Magazine-style approach holds promise for Liberty, explains Yvonne
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
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
I wish Liberty well and look forward to another interesting slant on
sport next weekend.
Yvonne Scullion is head of radio at Zenith Media