Saturday morning – and to be working for a station which plays such a brilliant mix of relaxing music is the icing on the cake for me.”

Jenni left Heart last year to be replaced by James Stewart on Early Breakfast.

Sam Jackson, Smooth Radio’s Senior Managing Editor, said: “What better way to start 2020 on Smooth than to launch our updated schedule, led by a fresh voice on the station, Jenni Falconer. Her warmth, popularity and sense of fun make Jenni the perfect addition to the Smooth team and I’m sure that our listeners will love waking up to her.

“It’s also great to welcome Angie Greaves to the weekend schedule, as she builds on the success of The Smooth Drive Home, which she launched just four months ago. With a fantastic line-up of presenters and a playlist to match, we couldn’t wish for a better start to the new year.”

The Global Awards return with new Podcast category

Thu, 2020-01-02 11:37

The Global Awards will take place once again this year and include a new category for Best Podcast.

All Global’s radio stations including Capital, Heart, Classic FM, Smooth, Radio X, Capital XTRA, Gold and LBC will come together in London on March 5th at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo.

The new Best Podcast category will be voted for by the public and the shortlist includes David Walliams (David Walliams’ Marvellous Musical Podcast), Stacey Solomon (Here We Go Again with Stacey Solomon), Adam Buxton (The Adam Buxton Podcast) as well My Dad Wrote A Porno, Full Disclosure with James O’Brien, Dear Joan and Jericha and Today In Focus.

Ashley Tabor-King OBE, Global’s Founder & Executive President, said: “This is one of the biggest nights in the awards calendar and we’re so thrilled to return for a third consecutive year. Only Global can bring together artists from such a wide range of genres and we will have a fantastic line up of performers on the night to announce soon. Now it’s time for the public to start voting for their favourite artists, songs and podcasts as we get ready to crown our winners on 5th March.”

The Global Awards 2020 is sponsored by and the categories reflect the music, programmes, podcasts and news aired on Global’s radio stations and the Global Player app. Last year the event was hosted by Global presenters Rochelle Humes, Roman Kemp and Myleene Klass.

Ed Sheeran leads the shortlist with the greatest number of nominations at six, closely followed by Aitch with five. Lewis Capaldi, Stormzy, Young T and Bugsey, Sam Smith, Tom Walker, Khalid and Mabel all have four to their names.

In previous years, the ceremony has drawn performances from the likes of Anne-Marie, Little Mix, Lang Lang, Mark Ronson and Blossoms.

Opinion: RadioToday industry predictions for 2020

Wed, 2020-01-01 21:07

One thing is for sure – radio is changing at an incredible pace. Keeping up with emerging products and making full use of smart technology is key.

But whilst the art of ‘input’ is changing, the ‘output’ has remained fairly static for many decades.

Listeners can still hear a friendly voice on the radio at all hours of the day – the major difference is where the voice is located and when they were recorded.

But let’s dig deeper down into the industry and see what 2020 might bring.

Last year we correctly guessed Bauer might launch a national station or two, Celador would sell up, and Heart would change its daytime schedule. But we also wrongly predicted Heart would arrive in Northern Ireland, Scott Mills would join Commercial Radio and Viking, Hallam and Aire would rebrand as Hits. Maybe we were just premature!

So, the next 12 months might see all, some, or none of these take place:


New streams added to BBC Sounds including Radio 1 and Radio 2 spin-offs

BBC local radio stations start rolling out new jingle package ahead of a major network announcement


XS Manchester rebrands to Capital XTRA

Bauer to close another broadcast centre in the North


Global launches Smooth Musicals

CMA announces details of Bauer investigation


Signal 107 sold to Nation Broadcasting

SAM FM South Coast rebrands as Greatest Hits Radio


Free Radio and GEM rebrand to Hits Radio Midlands

BBC reveals plans for Radio 5 Live News and Radio 5 Live Sport


talkRADIO rebrands

Future of FM decided by DCMS


Ipswich 102 and Town 102 merge to create Ipswich Town 102

Capital extends to Kent


Changes at Radio X Breakfast

Bauer launches another specialist music service


Capital extends to Sussex

Fire Radio rebrands as Hits Radio


Surprising RAJAR results across the board

BBC to close further AM transmitters belonging to its local radio network


Capital extends to Devon

A number of ultra-local radio stations start to appear on DAB


Chris Evans announces a change

Digital Radio arrives in Cumbria

Will any of these come true? Check back in 12 months to find out!

