New direction for the sound of BBC Local Radio

All BBC local radio stations are getting a different sound for 2020 with a new jingle and imaging package from ReelWorld Europe.

The first station to broadcast the new sound was the first BBC local radio station – BBC Radio Leicester – on Monday 6th January.

A new strapline has been created “The Sound of [area] and all the music you love” along with an updated six-note logo.

The previous network-wide package, produced by Mcasso, also featured a six-note logo, with listeners left to work out the words to match.

The updates represents the first time all 39 stations are using the same produced imaging, centrally created mixed voices and sung jingles. The news intro will be made for each station and include references to BBC Sounds and Smart Speakers.

The new network voice-overs are BBC Radio 5 Live’s Anna Foster and Hits Radio presenter Alex James, with additional local voices used by some stations.

The other 38 stations in the network will adopt the new sound in the coming months.

Anthony Gay, Managing Director, ReelWorld Europe, told RadioToday: “It’s been an enormous pleasure and a privilege to support the BBC team with the evolution of Local Radio’s sound in 2020.

“I’d like to acknowledge the innovative creativity of the ReelWorld team who have all stepped up to the challenge to produce a fresh, bold and memorable audio identity for the Network. The energy around the project has been inspiring and I’m looking forward to hearing the sound roll out across the country throughout the year.”

Chris Burns, Head of Digital and Audio for BBC England told RadioToday: “As we enter a new decade, BBC Local Radio will sound different. This process is underway. It will refresh the sound of our stations while ensuring they retain their strong local flavour.”

Have a listen to an example below:

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32 Comments
  1. Mark budgen says

    No individuality. Maybe getting ready for a Global takeover of BBC local radio?

  2. Liam says

    It’s nice hearing younger voices on BBC local radio. Not sure it will sit well next to some of the very old presenter voices who are a lot more pedestrian that this sounds.

    If tbis indicates the general direction of travel for BBC local radio it’s good.
    If I was a 55 year old BBC local radio presenter I would not be feeling as secure as I did last week.

  3. MICHAEL A BOLTON says

    Wow – what a difference – Very on Trend with Greatest Hits Radio / heart imaging and a move from News and Talk to refering to music as part of the offering. This immediatly mkaes the stations sound more modern, fresh, upbeat and positive and clearly marks a different direction not only in imaging but focus. More of a return to full service local radio – which is a great place to go for as Bauer and global go for national brands and shows. I hope more stations use the option with vocals – I fear there will be many who recoil at the upfront sound but those are probabbly te stations that need to embrace it! A great job by reelworld.

  4. Dave says

    Well I’m a 53 year old BBC Local Radio presenter and am excited by the new sound! I think most my age will have started life in commercial radio and actually felt a bit dragged down by the sound of local radio.

    There are definite changes afoot and I’d embrace most of them. I don’t still think it’s local radio’s job to break new music and whilst a familiar George Ezra or Tom Walker song is great, this week they added the new Alicia Keys song which is instantly forgettable. Play some more classic songs from the last 20 years if you want to sound more relevant.

    However, I do agree there are some local stations who no matter what you do will still sound old but as most of their presenters (and managers) and heading towards or past their 60’s, it’s difficult to see how you would change things which is a shame. Also important that the BBC remember their core audience for local radio is still averaging 50 and so don’t throw the baby our with the bathwater.

    1. Mark Budgen says

      Don’t forget between Phil Collins and Tina Turner to say “BBC Radio Countyshire” and a time check and finish with “BBC Radio Countyshire” whilst all radios these days clearly show you what station you are listening to. On BBC Radio Countyshire – FROM THE B. B. C.

  5. Nick says

    No i dont like the package i think rubbish heard better

  6. Ray Woodward says

    YUCK!

  7. Ian Scott says

    I couldn’t work every word on some of these. And that is using speakers on a PC.

    Not a chance to hear the words while driving.

    And using a voice from Bauer? In the whole of the BBC, there isn’t someone good enough?

  8. Joe Smith says

    Seems like BBC Local Radio is continuing in the same direction. Down the drain.

  9. Steve Bishop says

    What is the demographic BBC local radio is going for. If it is the same as heart/R2/bauer et al, then what is the point?? The current playlisted music on my station in the south east is bland beyond comprehension, to the point of lazy. How about a Head of Music for the local stations who actually knows a bit about music, with more input from the presenters. Revolutionary!

    1. Adrian says

      The music is apparently being put together with the help of Radio 2 music people so if you don’t like that you are unlikely to be happy with the BBC Local Radio offering (which I am not).In my opinion they have wrecked one network and are now wrecking another-the point of the BBC in terms of music is going down the pan I reckon except for a few select specialist shows.

