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Media Masters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media Masters series of one-to-one interviews with people at the media game before Johnny Chris list where you must have had the launch of heart FM in the West Midlands and London and lead its transformation into a key player in the UK radio industry you went on to form Orion Media which are rebranded 8 Midland stations including brmb before selling it to Bauer Media in 2016 for 50 million.
Where is now a senior independent advisor named as one of the most influential people commercial radio he is also a fellow of the Radio Academy and a sat on a number of boards including Rachel the influential body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK to join my pleasure Paul
That's an incredible resin already.
Are you Mr radio? I'm I'm one of the guys.
Who is still alive who was around recently near the start.
I think most people that were very start.
There's a few of them around the most of passed on those of us who came in in the first few years after the first 10 years.
There's a few of us still hanging in there.
So I'm one of those guys really like you to the figure that sticks out from the interest that I read those 50 million.
We started as a commercial radio trainee and now you're a squillion are well.
I can't confirm or deny that I can't deny.
How much is that number I got but I did ok.
It was a good deal for me and all the other investors and it was a very interesting experience for me because I work my way up through a resolve corporate roles although the Christmas thing was very much very entrepreneurial.
I literally was hired as the first to go and set up a radio station from scratch, but that was within an organisation.
The arrival was interesting because it was me going getting some private equity backers to give me some money to go and buy a business and trying to turn it around and build its value and we did that the back as well.
I was happy shareholders were happy.
It was a very good experience and what was pleasing away was to be able to go back and end up owning the radio station.
I first started on that was that was fun although the people who are new for my early days.
Really dislike the fact that I didn't win and change the name of the radio station, so that didn't go down too but these things happen in life and station to get rebranded all the time so yeah great times in chronological order then you were born at an early age, what happened next I was Mum and Dad working class up in Manchester didn't know what I wanted to do until I was about 40 and 15 and I had I was really interested in music as a lot of kids work, but I was really interested.
I mean I will definitely the tops of 5 at 10% of people who have passed.
Music I was also very interested in technical things now.
This is the 1970s of the word that many technical things to be interested in but take machines cassette players players plug-in them into each other are messing about with sound.
I'll sort of interested in that and then the third thing I just give it when I was about 15 was I really like getting up on stage when the in the school drop.
It was the ratio of 1 drama and something else into the he had a shower.
I did absolutely and those three things for the came together for me and I said there's three things I like what business career.
What could I find that combine music technical gadgets and gizmos and showing off in one go and radio just sorting poppy out of a radio or television for ugly people are looking so all those things.
Thank you very much.
So I decided that those three that those things really maybe want to investigate radio and and I was looking at the university and I remember my UCAS form.
I think it's ok whatever it's called.
You only allowed to pick five universities are all fine, but I picked had a radio station that was the only reason I was going to university.
He'll give me 3 years to play it being on the radio without having to do anything else you want to be outside at that point.
Yeah, I went and I was on here from the get go to Loughborough University regular great at the time.
I was pretty much doing the show within 2 or 3 weeks baby because they're desperate desperate to be able to come on and fill up there cos I got 24-hours a day 7-days a week anybody that turns up the terrible speech impediment will get it so I got a gig and I learnt my craft.
They're doing lots and lots of shifts.
So I ended up as the program controller and then the station manager and then when I finished by the
I was absolutely the luckiest person because I ended up getting a a graduate trainee job at brmb and this is at the point in 1980 when those early stage the capitals brmb the Piccadilly they would just making big profits and there was a rule inside the radio industry that the then I'll be heading if you make more than so much profit.
Will I the tax you on it will charge a secondary rental on it all you have to spend it on doing good things capital had the Renault extra response of the cbso other companies of the things but one of the things that beyond a beaded was to say we will train up for graduates a year as broadcasters and some will create this graduate training scheme.
That's one of the things will spend our money on instead of giving it to the the Treasury is a secondary rental and I was very lucky to be one of those for people that year to get picked to be a graduate trainee.
I went to BRB and I spent that first year getting up at 4 in the morning to write the travel news being the guy running around putting the banners up outside broadcasts reclaiming bit of old type to make sure they can be used again all of the Grunt work that goes on at the Disco on behind the scenes at radio station cleaning carts, but at the same time learning the trade that was fantastic and mixing with the people who were really doing the I did a couple of overnight shift towards the end and then I got a real lucky break Roger De who's who will be known to many older radio listen to have a very well regarded presenter.
We doing the drivetime show on the station and one day.
He'd had to go to the dentist for dental appointment and had told the program director and the program had forgotten to get a replacement for him and at.