Biggest radio industry stories of 2019 on RadioToday

Wed, 2020-01-01 11:18

More has happened in the UK radio industry during the last 12 months than any other 12 month period in the last 15 years, based on the number of stories, reaction and visitors at RadioToday.

The year 2019 has seen it all – major consolidation – major brand networking – major radio talent moving, and sadly some radio greats have left us.

Our stories are industry focussed so are based on the views by radio people rather the general public. Radio stories that also appear on mainstream sites get fewer views on RadioToday, as the details are available elsewhere. The majority of our stories are unique and exclusive.

OK, so here we are, the biggest stories viewed by visitors of of 2019:


Gethin Gemma and Dave quit Hits Radio Breakfast

The trio lasted just 12 months after a fanfare of publicity surrounding the new show and the launch of a national radio station from Manchester in June 2018. They were replaced by Fleur East, Greg Burns and James Barr in 2019.


Johnnie Walker – Radio 2

Johnnie Walker started 2019 with a break due to illness but returned shortly afterwards.


Phil Williams – 5 Live

Phil Williams left BBC Radio 5 Live after an 18-year run. His evening show was taken over by Sarah Brett.


Greatest Hits Radio launches

It seems like longer ago but Greatest Hits Radio launched in January 2019 with Simon Ross on Breakfast, Mark Goodier on mids, Andy Crane on afternoons, Darren Proctor on Drive (Rachel New in the WM) and Rick Houghton on evenings. It replaced the ‘2’ stations from Bauer including Metro 2 Radio, Rock FM 2 and Hallam 2.


Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show

Also in January 2019, Zoe Ball replaced Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2 Breakfast. Zoe’s first song was Respect by Aretha Franklin. Fandabbyruddydozy.


Simon Mayo Scala Radio

It was only in January 2019 that Simon Mayo and Bauer announced details of Scala Radio, and that he was lined up for the mid-morning show. His reveal and subsequent station launch made the 5th biggest story of the year.


John Myers

The words radio legend were reserved for John. He left a great big hole in the industry when he suddenly passed away in June 2019 whilst enjoying his third favourite thing in life, behind family and radio. Your contributions to our tribute podcast made this one of our biggest articles of 2019 – one we wish we didn’t have to write.


Chris Evans Virgin Radio

Whilst this was announced at the end of 2018, Chris Evans took over the breakfast show on Virgin Radio at the start of 2019 and made our third biggest story of the year.


Bauer buys Wireless, Lincs FM, Celador and UKRD

It started off like any other week, but Bauer bought Wireless Group, Celador Radio and Lincs FM Group in early February 2019, and competed the acquisitions with the purchase of UKRD a few weeks later. The ramifications of the move are yet to be seen, whilst the CMA investigates any potential competition issues.


Global networks

No surprise to some but the biggest story for radio in 2019 was the news that Global was to network breakfast shows across local and regional Heart, Capital and Smooth stations.

The company later said it would network Smooth Drive instead of Breakfast, for reasons not announced.

We had various stories on the topic – including our most shared story of the year predicting how many presenters and producers would be out of work following the move. Other stories within the news included the appointment of Amanda Holden joining Jamie Theakston at Heart.

Fancy a trip down memory lane? Check out our biggest stories of 2018 here and 2017 here, and look out for our 2020 predictions coming soon.

Nominations out for Hospital Radio Awards 2020

Wed, 2020-01-01 09:52

The shortlist for the National Hospital Radio Awards 2020 has been revealed.

The winners will be announced at a gala night in Bolton in March at what will be the 50th anniversary of the Hospital Broadcasting Association.

HBA Patron Alan Dedicoat read out the winners via the association’s website on New Year’s Day.

