The speakers at our latest virtual Small Talk were Group MD Steve Parkinson and Entertainment Content Director Jo Parkerson. As heard by Shout! Communications’ Joint MD, Keren Haynes.
Entertain, distract and comfort the nation. This has become Bauer Media’s strategy for addressing the coronavirus pandemic via its brands in the UK, which include national stations Kiss, Magic, Absolute, Hits, Greatest Hits Radio, as well as some long established regional broadcasters like Pirate FM in Cornwall and Hallam Radio in Sheffield.
Since lockdown in March, the format for each brand has been tweaked accordingly to match the strategy. In practise this means local news on stations such as Metro and Clyde was increased, so listeners could get more information about COVID-19. On Magic, however, the news was reduced by a minute, in an effort to maintain an air of normality.
As our speakers – Group MD Steve Parkinson and Entertainment Content Director Jo Parkerson – explained, brands in the Bauer Media stable have strong identities and they offer an alternative to other broadcasters, such as the BBC and LBC.
Kiss is aimed at millennials and Gen Z, so 15-34 year olds. Magic is skewed to its majority female audience who are at 35-54 years old. Absolute is aimed at men aged around 30, a group Bauer labels as “reluctant adults”. Hits and Greatest Hits meanwhile have the broadest audiences with a range of 20-59 year olds.
Lockdown has had its benefits for radio with people listening, on average, for an extra two hours a day. At Bauer, peak time listening has moved from 0700 to 0800 as working from home means many people are getting up later. And, our speakers said, they’re using this extra time at home to listen to different programmes and stations.
The vast majority of our PR stories at Shout! Communications get placed on news bulletins, but Bauer Media stations are primarily music based and their news is minimal and mainly national. Whilst this makes it challenging to secure coverage when you do the reward is the high listening figures the stations attract. Hits Radio still has local breakfast news and Greatest Hits Radio, which encompasses the bulk of the 50 plus commercial stations Bauer bought eighteen months ago and rebranded, has some regional drivetime shows. These still feature in our radio day schedules, as do the stations that retained their names when Bauer bought them, such as Pirate FM and Radio Hallam.
According to our speakers, good news stories are particularly in demand, as part of their self-imposed remit to look after the nation in this strangest of years. A good news bulletin was even brought in on Magic. Bauer Media’s love of celebrity was also stressed. As we all know, a good brand ambassador will bring you much more coverage.
Thanks again to our speakers for taking part in our event. It was really insightful. If you’d like to be invited to future Small Talk events, which feature senior on and off-air broadcast professionals, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pop you on our mailing list.