  10. Cameron McGarva says

    Does this affect BBC Radio Scotland?

    1. AlMorr says

      To Cameron,, BBC Radio Scotland is not a BBC local radio station.

      1. Cameron McGarva says

        ah ha, I did wonder, thank you.

  11. John Leech says

    Love these . Look forward to using them

  12. mb23 says

    Very similar in style to Magic, “more of the songs you love, BBC Radio [insert name]”

    1. James Robinson says

      Sorry. This package suits ILR but definitely NOT the BBC!

      SOUNDS MIRE LIKE a commercial station. Dire!

      I fo not dislike some ILR but that is where this type of jingle fits.

      Listen closely. Where there is a gap in the singing and there is a voice over then theoretically these could be redone for regional output so that local entities are eventually removed.

      If that ever happened that would be a sad day. But you never know. The sing part of the station name could also become 8nstrumental with a further voice over if non local.

      Sorry it just does not fit BBC local radio and is too wishy-washy for my liking.

      I would not normally post such negative co/ents but I really believe the BBC have made a grave mistake here. Sorry to have to say that!

      YUCK!

  13. Michael Palmer says

    Its time for change and I welcome this excellent fresh new package and its standardisation over the 39 BBC local radio stations.Its core strength is local football broadcasting and phone ins plus proper in depth local news.We are very lucky in Liverpool having Radio Merseyside.However ,the music output is cringeworthy and needs a major rethink..it just sounds restricted which it is because of needle time thus forcing music music choice to limited playlists.

  14. Andy says

    Omg. People saying they sound too much like commercial radio! Who has the most listeners? COMMERCIAL RADIO.

    Back in the 80s when BBC local last had individual identities they had jam jingles just like commercial radio. I think it’s great that they have finally realised BBC local shouldn’t be a local version of 5live. More music, newer music, shorter speech segments. It’s all very positive.

    The problem with the moaners on here is they, along with some BBC management, and I have to say some older presenters, think that things should not change. I’m sorry but unless you want to keep JUST the (ageing) audience you have YOU WILL DIE.

    Radio 2 started doing this 20 years ago when they shifted out old presenters and brought in the likes of Steve Wright. That’s when I switched from commercial pop stations to radio 2. They have done it several times since first with Chris at Breakfast then last year they turned up the 90s and turned down the 70s. Not overnight, granted, but over the summer of 2018 and into last year. The older existing audience hardly noticed BECAUSE THEY TOOK THEIR TIME and Ken Bruce sounds just as great playing Little Mix as he did playing The Nolan’s. BUT it will draw in new younger listeners which is vital to keep doing.

    Now BBC local is doing the same. They started with a new approach to music around 18 months ago and slowly it’s been changing. Plus they have increased the number of songs per hour. In most cases, not reducing the number of items they include but by shortening how long they spend jibbering on to a guest or caller. This approach should bring in a younger audience from commercial radio who demand more music and less speech.

    I’ve heard some presenters struggle but if they have a good producer behind them telling them when to move on, and great management encouraging them to embrace and enthuse about the music, it’s worked [from what I’ve heard].

    These jingles are a great step in setting up what I hope will be a great alternative to what is now the only local radio network that is live and local from where it broadcasts. The alternative is just 3 hours a day, which is the disgraceful position it’s competition has ended up in.

    Good luck to BBC local, everyone who works there and to those who I hope will start to listen once they clear out everything that is still holding it back from being a great network across England.

    You can still have a great local voice and sound contemporary!

    (Freelance presenter that’s been around 30 years both BBC and commercial, and still loving playing songs that are new as well as talking about showbiz as well as local issues!)

    1. mb23 says

      “This approach should bring in a younger audience from commercial radio who demand more music and less speech.”

      BBC local radio isn’t supposed to be in a ratings war with commercial radio by trying o steal their listeners. The point of the licence fee model is to provide something distinctive that the market wouldn’t provide.

      While everybody wants to see more people tuning on to their station it shouldn’t be at the expense of quality journalistic output, which is the main purpose of BBC local radio.

      I don’t want to hear Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi & Little Mix back-to-back on BBC local radio, I can get that elsewhere.

      1. Andy says

        Well they are offering something commercial aren’t offering. LOCAL. You can do local that includes music. It’s different because between the songs is local content not networked content.

      2. Andy says

        It’s not about a ratings war. But there’s no point having local radio nobody listens to!

        They are different because there’s local content between the songs not networked content.

  15. Mark Budgen says

    BBC Local radio should be speech and sport; music relegated outside to specialised shows in evenings and weekends.

  16. Gary Silvester says

    Brilliant New Sound for BBC Local Radio , i can get Two Stations where i live , Radio London and Radio Kent. Both excellent Local Radio Station.
    As a Radio Geek , its gonna be great hearing these New Idents on Air.

