Media: Double Standards - 'Who else has Alice Cooper doing breakfast?'

Recent Sony Award winners Planet Rock's Malcolm Bluemel and Bauer's Steve Parkinson on their superstar DJs and why commercial radio needs to reinvent itself.

STEVE PARKINSON - managing director, Bauer London Radio

- How would you say your station is unique?

Kiss stands out with its sheer energy and its scale (2.4 million Londoners of all ages listen every week).

Our DNA is "music is life", and "never stand still" is our motto. It's the biggest station in London for audiences aged 15-24, 15-34 and 15-44. From young fresh talent such as Rickie, Melvin and Charlie at Breakfast through to Kiss Takeovers by celebrities from Lady Gaga to Lewis Hamilton, it's unique every day both on-air and behind the scenes, with the highly talented and creative teams at Kiss 100 driving the station forward. As well as radio, we have Kiss TV, totalkiss.com and dozens of events around the country.

- What recent innovations have you made to keep ahead of the competition?

We are the first radio station to adopt Facebook's social graph (which gets us fully into their world, more than just an ad in their space). We're proud of our 130,000 fans. We are the first radio station to launch an app that has both listen live and listen again functionality, adding hundreds of thousands of new listening appointments. We also innovate on the air - our new Midnight Mix show gives wannabe DJs access to the airwaves to showcase their talents, via totalkiss.com. The best DJs win radio airplay to champion their talents.

- How confident are you about the future, generally, for commercial radio?

The recent Rajar figures confirmed that radio audiences had increased to the highest ever recorded - a confident headline in a fragmenting world. Commercial radio is investing more in its output following intensive corporate acquisition, improving brand engagement and loyalty. Kiss is also seeing added reach coming from the likes of DTV and mobile apps. On the agency side, we work hard to ensure that planners and creatives stay engaged with radio and remember its scale and flexibility.

- How important is it to win awards and recognition?

Awards are a great excuse for a party and the young team rightly has a "work hard, play hard" mentality. Kiss has just won both Music Week and Sony Station of the Year, so they were proud moments and a chance to let our hair down. Ultimately, our biggest award is the sheer number of listeners (and viewers!) who have made Kiss famous over the years.

- Why should advertisers consider your station?

We are proud to be currently working with the likes of Coke, Barclaycard, Nike and BlackBerry. I believe they use Kiss because we are genuinely connected to their target market and we know how to talk to listeners in a creative but results-driven way. Kiss was voted one of the UK's Cool Brands this year and this trusted status (which we never take for granted) gives us the ability to open up a conversation on behalf of an advertiser.

- What's the most exciting programme on your station?

Always difficult to highlight one, as our DJs present such different and ear-catching shows. But summer is here, which means I'm pretty excited about some of the specials being lined up by our programme director, Andy Roberts. In addition to a new weekly show from Hed Kandi, Andy has pulled off an Ibiza spectacular of all the major superstar DJs including David Guetta, Carl Cox and Paul van Dyk, who play back-to-back on Saturday 5 June.

MALCOLM BLUEMEL - chief executive, Planet Rock

- How would you say your station is unique?

Planet Rock is unique in a number of ways: it's the only national station that plays classic rock; although quite a few of the national brands are now in private hands, Planet Rock is the only one owned by an individual; and who else has Alice Cooper doing the breakfast show?

- What recent innovations have you made to keep ahead of the competition?

We have run a competition to increase our awareness by offering prizes that money can't buy and, at the same time, showcasing our station. Prizes such as a "pub crawl with Fish" or lunch with Rick Wakeman or Ian Anderson are not everyday occurrences.

- How confident are you about the future, generally, for commercial radio?

I think that with all the new platforms available to listeners, commercial radio is at a watershed. I believe that commercial radio has to reinvent itself - the old business model is on shaky ground and people are listening in different ways now. To reach the same audience, there is now a much higher cost. More so when you consider that it's not just enough to be available - a lot of listening is proactive and they don't come looking for you unless they know you're there.

- How important is it to win awards and recognition?

Very important - it's important to get the PR. As I said, you have to tell people you exist. It's also important for advertisers and important for the station team to be recognised. Everyone wants be part of something that is successful and awards are one of the ways to achieve that recognition.

- Why should advertisers consider your station?

We target a very good demographic (70 per cent male, 68 per cent ABC1) and our audience is passionate and "listens" to the station. It's not background music. If they're listening to the music, they'll listen to the advertising. We also have a lot of credibility and this flows through to our advertisers.

- What's the most exciting programme on your station?

I'm not sure exciting is the right word, but Rick Wakeman's show is full of fun, the banter between Rick and David Jensen is brilliant and the features such as The Lyric Theatre and Tune Adversity Challenge are witty, exciting and engage the audience.

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