Here’s the full list:

Best Station Promotion

Hospital Radio Basingstoke – David Blower and Steve Fox

Hospital Radio Chelmsford – Good Times with Showaddywaddy

Hospital Radio Plymouth – The New Jolley Good Breakfast

Radio Glamorgan – Music Was My First Love

Radio Heartbeat – Radio Heartbeat Weekend Breakfast

Radio Hillingdon – How to listen to Radio Hillingdon

Radio Wey – The Young Wey

Southend Hospital Radio – Focus

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio – Join SMHR

Whipps Cross Hospital Radio – Whipps Cross Hospital Radio 50

Best Special Event

The Hospital Broadcasting Service – Hospital-to-Hospital Sponsored Walk

Hospital Radio Plymouth – 50th Anniversary Weekend

Nottingham Hospitals Radio – The Last Day

Radio Heartbeat – Radio Heartbeat 40th Anniversary Show

Radio Hillingdon – Brunel University Volunteers Fayre

Radio Wey – St. Peter’s Open Day Coverage

Radio Cavell – Royal Oldham Hospital Summer BBQ for staff and local partners

Rookwood Sound – The International Tortoise Sanctuary

Southend Hospital Radio – MacMillan Coffee Evening

Whipps Cross Hospital Radio – Whipps Cross 50 Years

Best Speech Package

BHBN – World Transplant Games Baton Handover

Durham Hospitals Radio – Life on the Farnes

Grampian Hospital Radio – The Robertson’s Family Roof Garden

Hospital Radio Basingstoke – Drummer John

Hospital Radio Plymouth – Tor Bridge High Radio Show – Carers Week

Radio Brockley – Up On The Roof

Radio Frimley Park – RFP Meets… Joy Hunter MBE

Radio Grapevine – In Conversation

Radio Marsden – Pressure Ulcer Red Spot Day

Radio Wishing Well – Rita’s Story

Best Specialist Music Programme

Grampian Hospital Radio – The 70’s Show

Hospital Radio Medway – Coolaxing

Hospital Radio Plymouth – Cabinet of Audio Curiosities

HWD Hospital Radio – The Rock Show

Radio Brockley – Bedside Broadway

Radio Clatterbridge – Country Connection

Radio Grapevine – Fresh Sounds

Radio Harrow – Richard Wyborn – Nice & Easy

Radio Redhill – Curtain Up!

Radio Tyneside – The Geordie Hour

Best Newcomer

Kira Hughes, BHBN

Jojo Sanderson, CHBN

Beth Dobson, Grampian Hospital Radio

Catherine Stables, Harrogate Hospital Radio

Emily Prince, Hospital Radio Lynn

Shannon Griffin, Hospital Radio Medway

Jamie Patey, Hospital Radio Reading

Andrew Douglas, Radio BGM

Anandi Shah, Radio Harrow

Laura Lindores, Radio Harrow

Best Programme with Multiple Presenters

Steve Dundas and Jennifer Mcloughlin – Arrowe Sound

Zara and Liam Saturday morning show – CHBN

G&T – Harrogate Hospital Radio

Sam And Tones Big 80’s Bangers – Hospital Radio Chelmsford

Dolphin Beats – Hospital Radio Medway

Saturday Brunch – Radio Harrow

Katherine and Maria’s The Young Wey – Radio Wey

Steve and Debbie The Flagship Show – Rookwood Sound

Girls Talk – Southampton Hospital Radio

SHR Kids – Southend Hospital Radio

Best Male Presenter

Ross Maxwell, Grampian Hospital Radio

Wayne Fysh, Hospital Radio Lynn

Andrew Hill, Hospital Radio Plymouth

Rajiv Hasan, Nottingham Hospitals Radio

Howard Jacobson, Radio Glamorgan

Ross Coutts, Radio Grapevine

Shrey Puranik, Radio Harrow

George Reed, Radio Hillingdon

Steve Allen, Rookwood Sound

Joe Smith, Southend Hospital Radio

Best Female Presenter

Philippa Clarkin, BHBN

Eileen Thompson, Durham Hospitals Radio

Nikki Quayle, Durham Hospitals Radio

Ginny Irvine-Fortescue, Grampian Hospital Radio

Adele Guillen, Harrogate Hospital Radio

Carrie Ingram-Gettins, Hospital Radio Lynn

Julie Caston, Nottingham Hospitals Radio

Hansa Varsani, Radio Harrow

Karen Wilkinson, Radio Heartbeat

Lesley Jennings, Rookwood Sound

Station of the Year


Coventry Hospital Radio

Harrogate Hospital Radio

Hospital Radio Basingstoke

Hospital Radio Chelmsford

Hospital Radio Plymouth

Radio Brockley

Radio Glamorgan

Radio Redhill

Rookwood Sound

Individual Categories

There are some categories where the HBA awards a single prize and where a shortlist is not released. These categories are:

