Pages Navigation Menu

Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

Fox in a box


I like Oxfordshire’s Jack FM, even if they did nick this idea from us and do this with it, merely years later.

Well, I nicked these photos from their Facebook page so I think we’re even.

Jack has all the programming control and pizzazz of the national brands with the fleet-of-foot immediacy of a little station. And it makes me laugh.

The writing (yes, writing) is sharp and funny, the music is cleverly scheduled with deliberate awkward segues to highlight the variety, and its claim to localness is backed-up with a decent local news and travel service. I’m listening to its 10pm local bulletin right now and it’s very local.

Oxford Van ManMost of all, Jack’s attitude extends into everything it does. Its values and beliefs perfectly match its abilities and behaviour. On Jack, the imaging can be voiced in character by Paul Darrow, that staple of local radio “What’s On” can become irreverently-presented “Jacktivities” spots, and paid reads can poke fun at the sponsors. Jack is that comfortable in its own skin.

So when heritage rival Fox FM was replaced by the Heart brand (which I also admire but for different reasons) the guys at Jack staged a mock funeral procession through the High Streets of Oxfordshire in deference to their deceased rival.


Conventional radio promotions wisdom says you should never mention the competition but as the newest market entrant and the pretender local station Jack has had nothing to lose. It needed word-of-mouth promotion to gain awareness and market share and this is a very talkable and photographic stunt. And it’s very on-brand.

Now that Fox has gone it will be interesting to see how Jack adapts to its new position in the market without an establishment nemesis to tilt at – but for now I wanted to share this with you as a reminder that radio can still be fun when you’re confident and creative.

And I bet they didn’t pay to hire that coffin. Come to think of it, how do you hire a coffin?

Update: the coffin was donated, not rented. After all, who’d want a second hand one? And there’s this…

One Comment

  1. Steve,

    I’m not sure if you ever saw “The Breakfast DJ’s Blog” which was on blogspot last year, but their little stunt in front of Heart Oxfordshire HQ was very reminiscent of the way that off-the-wall rival ‘Vixen FM’ would treat its rival ‘Blonde FM’ by the breakfast presenter who (supposedly) wrote the blog.

    Haven’t a clue if it was real or not, but it’s ironic to see that ‘Blonde FM’ really has gone almost national and their plucky little rival have done such a good job of highlighting it to the local audience!