It’s all smiles at Emap’s radio division after RAJAR results show that Magic 105.4 is London’s biggest radio station with a reach extending 2% ahead of rivals including the recently re-launched Capital Radio and Heart 106.2.
But the results also confirm a less talked about national success. The Hits, based alongside Key 103 in Manchester, have given a strong performance with 970,000 listeners nationwide – making it the nation’s biggest digital-only station – ahead its nearest rival, GCap-owned Core with 110,000 listeners, as well as the Sony Radio Academy Awards’ digital terrestrial station of the year, Planet Rock, which reaches 461,000 listeners weekly.
Unlike Core – another nationally-focused pop station – The Hits isn’t available nationally on DAB. But The Hits is on one platform Core isn’t: Freeview.
Anthony Gay, programme director for Key 103, Magic 1152 and The Hits, has been speaking to Radio Today about the secrets of the station’s success.
“Not being on DAB isn’t a major issue. The bulk of the listening is done through Freeview and satellite and despite coming off DAB we’ve still managed to grow audience. Emap’s decision to get into Freeview early on was a wise strategic move that continues to pay off.”
Much of the success of the station can be attributed to a firm policy of attracting the best talent and content from Emap’s Big City Network local stations onto the station – Radio City’s Simon Ross hosted “Get Closer to McFly”, which featured live performances and an exclusive question and answer session.
“Using the best Emap presenters really does make a different as it makes The Hits a high quality engaging and compelling listen that sets it apart from the other jukebox services available on digital.”
On the future of the station, Mr. Gay added: “I think everyone’s starting to up their game and growth is going to get tougher as the other groups start to invest more in digital and high quality programming.”