The John Witney Award

The award celebrates an outstanding contribution, by an individual, to Hospital Radio over a period of years and is open to anyone working in hospital radio. The nomination should explain why the candidate has made a real and long-lasting impact. The candidate may be drawn from the broadcasting arena but may equally be found from a technical or administrative background. They may have worked for single or multiple stations over the years.

Recognising Innovation across Hospital Radio

Designed to recognise those behind the scenes, this award celebrates pushing the boundaries, using innovative, novel or pioneering ideas. This award is open to all across the various roles hospital broadcasting organisations may have. Technical to administrative, fundraising to Trust or Board engagement – this award celebrates achieving a goal using new and inspiring techniques.

Wireless brings back Virgin Radio Groove on DAB+

Mon, 2019-12-30 13:35

Wireless has soft-launched Virgin Radio Groove using DAB+ in London and DAB in Scotland.

The original Virgin Radio Groove operated from 2000 to 2008 under previous owners although it was known simply as The Groove until 2004.

The resurrection of the name comes 12 months after the launch of both Virgin Radio Anthems and Virgin Radio Chilled, which started life in December 2018.

Virgin Radio Groove will carry the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, followed by a weekday lineup including Chris Brooks (10am-2pm), Steve Denyer (2pm-6pm) and Bam (6pm-10pm).

Mike Cass, Content Director for Virgin Radio, told RadioToday: “It’s been a phenomenal 12 months for Virgin Radio. Chris Evans returned to his spiritual home and has produced a year of outstanding radio. Virgin Radio UK is flying and Virgin Radio Anthems and Virgin Radio Chilled have established themselves as firm favourites on the digital dial.

“The launch of Groove highlights the next phase of Wireless investment in Virgin Radio. It will become the go-to destination for all anyone looking for music to make them move.”

Radio broadcasting into the new decade

Mon, 2019-12-30 08:58

Opinion: Michael Walbach, CEO, Central Media Group, writes about radio broadcasting into the new decade.

“The media landscape may be in near-constant flux, but radio remains one of the most effective ways to reach an audience.

In a time when the power of telling your own stories and news directly to audiences has arguably never been more important, radio’s reach and ability to engage not just one person but potentially whole offices of individuals at once is unparalleled. It can bring people together, and its often easy to overlook its amazing diversity of channels that speaks to very specific audiences.

When unity is in short supply, radio is often welcomed into people’s homes and personal lives like a close family friend.

It’s this welcoming nature of radio which is going to take it far ahead into the next decade. As the world is switching on to the power of voice search, control, and smart home speakers, it’s easy to see how radio fits seamlessly into this new audio mixing pot.

Even when podcast consumption is in its ascendancy and TV streaming looks set to polarise other types of mass media, radio remains the stalwart, and the one most people encounter first when they wake up in the morning.

Uniquely, it’s also integrating alongside other channels in a natural way. At CMG, we have seen a notable increase this year in clients looking to combine radio campaigns with the responsiveness of social media. The power of the airwaves is the seamless ability to work alongside other channels – reinforcing cinema and TV, adding an extra dimension and personality to digital, and bringing print to life. We’ve seen the medium boost campaigns time and again this year, as well as giving a voice to brands with targeted needs that may otherwise never have been able to attain the scale and prestige which coming through audience’s speakers can achieve.

And the channel still innovates. On-demand services, curated podcast hubs, even visual extensions of programmes – it’s easy to make wild predictions at the dawn of a new decade about how a medium might develop in the years to come, but with spin-offs, local variants of national brands, community broadcasting and of course podcasts, the ability of radio to find new ways to engage and feed listeners is tenacious.

