Virgin Radio is to conduct a shake-up of its music policy in a bid to focus on its core 30- to 40-year-old age group.
It will play fewer chart hits and focus on classic rock and pop. The station has compiled a list of definite 'no play' artists that includes Westlife, Spice Girls, Puff Daddy and Ricky Martin. The emphasis will shift to classic artists such as the Beatles and new songs from the likes of Coldplay.
The shift in policy comes after ICM research conducted for Virgin Radio shows that 46 per cent of adults feel radio music is dominated by chart hits from girl and boy bands, despite the fact that 65 per cent prefer music from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Virgin will launch a major ad offensive this spring to support the new music policy. It is investing in both above- and below-the-line activity but declined to provide details.
Virgin has previously played hits from the likes of All Saints and Ronan Keating, but feels that this has made it less distinctive. John Pearson, the chief executive of Virgin Radio and SMG Radio, said: 'We have inadvertently been following a market that is dominated by pre-packaged artists. This is not great for our core market.'