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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

The value in a station name

Sound Digital launch line-upToday in Britain a list of eighteen radio stations was confirmed as the line-up for a new National digital radio multiplex.

The launch bouquet comprises three additional stations to those promised by the successful applicant. That means more choice for listeners and extra reasons to buy a DAB radio. These stations will appear on radio sets across much of the UK over the coming few weeks.

Some will be familiar to listeners as heritage names. Absolute 80s, for example, has more than 1.5 million weekly listeners. Others – let’s take Awesome Radio – are new brands and the only teasing clue to their consumer offer so far is their name.

Let’s categorise all eighteen of them:

Do what they say and say what they do.

  • talkRADIO
  • talkSPORT2
  • Fun Kids
  • Absolute 80s
  • Planet Rock
  • Premier Christian Radio
  • Jazz FM

Leverage a familiar brand (or are one).

  • Mellow Magic
  • Magic Chilled
  • Virgin Radio
  • Kisstory
  • heat radio
  • Sunrise Radio
  • Premier Praise!
  • Panjab Radio

Initially mysterious to most listeners.

  • Share Radio
  • UCB2
  • Awesome Radio

The familiarity of a name and the clarity with which it communicates the station’s positioning and editorial offer greatly affects the marketing strategy required to build awareness and trial.

Stations in the first category can concentrate on promoting personalities, unmissable appointment listens, content and an attitude that chimes with their target listeners, safe in the knowledge that their station name can only reinforce it all.

By contrast those in the third category will have to ensure their name provides relevant support of their proposition in the audience’s mind and does not become a nagging distraction.

The fact that Carphone Warehouse doesn’t sell carphones and isn’t a warehouse reminds us that any brand name can thrive in the right circumstances but when faced with ever greater choice we must help listeners navigate their way to the radio they’ll enjoy.

If a station name isn’t a shortcut to understanding in itself we must be prepared to put in the marketing effort to explain the brand and make it memorable.