Interview: BRMB programmer Paul Kaye
Paul Kaye is the Programme Director for BRMB. In the past few months, the station has gone through plenty of changes to bring the station back to its glory days.
RadioToday.co.uk caught up with Paul to ask him a few questions about BRMB of the past, present and future.
[b]You’ve spent a few months in the hotseat at BRMB now, guiding the station through the reconstruction over Christmas. What does BRMB sound like now?[/b]
After a bit of research in the market, it was clear that there was a lot of fondness for the station, and that people felt that some of the stuff that made the station great in the past had simply not been as prominent in recent times. Listeners recalled a station that was a mirror for the city, full of larger than life personalities, cared about the community and did exciting and interesting things between the songs that made it stand out. It was refreshing to hear that to rebuild BRMB we needed to give it a heart again; reinvigorate it’s personalities. We needed to create a radio station that connected on a much greater emotional level than it was doing.
So now we’re focused on making BRMB belong to Birmingham once again. We have put a greater focus on employing entertaining & real personalities who have the power to connect with young adults. We have brought back things that made this station famous like late night talk, bigger competitions and events, and football commentary. I am hoping that you would now hear a radio station connecting on a more emotional level with our Birmingham audience.
[b]Are you now in a position to steam ahead or are there still some tweaks to make?[/b]
Yes of course there are still some tweaks to make, and making those tweaks will create some more exciting opportunities for us. We are certainly on the course we intended to be on, and we will continue down this route, but we have a lot more crafting still to do and more ideas we want to introduce, to make BRMB the station we know it can be.
[b]Breakfast is always crucial, what qualities does the Jo Show have to make it stand out in Birmingham?[/b]
Jo! I think Jo Russell is one of the greatest personalities in commercial radio, and her track record is impressive. What I think separates Jo is her unique ability to truly connect with her audience; she has a beautiful way of telling stories on the air. It’s nice to have the show led by a strong independent woman; it allows us to approach content from a different viewpoint to any of the other breakfast shows in the market.
The show is focused around Jo and her chemistry with the audience, so the show is heavy on interaction and real life segments. The early feedback has been encouraging and we haven’t finished casting this show yet – so the future should be exciting as we add to the early foundations.
[b]You've got a great line-up for the rest of the day too. Briefly talk us through it and what they bring to the station:[/b]
Russ Morris and Dan Morrissey are on daytimes and balance the art of real content around the music. They both work listeners into their shows well, and have the right warmth for daytimes. Foxy & Giuliano are our drive show and are a great listen. They bring a sense of fun and mischief to the drive home – its two blokes sharing their lives and having a laugh. Robin Banks is on evenings doing what Robin does best – it’s anarchic and irreverent. Caroline Martin has gone back to Late Nights to front our talk show, and brings a conversational and genuine feel to the end of the day. Outside of daytimes we also have Sam & Mark, from TV, doing a really energetic and interactive show on Sundays.
[b]Some ILR stations have been playing marketplace piggy in the middle. What's BRMB's fit with a young Galaxy and an older Heart on the dial?[/b]
I think there’s a fit and I think it is in the middle. We understand that our mainstream contemporary mix of music isn’t going to win the battle on it’s own in this market hence the greater emphasis on what goes between the music. BRMB chased its competition as they grew in audience and consequently lost it’s dominance in the middle ground, we now need to reclaim that place.
[b]As part of your changes, you've brought back a LOT of the things BRMB was famous for many years ago. What's the strategy?[/b]
As I’ve mentioned, the market is genuinely fond of BRMB and passionately recalls the elements that built it into such a successful radio station. We have simply asked the audience what they wanted BRMB to be doing again and have then made sure they work in the right way for the young adults of today.
A great example of that has been the recent reincarnation of the BRMB Walkathon– the passion for this event was incredibly strong in all our research so we really had no choice but to listen and bring it back; we packaged some elements a little differently so it felt relevant to today’s audience but it remained the 26 mile sponsored walk that the market was fond of, and our target audience remembered as kids. It was amazing to see how well the market connected to this event. Around 8000 people did the walk and raised over £405,000, making it the most successful Walkathon ever.
[b]You've refreshed the station, how are you going to shout about it and convince reluctant listeners to give you another try?[/b]
Well we still have a lot of tweaks to make to the product before we really push the product heavily in the market, this is a long term strategy on rebuilding the radio station so we want to do it right. Rebuilding trust is important as the station has swapped and changed a lot in recent times.
We are focused on being much more visible in the market; our entire presentation team is passionate about getting out and about in Birmingham and making fans on the streets. In these early days, word of mouth is very important for us, we want to get people talking about the station again and will be aggressive in getting out and meeting them one at a time.
[b]Until Christmas, what's the big focus for your presenters and the rest of team BRMB?[/b]
Now that we have made the changes and they have had time to settle, we will focus on polishing what we’re doing. We need to deliver on our goal of being a real and entertaining radio station for the young adults of Birmingham. We will keep working on rebuilding our connection to Birmingham and getting that emotion back into the product. I’m sure the next few months are going to be good fun. There really is a great sense of team spirit here and a determination to succeed.
[i]Paul Kaye started out as Breakfast Producer for Wyvern FM over a decade ago, then followed a less than successful attempt to make it as a presenter, before pestering his way into a programming chair at Invicta FM. From there Paul was Programme Director for GWR-FM and Red Dragon FM. Paul joined BRMB as Programme Director when Orion Media purchased the stations from Global Radio.[/i]