Even in the current climate where hesitancy and uncertainty in advertising are starting to bite, mass media spend on TV and radio is remaining steadfast. It’s because their reach and efficacy are proven and their ability to speak directly to people all around the country are so ingrained, and deliver results time and time again. Combined with smart thinking campaigns that can surprise, educate and delight listeners throughout the country, the variety and reach of radio makes the airwaves accessible to a wide range of brand strategies, from the very niche to very broad.

I for one look forward to the next decade for radio. The last one has seen the expansion of digital, the development of podcasting, and brand support of the medium which transports people to new worlds, shocks, amuses, and teaches them something new about the world. It’s this flexibility which makes the airwaves of the UK such an exciting space to work in, and its resilient effectiveness cements its place in people’s homes, the year and decade to come.”

Record podcast listening reported by BBC Sounds in 2019

Sun, 2019-12-29 17:04

The BBC is reporting record listening figures for its podcasts via BBC Sounds, with three million weekly users, up from 1.3 million in June.

There have also been more than 630 million plays of audio on Sounds across podcasts, live and on-demand radio programmes and music mixes.

Between February and November 2019, there was a 74% increase in plays of podcasts and on-demand radio programmes on the BBC.

Controller of BBC Sounds, Jonathan Wall, said: “It’s just over a year since we launched BBC Sounds and we’ve seen huge growth to around 3m weekly users. Sounds has allowed us to up our creative ambition and this year’s various hit BBC podcasts are brilliant examples of how we can make audio with great new UK talent on and off mic that sounds different.

“We’ll be launching new podcasts in early 2020 so there’s plenty more binge worthy audio to come on BBC Sounds.”

Over this year the BBC has significantly expanded its ambition in podcasting; commissioning and making entertaining, informative storytelling specifically for the podcasting medium.

This year has also seen an increase in radio programmes being listened to on-demand, with Radio 4’s The Archers, In Our Time and Desert Island Discs the most popular on-demand radio programmes. The Archers had over 49 million downloads or plays on BBC Sounds and on other platforms, In Our Time had over 34 million and Desert Island Discs had over 30 million downloads or plays, with Louis Theroux the most popular castaway.

Some of this year’s biggest BBC podcast hits are: (all figures are combined downloads or plays on BBC Sounds and other platforms in the UK and outside of the UK):

  • Brexitcast / Electioncast – more than 14 million for the BBC’s award-winning podcast with Adam Fleming, Laura Kuenssberg, Katya Adler and Chris Mason which gives listeners geeky insights into the world of Brexit and politics
  • That Peter Crouch Podcast – around 12 million, with the most popular episode of the podcast with Peter Crouch, Tom Fordyce and Chris Stark easily being That Crouchfest Episode
  • Beyond Today – around 8.5 million for the daily podcast that asks one big question about a story in the news. The most popular episode was ‘Why is Prince Harry taking on the press?’
  • 13 Minutes to the Moon – this podcast counts down the final thirteen minutes of Apollo 11 mission and has had nearly 6 million downloads and plays this year
  • Fortunately… with Fi and Jane – nearly 4.5 million downloads or plays this year for the podcast that goes behind the scenes with Jane Garvey and Fi Glover
  • You’re Dead To Me – over 4 million of our history podcast for people who don’t like history, hosted by Greg Jenner
  • Tunnel 29 – around 3.5 million downloads or plays of the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel under the Berlin Wall to help others escape, presented by journalist Helena Merriman
  • The Missing Cryptoqueen – over 3 million downloads or plays of the investigation by Jamie Bartlett and producer Georgia Catt into a complex cryptocurrency scam and its missing founder
  • Tailenders – over 2.5 million for the podcast in which Greg James, Jimmy Anderson and Felix White take an alternative look at cricket
  • Evil Genius – nearly 2.5 million for the podcast in which guests join Russell Kane to assess the heroes and villains from history

Radio is vital in local communities now more than ever

Sun, 2019-12-29 08:25

Opinion: Alistair Clarke, awarded an MBE for services to Social Enterprise in Lancashire this week, writes about the importance of radio in the community.

“US Marine Toby Studabaker flew from America to Manchester and absconded with a young girl from Wigan. Media outlets from around the globe were onto the story. It was 2003 and little old me was the head of news at 102.4 Wish FM in Wigan with the biggest story in the world on my patch.