  17. Richard E says

    John Leech, BBC Essex and Essex Radio Soulman! Don’t think that BBC Radio 2 and Local Radio show keep going for a younger audience!
    I am 60 and listen to Absolute Classic Rock, Planet Rock as well as. BBC Essex, the Essex Quest is definitely a show for 40 plus audiences! The station has played Smells like Teen Spirit, Nirvana which is fantastic and Ciggies and Alcohol Oasis!
    Don’t want to hear Little Mix, Yuk!

  18. Paul George says

    BBC Local Radio has no sense of itself. Many of its stations are paralysed by back-biting, woeful management and 3 / 4 daytime presenters all pulling in different directions. Directions driven by either their own take on what should be going out, or those of their producer, depending on how dynamic (or not) that producer is.
    Annual emails tell of “the new strategy” from one of the many hideaways of the upper echelons. These strategies never materialise, unless they are straightforward cuts or diktats from the latest faceless regional head of music who instructs on air staff to keep their hands off that music. Yet the briefest of glances shows a muddled and cack handed lottery, songs mis categorised for style and pace, inexplicable leaps between the tacky and the vaguely credible and back again. Yet as ever in the BBC zero accountability from the person (s) responsible for one of the most vital aspects of the operation – THE MUSIC!!!!
    Factor in that some of the LRs have one “star” presenters who is permitted to pick all their own music (f**k everyone else, f**k any semblance of station sound) and non entity Editors and Asst Editors and you arrive at a dreadful and directionless bolus of nonsense.
    New jingles are merely window dressing, just like the supposedly broadened music policy. The huge and unaddressed problem is that one show comes on talking to one group of people that aren’t fussed about music radio (because that show plays essentially no music), then a music led entertainment-fest comes on that plays up to the 70 – somethings then all of a sudden, that same station is playing Good as Hell and talking about younger end subjects.
    Presenters who get better (or remain as they are) only do so by chance – Editors largely have no programming or broadcasting background and the ones who deteriorate do so because there are no checks and balances. The people who want to hide in the BBC because it’s a safe and unaccountable job can do so and the stagnation rolls on and on and on.

  19. Phil says

    Is BBC local radio to focus on music now? In which case why make it local? Surely there fucus is local news, local opinion, with music to fill the gaps.

    1. Thomas Marshall says

      Think the sound is good but definitely agree needs to be more personal sounding more local! These sound d way to global sounding and by using bauer loses the characterisation of the presenters as sounds like they have no sense of input in the new sound d at all would like to see some of the presenters contributing in the production of the new sound, for me the age demographic of the stations needs rethink as if you are gonna a have new imaging you need to think what the age demographic is for the station and tailor the package to the individual stations and their demographic audience. Also the tagline all the music the music you love sounds bare and to use the same tagline with all the stations it’s a big turn off if you wanna make the stations sound individual and unique they should have the option to use their own slogan and tagline aswell as have they own sound too! Good effort from reelworld but for me that’s the only thing I would do differently! I also agree that yes they sound very commercial but need to give it chance to develop some people may say they dont like them changing the sound when they disnt long ago have a new package but that’s radio that’s to draw in new listeners but the sound really needs to be refreshed but this package think needs revising alot as for me not 100% yet dont think it would suit the stations very well as all have different demographic audiences to target!

  20. Ray Woodward says

    Having listened to BBC Radio Leicester at length, this isn’t going to work.

    It just doesn’t work in the real world – especially in the evenings it just sounds stupid!

  21. David says

    Why does refreshing the music choice mean ditching most of the 50/60s. Are people saying that those of us too young to remember them are too dim to appreciate the music. New carefully chosen music is vital but so are carefully chosen classics. No sell by date on great music

  22. Jason Madlefield says

    I think this is a step in the right direction. But it needs to be more individual to each station.

    Each station should have its own strapline/slogan, it shouldn’t be nationwide. Voiceovers should also be different for each station. These ones from Baeur are weak and don’t suit the tone of the station. Also, why three voiceovers? I think I can hear Emma Clarke in there as well?!

    Local radio isn’t about music. No one ever said “I love listening to Radio [insert name here] because they play the best music”. People listen to local radio for local stuff. If they wanted wailing from Lewis Capaldi or the out of tune Paloma Faith, they would head to a commerical station.

  23. Woodnorton says

    A shame the refocusing of LR doesn’t let each station find its own logos, jingles, straplines, and its own local focus on content and music. Feed in local bands from BBC Introducing into their daytime stuff, and update it. I’m sure there is still a reliance on a core which came from the ‘Best of Radioplay’ LPs. There can still be a common thread, but make local Local again.

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