Saturday, September 30, 2006

Simon James & Overated

Here in the radio business, we've all been paying careful attention to the new Solent licence - Original 106.

They are in direct competition with Ocean FM, Power FM and Capital Gold Hampshire (deeze are my peeps.) They're also stomping firmly on Wave 105's footprint (nice and heavily, I hope.) Some smaller stations, like The Quay 107, The Saint and my friends at 107.2 WinFM might be impacted as well.

Marketing wise, anyway. In terms of listeners, they have a strict mandate to appeal to the 'older' end of the scale. I think it's actually 55+. That puts them up against Capital Gold, but with an FM licence they're got (in theory) a distinct advantage.

Which is why I was incredibly surprised to hear that they've got Simon James and Hill leading their presenter line-up.

In case you're not familar with them, Simon James and Simon Hill (hence Simon James & Hill) are two lads in their thirties who fit neatly into the Chris Moyles/Johnny Vegas mould. They ran the TLRC network shows for about a year (from 7pm to 11pm on all 27 Local Radio Company stations) and before that had a very succesful drive time show on the Emap stations.

They appeal to a youth audience. They're rude, crude and incredibly pleased with themselves. They've won three Sony awards, so I shouldn't bitch, but whoever put them on the lineup for a 'senior' station needs their head examined.

Or do they?

In all honesty, I think this move follows their activity in the South's market place. They won the licence based on a platform that would appeal to the senior listeners - the only reason why a new licence would have been granted in such a 'busy' area - but right from day one, they're going to be ignoring their mandate and trying to appeal to the 'everyman.'

Just like every other commercial station.

I'll be interested to see how things pan out for them. I think they'll find it really tough establishing themselves against Wave 105 and the TLRC network - who basically share a poorly thought out 'common' playlist. It'll just be another station playing the same old crap.

As Phil proved at WinFM, and as Power FM and Ocean FM are doing so successfully at the moment, the real way to make an impact on commercial radio in England is to deviate from the safe and derivative path of most commercial stations and make your own mark in the marketplace.

Original had an incredible opportunity to do that - but I've got a feeling they've blown in from day one.

Original 106 starts transmitting from October 1st.


Anonymous said...

Good evening. Simon James here. Look mate, I have nothing against you having an opinion. Nor have I anything against you not liking our programme. But a word of advice.....before you start trying to be clever and outspoken and oh-so-perceptive etc, please research your facts. Firstly "Hill" is a nickname ("hence" NOT Simon James and "Simon Hill"). Secondly, Original 106 is NOT a senior station and does NOT target a 55+ audience (it's actually 30+).
Thirdly, the playlist IS markedly different to any of it's commercial rivals. Your comments about us being "rude and crude" were also interesting. If you believe that to really be the case I assume that you won't be suprised to hear me describe your ignorant and pompous self as an absolute cock. Which, by the way, is precisely what you are.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. But I am rude and crude, you fucking idiot :)

Roland Hulme said...

You'll find other references to the dynamic duo.