Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland
Something fun is happening in my home town of Brisbane, Australia – some of our radio stations are on the move.
Top 40 station Hit 105 and rock station Triple M lived in buildings in North Quay next to the river, where they’ve been for the last twenty years. They’re moving two minutes’ walk away, up the hill to Petrie Terrace, a new entertainment district with a cinema, restaurants, and next to Caxton Street, one of Brisbane’s oldest entertainment streets with bars, pubs and clubs. It’s just a minute’s walk away from Suncorp stadium, the city’s sports and entertainment arena.
Meanwhile, the AC formatted “97.3”, and hot oldies station 4KQ, just moved from a dumpy building in Stones Corner, an out-of-town location 5km away from the city, where they’ve been for thirty years. They’re moving to a building on Coronation Drive in Milton, overlooking the river and close to both the city centre and to a restaurant district that also boasts the highest concentration of beer breweries, including Queensland’s famous XXXX.
Both sets of people are excited by the move – since, for the first time, they both get actual views of the city.
97.3 gains signage along one of Brisbane’s busiest roads and a significantly better working environment that should help recruitment, particularly in sales; while Hit 105 will be close to a new entertainment venue to be built in the next five years, currently called Brisbane Live. Hit 105 has never been able to see out of the studios before, and, so I’m told, the old building didn’t really get on well with Brisbane’s occasional subtropical rain storms – a tarpaulin and quite a few buckets being pressed into service every so often.
Triple M made the most of the move by auctioning off their rock memorabilia for charity, according to local TV station 7 News.
Radio stations really don’t need to be centrally located any more, of course. You could argue it makes little difference to the on-air sound, whether a station is in the middle of a business park or has prime real-estate in town. Technically, it doesn’t – but it’s easy for an out-of-town radio station to lose ties with the very city it broadcasts to.
If radio’s unique point of difference is that it offers a human connection and a shared experience, perhaps it’s important for the on-air team to live and work in the centre of the city, not in an anonymous building miles from anywhere. Only then can each and every person really feel part of the community they broadcast to.
Moving two stations is hard – moving four, in the same two weeks, is harder still. Here’s hoping everything works!
About The Author
James Cridland, the radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website media.info and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes podnews.net, a daily briefing on podcasting and on-demand, and writes a weekly international radio trends newsletter, at james.crid.land.