RadioToday.co.uk Awards 2007
Like that needlessly repetitive Billy Joel song you can't dance to, there aren't many more events you could hope to squeeze into the past 365 days of radio. Arrivals and departures, sales and scandal – 2007 had the lot.
Radio Today has brought you over 1300 news stories in the past 12 months, so it's with a tear of pride and sigh of relief that we present the Radio Today 2007 Awards.
Obviously these aren't real awards, so please don't ask for a statue or money if you've won. Your reward is satisfaction in a job well done. Or not, as the case appears to be.
[b]The Day Today Award[/b]
Chris Morris predicted it would happen years ago. A radio station somehow lost the news and nobody noticed.
In June Ofcom has agreed a Format change for Kiss 100, allowing the station to officially drop afternoon peaktime news. The Format change request came years after the station stopped the peak bulletins, due to what was described a 'genuine oversight'. Ofcom admitted it was an unusual request to exclude elements of programming that have been required, but not delivered.
The format change was agreed regardless and hundreds of missing bulletins on London's fourth largest station were never mentioned again. That's suffocating regulation for you.
[b]The Presumed Innocent Twist of the Year [/b]
The management of GMG Radio weren't hopeful of winning final North West regional FM license. After all, they'd already bought the other two regional services – Smooth FM and Century FM – and they'd applied with a format that had failed to win in their native North East. So when they learnt GMG was to launch a mixed rock music and speech format, jaws couldn't be scooped off the floor quick enough.
Rock Radio launches on May 6th next year (be honest, Rock Talk was a ridiculous name), and will be based in the wireless factory on Salford Quays which will also house Smooth and Century. Expect a face familiar to Mancunian radio at the helm of programmes for launch.
[b]The Tiffter* Award[/b]
How do you reward your ratings-winning breakfast team for doing what they've always done? You suspend them, that's what. Hirsty's Daily Dose and his breakfast team were taken off air by Galaxy Yorkshire's management in September, following an on-air discussion about objects listeners had stolen while drunk. It's the sort of discussion the team have on any given day of the week.
Still, with Kiss 100's record fines still ringing loud in the ears of new owners Global Radio, one complaint was all it took to dismiss the biggest breakfast show outside London.
* From Roger's Profanisaurus. Look it up.
[b]The Tourettes Award[/b]
Just 21 hours in to the launch of Emap's new digital station, Heat, a celebrity reporter was caught with her microphone on, blurting out one naughty word after another. Sophie Davidson pre-recorded a showbiz round-up but failed to edit out the warm-up.
Plenty of audio gaffes did the rounds last year, but the fact Heat Radio had only just launched in September made this one all the more spectacular. Relive the golden moment again here: http://radioaudio.co.uk/download.php?view.5
[b]The Zulu Award, for triumph in the face of adversity[/b]
It takes balls the size of Belgium to drop a CHR format on a local station, and replace with classic and specialist rock. Obviously it helps if Ofcom agree to let you relocate the station outside the TSA and house the station on the site of an existing regional service to lower your overheads.
Nevertheless, the easiest option for GMG would have been to keep 96.3 QFM churning out Mika and Elton John. It's fair to say any other radio group buying the station would have done exactly that. Instead Paisley and Renfrewshire now enjoy Led Zeppelin and Steppenwolf during the daytime. And the audience figures have gone up. A crazy idea, but it might just have worked.
[b]The Revolving Door Award[/b]
The cynical would point the finger at any radio company to receive this accolade. Emap, XFM and the BBC are all worthy contenders, but it takes a steely determination to rapidly churn through senior management and make each departure a news event in its own right.
There was a certain symmetry to events of the last twelve months, with one woman making the headlines at either end of the year; in January, chief executive of Virgin Radio Fru Hazlitt, her shows filled by Paul Jackson. Within two weeks, Hazlett was in charge on GCap's London operations and by December had replaced Ralph Bernard as chief executive of GCap.
Hazlett certainly wasn't the first executive to walk from Virgin. A month later Kathleen Saxton, strategy director of Virgin Radio left after 18 months. James Cridland announced his departure as Digital Media Director after six years at the station, to join the BBC as Head of Future Media & Technology, Audio & Music.
At the end of August, it was the turn of Paul Jackson to jump ship. The Virgin Radio chief executive was appointed managing director of Capital 95.8, who in turn appointed Virgin's marketing director David Andrews as a marketing consultant for Capital.
We salute you, Virgin Radio!
[b]The June Woo Award[/b]
The lady in question is (or rather, was) an 82 year old whose body is still laying in a Brisbane morgue over five years after she died.
So dead but not quite buried, rather like The Revolution in Oldham. Five years ago the station peaked with a million hours, 95,000 listeners and a 9.6 per cent market share. The latest results show the station at an all time low with 86,000 hours, 19,000 listeners and a market share of just 1.1 per cent.
Perhaps an alternative format on a local station when Xfm have just spent trillions marketing their new service doing a very similar thing hasn't helped. Not quite gone and mostly forgotten, at least by the listeners. We hear RAJAR sent a refund for lack of acurate results, but we've had nothing official from Ofcom or The Revolution.