I rang the headteacher of the girl’s school to ask if she’d do an interview. She’d spent the morning dodging requests from a barrage of reporters. “I’ve been waiting for you to ring,” she said, “I only want to talk to Wish FM, after all it’s the radio station all the pupils’ parents listen to.”

It was another sharp reminder in my radio career that when something happens in the community, people turn to their local radio station.

Nearly 17 years on and I believe now, more than ever, radio stations have to accurately reflect what’s happening on their doorstep. That could include featuring more charities and social enterprises on air that will give a no-frills, apolitical view of what’s going on.

It’s very easy to read out a story that says the use of foodbanks in your town has gone up by a certain percent. What does that mean? It means nothing if you don’t understand why people are so desperate they are having handouts. Go and stand in a foodbank, listen to the silence – you can hear the shame – sometimes beneficiaries start to cry. Ask people how they feel about using a foodbank, then the story has a relevance and you have a better understanding of your local area in 2020.

I consider myself fortunate as I always worked at stations that got under the skin of the local people.

In the late 80s, a man called John Barnett (now MBE for services to radio) was in Florida and heard lots of very area-specific radio stations, literally talking about what was happened down the street. He came home and pestered the radio authorities that this country should have small-scale licences as the radio landscape only had big metropolitan and countywide broadcasters. They advertised a licence for the Fylde Coast, he put a consortium together and won it, so Radio Wave in Blackpool was born.

I’m still in touch with the team at Wave and 27 years later it’s as down to earth as it was when I read a bulletin on day one. They still invite me to the Local Heroes Awards where a dozen examples of triumph over personal tragedy are rewarded on stage for their bravery. It reaffirms what listeners believe anyway, that Wave cares about local people.

And last month I was delighted to be asked to present an hour of the Radio Wave Charity Auction. Businesses offered gifts, listeners rang in to pledge bids and nearly £15,000 was raised in one day for the town’s Carers Centre.

Times change, radio changes and careers change. I now work with charities and social enterprises (they are like charities but they sell goods and services: think Coop and Big Issue) that benefit very disadvantaged people. It’s hard work but I love it.

I’m delighted and humbled to receive an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for my work but my knowledge and understanding of community stretches back to when I was on the radio.

In my opinion, no other media has the power to shape a local area like a radio station. You have the power, please continue to understand, reflect and represent listeners.”

Annie Nightingale recognised in New Year Honours List 2020

Sat, 2019-12-28 10:32

BBC Radio 1 presenter Annie Nightingale has been awarded a CBE for services to radio in the New Year honours list.

Annie joined the BBC in 1970 for a regular programme on BBC Radio 1 and remains there to this day with a weekly show, and will celebrate 50 years at the station next year.

She was also appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to radio broadcasting in 2002.

In 2004, Annie was the first female DJ from Radio 1 to be inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame.

Elsewhere, outgoing Ofcom Chief Executive Sharon White has become a Dame for public service.

Former 5 Live presenter Gabby Logan has received an MBE for services to Sports Broadcasting and the Promotion of Women in Sport, whilst former North-West based radio journalist Alistair Clarke gets the same recognition for services to Social Enterprise in Lancashire.

Alistair was joint News Editor at Radio Wave when it launched in 1993 and went on to work at Wish FM and Wire FM from launch in April 1997 to June 2004. He is now chair of Social Enterprise Solutions in Blackpool and vice-chair of Social Enterprise Lancashire. Look out for his opinion piece on radio in the community appearing on RadioToday soon.

And radio critic Gillian Reynolds MBE, who was the first Programme Controller of Radio City in Liverpool in 1974, has been awarded a CBE for services to radio.

Most grateful thanks to absolutely everyone I've worked with, who has supported me; without you this #CBE #NewYearsHonours would not , could not have happened. Love you lots xxx

— annie nightingale (@aanightingale) December 27, 2019

American radio presenter Don Imus dies aged 79

Sat, 2019-12-28 09:59

Don Imus, popular radio host across America, has died at the age of 79, his family has announced.

The former WABC and WFAN presenter was taken to hospital on Christmas Eve (Tuesday) and passed away on Friday morning.

