NEWS: Viva prepares for relaunch following disappointing audience figures

Viva, the all-women London-based radio station that was launched in a blaze of publicity last July, is preparing to repackage itself later this year.

Viva, the all-women London-based radio station that was launched in a

blaze of publicity last July, is preparing to repackage itself later

this year.



The station, owned by Golden Rose Communications, is understood to be

concentrating on improving its signal as part of a fresh attempt to

raise its profile among potential listeners.



Viva has been dogged by technical problems since its launch, when it

became clear that much of east London and the West End could not receive

the signal.



The station has also suffered from poor audience figures and there have

been persistent rumours that it was being groomed for a sell-off by the

Golden Rose chief executive and former Leo Burnett chairman, Richard

Wheatly.



Wheatly refused to comment on the relaunch and added there were no plans

to sell the station. ‘These things are valuable,’ he said.



Nevertheless, reports persisted in the industry of a relaunch of Viva,

although this is unlikely to be backed by a big advertising spend and

will probably concentrate more on promotion and new programming.



Denise Clark, head of radio buying at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO,

commented: ‘If Viva is thinking of investing money without spending a

significant amount on a big marketing effort, it will be difficult for

it to increase its listener base.’



Viva launched on 3 July last year, backed by the PR guru, Lynne Franks,

and a pounds 1 million outdoor push through the Media Factor. Its core

audience is 24- to 45-year-old women living in London and the South-

east.



However, the station soon ran into problems. The original managing

director, Katy Turner, became seriously ill just before the launch and

subsequently handed in her notice in August.



Moreover, Rajar figures indicated that in the first three months the

station was pulling in just 121,000 listeners, well short of its target

of 500,000.



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