Hits Radio Rebrand Rollout
#31

At least the presenters won't have to record all the individual radio station names in different tones of voice to insert at the start of their chat, which sounds true & realistic. That, is pretty clever, making the ordinary punter off the street, think they are listening to their local presenter from their local studios, when they're not.
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#32

(11-01-2024, 05:05 PM)Juicy Joe Wrote:  At least the presenters won't have to record all the individual radio station names in different tones of voice to insert at the start of their chat, which sounds true & realistic. That, is pretty clever, making the ordinary punter off the street, think they are listening to their local presenter from their local studios, when they're not.

I’m not sure if they were the first to do it, but the TLRC network were doing this back in 2002. The system wasn’t that robust back then, and sometimes if a station’s server was running slow, the local name drop would fire slightly late meaning you’d hear the presenter talking over themselves which slightly spoilt the illusion.
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#33

(11-01-2024, 05:05 PM)Juicy Joe Wrote:  At least the presenters won't have to record all the individual radio station names in different tones of voice to insert at the start of their chat, which sounds true & realistic. That, is pretty clever, making the ordinary punter off the street, think they are listening to their local presenter from their local studios, when they're not.
Yes, I always wondered what the behind the scenes of that clever but extraordinarily disingenuous undertaking was like. I can only imagine utterly tedious.

It's surely preferable to pour all your energy and marketing resource into a real, living brand than propping up zombie names.

The gradual actions taken over the last 10 years - managed removal of any local distinctiveness, to the extent the majority public response to this story is an apathetic shrug - to get to an obvious endpoint which could have come about much sooner, don't suggest total confidence in the Hits brand and format.

In that scenario, listener apathy and inertia is preferable to outrage and revolt - they're not lying when they say regular listeners from the last 5 years will not notice any difference.
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#34

(11-01-2024, 05:48 PM)Spencer Wrote:  I’m not sure if they were the first to do it, but the TLRC network were doing this back in 2002. The system wasn’t that robust back then, and sometimes if a station’s server was running slow, the local name drop would fire slightly late meaning you’d hear the presenter talking over themselves which slightly spoilt the illusion.

Dick Stone wrote a very good blog a few months ago about having to set up the Hit Music Network out of Trent FM at short notice - including how they did the localisers / splits using Genysys.

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#35

(11-01-2024, 01:04 PM)all new phil Wrote:  As far as I can tell local radio can still be profitable, but bigger brands with deep pockets are stifling that.
Absolutely. If the political will was there to licence ILR. Strange that Clyde1 et al are maintaining brand names (for now) & more importantly producing more local hours. *cough* SNP.

The destruction of local media in this country, through Gov policy, has been shocking. Huge losses to a local sense of identity, local news coverage and ultimately local democracy. Big impact on opportunities for people that don’t live in London or Manchester to work in media.

If successive Governments placed such little value on local media then they should have just scrapped local licences and ran an auction for a couple of National services.

I think we’re getting to the point where turning FM off and using the frequencies for something else would be of more value.
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#36

(11-01-2024, 05:48 PM)Spencer Wrote:  I’m not sure if they were the first to do it, but the TLRC network were doing this back in 2002. The system wasn’t that robust back then, and sometimes if a station’s server was running slow, the local name drop would fire slightly late meaning you’d hear the presenter talking over themselves which slightly spoilt the illusion.

TLRC’s mid-00s networking was ahead of its time but, as you say, less than reliable with the kit all the stations had…

Many a time I’d get into the studios at 4.45am and find the network feed going out over the local automation.

Or the evening presenter would forget to put up the network fader before leaving so there’d be silence at 7pm.

And not to mention when the entire network seemingly crashed about 2.45pm on Christmas Day leading to many dinners being interrupted so we could dial into the studios remotely and ensure QEII went out at 3pm.
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#37

(11-01-2024, 11:08 PM)steve Wrote:  Or the evening presenter would forget to put up the network fader before leaving so there’d be silence at 7pm.

Of course I never did a screeching u-turn shortly after leaving a certain station when the car radio went silent. Honest. 😗
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#38

Clyde 1 is still huge - especially breakfast - which I think is number 1 breakfast show in the west of Scotland?
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#39

On the subject of community stations reviving old ILR brands - and presuming they fall into certain anorakhands, I can see more of this thing happening - East Devon Radio is reviving the DevonAir brand on March 1st.

They already run a DAB jukebox service called DevonAir Gold (which has dropped presenters since launch) and recently grabbed further attention by using an AI tool to generate local news bulletins.

And all this from a station that's about to go through its third rebrand (Bay FM - ExmouthAIR - East Devon Radio)

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#40

Apologies that I'm a bit late to this thread - this news passed me by a bit last week. My perspective from somebody who has lived in Worcester for 5-and-a-half years, now: it's high time for the Hits Radio brand to be used here instead of Free Radio.

I remember moaning some time ago (on the blue place) about how terrible the dual-branding split links used to be, with the 'It's Free Radio' tag from the presenter so *blatantly* not matching the inflection of the following link, or having the tag being played in completely the wrong place in the link. To be fair, this has been sorted out over the last couple of years so that it's now really slick - but there's been little point, as they refer to the individual shows as 'Hits in the Afternoon', 'Hits at Breakfast' etc (obviously preparing for this move), and Free Radio is hardly a heritage local name (unlike some others that are getting impacted in this change) so the clunky approach to networking was just a millstone around more creative links, with basically no benefits (IMHO).

I personally found that the shift in emphasis of the playlist over the last 2-3 years has moved it away from what I want to listen to, so I've been a bit less fond of the station for that reason - and I don't think it's an especially good listen (certainly in comparison to Heart and Capital, which I guess are its primary competitors, not that we have a local Heart or Capital here on FM).

As for Radio Wyvern (as briefly mentioned upthread) - it's become a *really* good listen recently in my view. I'm torn, because I think it is a flagrant breach of the community radio license under which it operates (although it does play quite a bit of specialist dance music in off-peak slots, which I guess is a license condition?) but it's a far better fit for a 'modern local radio station' than Free has been. It's slick, a good contemporary playlist (very much in the Hits idiom of 'contemporary bangers plus throwbacks', but I think there's more variety in both the modern tracks and the throwbacks), good local content and some really good presenters now (compared to what we used to hear on Youthcomm only a few years ago). The imaging is more than a bit indulgent (as you might expect from a Muff Murfin operation) but it makes me giggle, and I do appreciate it really!

Long may it continue, and it's a bit sad that this kind of station can only operate under a slightly dubious use of a 'community radio' license - it's basically trying to be a 100% local ILR-style station in a modern idiom and it's really succeeding IMHO and is my 'chart music' radio station of choice whenever I'm out in the car (which only gets FM).
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