“Ears are better than algorithms.” Music passion in radio #RDE15

Something that we all agree on at Radiodays Europe 2015 is that radio is no longer the same, with the rise of on-demand, online, on devices …on everything!  The head of Swedish Radio summed it up best in her opening address this morning, “Develop or die!”
But radio has survived in the past, and will continue to survive provided we are relevant to the audience.  However, with the rise of mobile listening, how important is music passion on radio, and what can DJ’s and content directors do to help your station stand out.  Luc Frelon (Music Programmer, fip – France), Chris Blacklay (Executive Producer, Somethin’ Else – UK) and Jure Longyka (Media Production – Slovenia) discuss music passion on radio.
The one thing that can make live radio stand out above online or on-demand audio is the passion the DJ and station can show for the music.  But is there music passion in mainstream radio?
“No. At fip we are very lucky because we play the songs we want and love…and it’s much easier to be passionate about songs YOU choose as a presenter”, says Luc Frelon, music programmer for independent station fip (France)
To ignite the passion in presenters, some commercial stations are “breaking format” by introducing music specials and regular shows that allow DJ’s to try new things.
“At Kiss in London, we had a very successful Sunday morning show called ‘the Rehab’, which the DJ who was presenting came up with.  Purely playing a ‘chillout’ format that he believed would work on a Sunday morning.  It was very successful” says Blacklay,  
By allowing DJ’s to break format and perhaps choose some of the music, this allows them to play music they may be more passionate about rather than the strict playlist they would otherwise play.
“With new music, I think there is such a big churn it’s very hard to get passionate about songs that come and go so quickly”, says Chris Blacklay.
Which poses the question, is it better to hear a hit song from a DJ with no passion, or an unfamiliar song from a DJ that is passionate about what they are doing?  “Definitely an unfamiliar song from a passionate DJ”, agrees Jure Longkya from Slovenia.
Passion maybe missing from commercial radio, but it’s not lost forever.  Just remember that:

  • One of radios real strengths is it’s ability to connect people with great music
  • Listeners like knowledgeable, passionate presenters, and
  • Ears are better than algorithm

Report written for radioinfo by: Barry Keohane, Content Director and International Radio Consultant @barrykeohane

Tags: | | |