Aussie leads ratings surge for Chinese station

Barry Keohane has worked in Townsville, Canberra, Perth and along the way was a programming consultant for ESP (check out our coverage of his career here). Now he’s working in China as the Group Content Director for Adrep and MYFM China – which consists of 9 stations and continues to grow each year. His station has just jumped 11 places in the latest ratings survey.

Barry spoke exclusively to radioinfo about his biggest station launch to date, in Guangzhou and the station’s success.

In May, Barry will have been in his position for two years, having taken over from Keith Fowler in 2012. MyFM launched on the FM 88.0 frequency at the end of February in Guangzou – Barry’s largest launch, given that this city has over 16 million people and a radio market consisting of 24 stations.

MyFM’s target demographic, the 25-39yo audience, has increasingly tuned into the station, which has risen from 16th in their weekly survey in February, to 5th. This growth is so far purely organic as the station has not yet launched its promotional and marketing campaign.

Because this was MYFM’s biggest launch, they wanted proper market research. Barry turned to John Musgrove (the Head of Research at SCA) for some tips, and then put together a market research study with the assistance of MYFM’s Marketing Manager Rheece Reynolds, and also the Market Research company Mindshare.

As well as having to launch a new station, Barry has also been teaching the locals about format radio. These include many things that are taken for granted in Australia – RCS operation, music scheduling, research, and content.

They have also launched in another market, Shijiazhuang (just outside of Beijing), so during the last 2 months Barry has had to go between the 2 cities.

“It’s been a busy few months with the launch of our new stations in Guangzhou and Shijiazhuang. But it has been thoroughly rewarding. I keep reminding myself that not many Australian radio programmers ever get to launch new stations, let alone in a market of 16 million people and in another country. The last 3 months I have been travelling between the 2 new stations, and even though I have an apartment in Beijing, I haven’t seen much of it,” said Barry.
“The last 2 years has been a great experience, and it has definitely made me a better content director, and a better radio executive. Working overseas takes a lot of hard work, flexibility and patience. But the results are pretty amazing, and will look great on my resume when I finally move to my next job, wherever that maybe.

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