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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

So farewell then, County Sound

Today UKRD has announced plans to rebrand Surrey and Hampshire’s original radio station, County Sound, as Eagle Extra.

Given the number of standalone AM stations remaining in the UK few will find this surprising. However, I admit to a personal sadness at the loss of the County Sound name.

“Extra” stations are becoming a smart way to grow a station brand and Eagle Radio is the biggest commercial radio brand in Surrey and North East Hampshire, achieving a weekly share of 9.5% against County Sound’s 0.5%*.

The new name will make more sense on a digital radio and a local multiplex is proposed for the area.¬†UKRD’s plans for the station also appear to take it back a little closer to its roots with some additional, albeit so-far unexplained, community programming.

Why my interest? County Sound launched as my local station when I was at school. It is responsible for sparking my interest in radio programming, advertising and production. I learned to cart-up there.

County Sound also had the best and most obsessive station Style Guide in the business (a result of MD Mike Powell’s background in newspapers) and has always cared about making worthwhile local programmes with music and speech.

In 2008 I made a radio documentary with Rob Wallace and Nigel Williams to mark 25 years of County Sound. I was working as a BBC Editor at the time and had to get special permission to work on it. Thankfully the BBC has a good heart so here it is:

We’ll always be here – 25 years of County Sound Radio by Steve Martin

Two sections might particularly interest you:

At 9’27” the documentary deals with the origins of the County Sound theme and jingles and includes an interview with composer Les Reed.

Then at 21’37” you’ll hear about the introduction of local radio advertising to Surrey and Hampshire with local car dealer David Mattia.

Enjoy the programme, and good luck to Eagle Extra.

*RAJAR Q1, 2012