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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

Launches: why bother?

In the 1980s a radio station launch in the UK was a huge event. Press and tv coverage were guaranteed. As were celebrity endorsements, branded cars full of helium balloons and the inevitable animal mascot.

Thirty years on and starting a new service is almost a matter of routine. Many stations pop-up then disappear with hardly any fuss and it takes a story like the return of Moyles to cut through. Note how quickly even the hyped global phenomenon of Beats 1 has dropped out of the conversation. Perhaps it needs a mascot.

Today, few people tune in to witness the moment a radio station starts. In our media organisations we sometimes don’t even use the twentieth century rocket-fuelled label of a “launch”, preferring the beardy developer language of a “release” or “pushing it live”. How dull.

Radio station launches - then and now

So it’s extremely cheering and highly appropriate to its 80s format that new station Max hit the Manchester airwaves with a bang and this crafted opener:

[audio:|titles=MAX launch sequence, September 2015]

MAX logoCredits

Writers: Daniel Blythe and John Ryan
Voiceover: Louise Jameson
Production: Stuart Morgan at Audio Always

So why bother?

The station’s creator and champion, John Ryan, estimates that “about 3 people would have heard it on first transmission”.

Well, here are four good reasons to make the effort. One for each of John’s early listeners and one for you:

1. It shows that small number of dedicated listeners who tuned in for the moment of launch that you care as much as they do.

2. It’s a nice reward to these early adopters for taking the trouble to be with you.

3. It plants your key station messages, and your caring demeanour, with the people who are most likely to be your greatest ambassadors.

4. The act of writing a station opener like this is a brilliant opportunity to stop, think and put down on paper a longform manifesto for your station.

This is not just helpful to a new audience and your colleagues but directly to you if you’re tasked with imaging the station. There’s nothing like a deep ponder about your station’s purpose, character and style to help you express them consistently as a writer and producer in the weeks and months ahead.

I just can’t get enough.

You want more about Max? Now read John Ryan on the moment the idea was conceived, how it positions apart from Absolute 80s and the one thing Max never does.

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