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Can Bob get out of this Scot free?

Bob FM - scott fee logo

Bob FM – scott fee logo

When Bob FM, the not-talked-about-very-much Home Counties station announced it had banned all Scottish music until the referendum I felt equally excited by the boldness of the idea and worried about the possible long-term backwash.

The station adopted the Bob FM name in March and it was about time for something talkable. So, in a wonderfully-scripted ad lib, Graham Mack declared this morning:

“I’ve had enough of this! You’ll walk 500 hundred miles, but you don’t want anything to do with England? After all we’ve done for you! For 300 years, we’ve put up with your bagpipes, your spicy eggs, your hairy cattle, your short arsed ponies, your men in skirts, and… THE KRANKIES! You ungrateful bunch of whisky swigging, haggis munching caber tossers! From now on, this radio station is banning anything Scottish, that includes music by ALL Scottish artists! Until further notice, BOB fm is now Scot Free!”

It’s a talkable, shocking, simple message calculated to get reaction, but it has its risks.

On the day that politicians from all UK parties are joining forces to declare their love of Scotland it does seem starkly opposed with the broader consensus South of the Border to save the Union.

There’s another border to consider too – borderline racism, and I’m not sure Graham’s blog tonight helps much on that front. Apparently defending the station’s actions he says:

I LOVE Scotland and the Scots. If I was racist, I’d want Scotland to go.

Well, by banning Scotland from Bob isn’t that what you’ve just done Graham?

We all want our stations to be talked about and it’s exhilarating to ride the wave of media reaction from a station stunt but is Bob FM really up to a public spat with Tommy Sheridan and friends?

My greatest concern is a longer term one. If today’s shock announcement becomes the only thing the station is remembered for it could toxify the brand, still unknown for much else.

The Scots have form here. When regional station Scot FM became known only for the Scottie McClue phone-in it boxed the station into a downmarket corner associated with late night taxi drivers and Scottie’s deliberately provocative way of handling single mothers on the phone. Read John Myers’ book for more on that.

Ultimately the brand and Scottie had to go.

So I hope Bob FM have thought this through and have a number of contingency plans up their sleeves. If the brand is to avoid long-term contamination from today’s stunt it should have a escape plan now and a way to temper their initially bitter message with some Southern love.

It’s a bunch of fun but…

Graham Mack is a talented and experienced broadcaster who has worked for large stations like BRMB and also under BBC Editorial Guidelines on the corporation’s local radio.

He will know that tomorrow morning he must move this on.

One Comment

  1. It actually didn’t box the station in to an audience of taxi drivers at all that is a complete myth, although the may they may have been callers and listeners they were not indicative of the listeners at large which had a substantial ABC1 Content, so, there was actually absolutely no reason for Scottie McClue to go other than the fact the station had gone from a very low listening base to a huge cult listening base which was overtaking the existing stations in the market and threatening their position and the new owners capitulated.