Imus in the Morning was broadcast from 1968 till 2018, and Don was well known for his controversial comments.

The cause of death has not been announced but the radio host was diagnosed in 2009 with stage 2 prostate cancer.

He operated a ranch programme for children with cancer and was a member of the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

UK radio folk will remember his part in Howard Stern’s movie Private Parts, and know his name from a number of jingle demos produced in the US and resung for stations in the UK.

Don is survived by his wife Deirdre and six children. The family will host a private funeral in the coming days.

Eve Blair adds weekend show at BBC Radio Ulster

Sat, 2019-12-28 08:16

Eve Blair is to present a new lunchtime show on Saturdays on BBC Radio Ulster with entertainment, the arts and live music.

The new show begins on Saturday 4 January from 1-2pm.

The Strabane-born presenter will be broadcasting each week from the studios at BBC Radio Foyle in Londonderry.

Eve says: “I am so looking forward to presenting this new show, as there is so much brilliant local and visiting talent from the North West and across Northern Ireland, and I can’t wait to feature them on the show, as well as playing some good music and finding out what listeners are up to and planning for the weekend ahead.”

She will continue to present The Late Show With Eve Blair from Monday to Thursdays on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Sounds from 11pm-midnight.

DAB sales in Europe and Asia Pacific reach 82 million

Fri, 2019-12-27 13:41

WorldDAB’s latest market report reveals that by the end of Q2 2019, over 82 million consumer and automotive DAB/DAB+ receivers had been sold in Europe and Asia Pacific – up from 71 million one year earlier.

The new data published by WorldDAB gives an overview of DAB receiver sales, road and population coverage, household penetration and the number of national stations on DAB/DAB+ compared to FM. The report covers Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.

On a pan-European level, the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), adopted in December 2018, requires all new car radios in the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio by the end of 2020. Italy and France already have legislation in place to ensure that they comply with the directive in 2020, with their respective regulations also covering consumer receivers.

More recently, Germany amended its Telecoms law to be in line with the EECC, and starting from 21st December 2020, all new car radios and consumer receivers capable of displaying a station’s name are required to have digital capabilities.

Key findings from the WorldDAB report include:

  • Over 40 million receivers have been sold in the UK, with 65% of households having at least one DAB receiver
  • Over 14 million receivers have been sold in Germany, with 23% of German households owning at least one DAB receiver
  • In Switzerland, 65% of all radio listening is via digital platforms, and 35% of all listening is on DAB+. Switzerland has also confirmed digital switchover will take place no later than the end of 2024
  • Italy, France, Netherlands and Belgium all show positive signs of growth in the last year
  • In Norway, following its digital switchover in 2017, radio listening is now back to similar levels as achieved in 2016
  • In Australia, 73% of new cars are now sold with DAB+, up from 60% in 2018. The commercial radio industry has also launched the largest consumer-focused DAB+ campaign since regular services launched in Australia 10 years ago
  • DAB is also seeing significant activity across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The infographic details the rollout status in 24 emerging markets including information on trials and population coverage.

WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon comments: “2019 has been an exceptional year for DAB+ radio. By mandating digital terrestrial capabilities in all new car radios, the European Electronic Communications Code is transforming the European radio landscape.

“This year we have seen DAB+ launches in Austria and Sweden, and next year France will launch national DAB+. In the Asia Pacific region, Australia is seeing its highest ever levels of DAB+ in new cars, and Tunisia is the first country in Africa to launch regular DAB+ services.

“A record 12 million DAB receivers were sold worldwide in the last twelve months, and we expect this figure to grow in 2020 as DAB+ uptake continues to rise.”

Government to consult on future analogue radio licences

Tue, 2019-12-24 17:00

The Government has launched a consultation on whether to extend licences for analogue commercial radio stations.

Although digital radio now accounts for around 57% of all radio listening, DCMS says analogue remains an important platform.

A number of FM and AM licences are due to expire from early 2022, including those for Classic FM and TalkSport. Ofcom does not have the power to renew these licences for a longer period under current legislation.

