MEDIA: 963 Liberty; An expert’s view

Magazine-style approach holds promise for Liberty, explains Yvonne Scullion

Magazine-style approach holds promise for Liberty, explains Yvonne

Scullion



Two weeks ago, the ill-fated Viva! was finally laid to rest, to be

replaced last Friday by London’s newest radio station, 963 Liberty.

Still targeting a core audience of women aged 25-45, Liberty has dropped

the worthy, issue-driven style of Viva! in favour of ‘a mix of

conversation and music’. It is intended to provide a lighter and

livelier offering than Viva! - and to achieve better listening figures.



I listened to Liberty over its first weekend and, allowing for first-day

nerves, the whole thing was relatively hitch-free and polished. However,

as a new listener from the core target group, I found the dramatic

changes in pace and content across the first day disorientating. The

breakfast show was largely music-based with the DJs sparring against the

background of a bland thirtysomething playlist. At 8.30am we moved to

Simon Bates’ surprisingly entertaining interview on the unpromising

subject of London’s traffic. By 2.30pm we had reached the world of

counselling although, for once, Anna Raeburn failed to solve anyone’s

personal problems as there were no callers. At 4.30pm it was back to the

music with Bruno Brookes.



Liberty found its groove at the weekend. The station settled into a

uniformly comfortable, gossipy style, for example, interspersing the

football results on a Saturday afternoon with the thigh measurements of

famous sportsmen.



The overall effect was like reading a magazine and I rather liked it.

However, the station must hook in the casual listener quickly if it is

to succeed. This will depend on Liberty being able to smooth the

programmes into a consistent product and successfully explaining its

fairly diverse offering to the potential punter by using some

heavyweight marketing.



I wish Liberty well and look forward to another interesting slant on

sport next weekend.



Yvonne Scullion is head of radio at Zenith Media



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