The Big Listen has concluded its week-long campaign to gather the views of commercial radio listeners with a two hour long radio show. The programme heard from a variety of business people, listeners, presenters and radio owners from Richard Branson commenting about buying Virgin Radio, to Keri Jones talking about launching the UK’s smallest radio station on the Isles of Scilly.
The Big Question about The Big Listen, and indeed the whole week of activity has to be — has it achieved what it set out to. Has commercial radio gathered enough comments to prove to Ofcom that something needs to be done to ensure the survival of local commercial radio stations?
The programme, hosted by Toby Anstis was networked to 60 radio stations including those owned by UKRD and TLRC. Listeners outside of London will be forgiven for wondering if they had tuned into LBC by mistake, as references to the London speech station were a plenty.
Phil Riley, Chief Executive of Chrysalis was one of the first guests on the show and said radio needs to be heard on as many devices as possible in the future. Andrew Harrison from RadioCentre said that radio is outdated with regards to the regulation that it has to put up with, whilst Tim Suter from Ofcom said he welcomed the debate on the future of radio, and especially initiatives such as The Big Listen which generates views from the most important people – the listeners.
As far as radio gossip is concerned, in a pre-recorded interview with Richard Branson, the Virgin boss said he was not ruling out buying Virgin Radio saying “it’s certainly a possibility”, and former Virgin and Heart breakfast presenter Jono Coleman confirmed he was coming back to the UK, but only for a holiday. Toby suggested the holiday may be a long one, suggesting Jono may be back on the UK radio scene in the near future.
Scott Mills, BBC Radio 1 presenter was asked what he thinks the future of commercial radio should be. His response was for local stations to be more local, and have less networking. Quite an ironic statement to make on a networked show!
All comments and survey results will be sent to Ofcom to contribute to Radio Centre’s formal reply to the Ofcom consultation on The Future of Radio, which launched in November 2006.
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