Therefore, the government is seeking views on whether analogue licences should be renewed for a further period and if so, how long they should be renewed for.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Although we now live in an increasingly digital world, there are still many people that use FM and AM radio and will want to continue listening to these services. That’s why we are seeking early views on options to renew commercial radio licences in a way that benefits both the commercial stations affected and their loyal listeners.”

The consultation will remain open until 21 February and the government plans to take forward any legislative reform at the earliest opportunity.

The government consultation contains three options:

Do nothing and allow licences to expire and be re-advertised by Ofcom;

Allow the renewal of licences for a further 5 years;

Allow the renewal of licences for a further 8 years.

Stuart Last appointed Chief Executive Officer at Audioboom

Fri, 2019-12-20 11:10

Audioboom has appointed former BBC Radio executive Stuart Last as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect.

Stuart joined Audioboom in 2014 and launched the business in the U.S, leading all strategy, business development, sales and production operations there.

He served as Chief Operating Officer before being appointed the interim Chief Executive Officer in September of 2019.

“I’m excited to lead our talented team as we move into a new year of growth,” said Last. “We have a lot of opportunity and hard work in front of us as we expand our original content network and help more advertisers discover the power of podcasting. Audioboom has an exciting future ahead.”

Before joining Audioboom, he ran podcast operations at Voxnest in New York. Stuart previously held positions at the BBC in London at BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2.

“Audioboom continues to go from strength to strength and I am delighted that Stuart has demonstrated the ability to quickly get to grips with the new role,” said Michael Tobin OBE, Chairman of Audioboom.

“As such the Board has no hesitation in appointing him as CEO. I look forward to working with him closely as Audioboom continues on its upward journey.”

Ruth Davidson returns to radio for LBC Christmas shows

Fri, 2019-12-20 10:05

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is joining LBC to host five Christmas specials next week.

In An Inconvenient Ruth, the ex-radio journalist will look behind the public façade to uncover the achievements, challenges, victories and disappointments of her five guests each weeknight from 9pm till 10pm.

Guests from Monday to Friday are former Chancellor-turned-Editor George Osborne, Labour peer Dame Joan Bakewell, the forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black, businesswoman Baroness Martha Lane-Fox and broadcaster Piers Morgan.

The programmes will see Ruth use her former career as a journalist to find out what it’s taken for each guest to be at the top of their field.

In the first show on Monday 23rd December, George Osborne reveals what he really thinks of Boris Johnson, how he found the Conservative party woefully outdated when he joined and gives his honest opinion about Theresa May.

Ruth Davidson said: “I started my career in radio and, as a former journalist, I have always loved pressing people to tell their stories. When LBC asked me to get behind the mic again this Christmas, I jumped at the chance.

These interviews are a peek behind the curtain in the lives of some of the most successful people in the country. From all sorts of backgrounds and choosing wildly differing paths, you’ll hear about their world-beating exploits, but also the dark times too.

Covering the whole story of their lives, we’ll discuss the opportunities, triumphs, compromises, failures and inconvenient truths behind some of Britain’s most prominent people.” 

Tom Cheal, LBC’s managing editor, said: “Ruth is one of the most straight-talking and no-nonsense politicians – and we welcome her to LBC. Combined with her background as a journalist, she is the perfect choice to get under the skin of our five guests.

“An Inconvenient Ruth will give listeners an honest, in-depth and unique insight into some of our most respected and successful figures.”

BBC Radio 2 to broadcast live from WhatsOnStage Awards

Thu, 2019-12-19 12:48

BBC Radio 2 will broadcast live from the 20th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards in March 2020 after agreeing on an exclusive deal.

The event, which will take place on Sunday 1 March 2020 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London will be live on-air from 7-10pm in a special show, presented by Ken Bruce and Elaine Paige.

As part of the WhatsOnStage Awards this year, Radio 2 has also launched the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical and is inviting its listeners to vote for the winner.

Lewis Carnie, Head of BBC Radio 2, says: “We’re thrilled to be the radio partner for the WhatsOnStage Awards for the first time and we look forward to being the home of the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical.”

The WhatsOnStage Awards celebrate theatre productions across the breadth of the UK and are the only major theatre awards decided entirely by theatregoers themselves. The ceremony will see winners crowned across 25 categories, and will feature a host of live performances from top West End talent.