Who's on at 4 about 3:45 Katie who was the Foreign Secretary went into a box Office depot injections who's covering for Roger today because he's away with the dental appointment, but my god and literally so they stormed out of the office and I was the first person you met and he said you know how to drive the desk.
I said yeah, you said you're on get up there and I just did the drive to do the drivetime show on a major radio station in a major town 21 years old I done.
Maybe two overnight shows when no one's listening my god, that was nerve-wracking but I managed to get through it and most people said I was ok and I didn't make a complete Horlicks and yeah and at the end of that the program director couple of weeks later said actually think we want to give you a Regular Show so I ended up being on here and I did 2 years of day times at lunchtime.
Afternoon and then I was going to music makes local travel.
It was a sort of thing you know here on Radio 2 which is better presentation competition presentation at interview bit more presentation something else that typical mixed bag of Music and entertainment that you used to get all the time on commercial radio.
You don't know in this is moved on and 18 Pioneer the out of the phone in giving up the army was one of the very first stations.
I did phone ins and and in particular on sport and there's a guy called Tony Butler who did the sports phone and that was legit red Jewellers who was another legendary broadcaster did a politics phone in so it was really a great time to be in radio because you had to learn to do everything and I was learning interview a to-do contests to present music to do phonons are all of that stuff form part of my on here and offer education is a broadcast was there for 6.
It was it was a great 6 years.
It's fantastic time if you give me any tips on interview happy very grateful indeed you doing ok, so far.
Thank you very much, but when I was doing some research for this that you said ultimately that you are you saying to become a long-term danger that has haunted me to a degree from all the very talented presenters that I've employed over the many years.
Are you employed that we're mad and of course.
Yes, that's exactly what I'm you meet the best radio presenters.
There's something about them.
That is slightly and I genuinely don't mean this in a slightly odd slightly off-center.
They look at the world in a different way, they think about the world in a different way that interact with people in a different way, they just something about them that not as other people and that makes them brilliant Radio presenters people buying large don't make that sort of charismatic Radio presenters that people want to listen to so it's something about that.
Something about that desire to be sitting in front of a microphone for hours on end that makes for a magical radio presenter and those things then tend in real life to make them slightly not as other people but I love them all employed some of the most talented Radio presenters in the UK over the years on my radio stations are absolutely lovely people but they mostly have got a screw loose so I make no bones about saying that we've had some quite big broadcast names on This podcast and they are also it's a persona, but they different after the the the recording stops, they understand the way you need to interact with the microwave lean in or move back the way to talk to people through the microphone to the listener.
Listed on their site.
It's a very very special skill.
It's not something that many people have and you were you here.
Have a really talented broadcaster execute that those skills well.
It's a it's a real pleasure to hear that the best exponent.
I think at the moment.
I would pick it up if somebody I used to employ for quite a long time is Nick Ferrari on LBC Nick's got the most brilliant way of either not saying anything so that his interview a hangs him or herself by their own word have to fill it out or gently encourage or when they've got a corner on when it's got a caller on and the colour is obviously and then barking mad mix got a great way of just egging them on in a way that we'll we're all in on the joke.
We can all hear Nick having fun with this color and that's a great skill and that requires a degree of being able to see the bigger picture here the bigger sound understand how you tried.
What you're saying? What are the people saying I get the list involved in the list of enjoy the experience and those those broadcasters that can do that and we have many of them in the UK but those they could do that really great great talented people, but they'll have a screw loose.
I love Ken Bruce PopMaster when people ringing because it's warm and upbeat and chatting a good work at the moment.
We personally I'm a bit of help.
So far is yeah, I understand James O'Brien's cleverer than the numpties lettering in and he destroys them, but it's been done to me.
I think I was talking to somebody just the other day about radio broadcasting vs.
Podcasting which is where I'm increasingly focused and one of the interesting things is that on a radio station you you've got a lot of furniture that you going to do the new people coming in whatever so your ability to interact with listeners is constrained because you're trying to do it.
You're trying to squeeze it into very small.
Segments and that means you're trying to get the big hit every time and that can sometimes come across then as being a bit over overly aggressive if you like in terms of trying to me everytime I call it comes on interestingly I thinking in podcasting it tends to give you a bit more space to be a bit more flexible as not as nowhere near the same amount of furniture in the shower.
So you could this mean you sat here you can do could chat for longer and you could take something off in a different Direction so that I think that's one of the reasons.
Why Kirsty for me podcasting is a more interesting way of consuming audio radio because I'm feeling I'm getting more out of it, but having said that you don't LBC and five live would still be my to go to places if I need to find out what happened in the world right now.
I'll go I mean interestingly Christopher hope you I know what a recent guest on yours.
He does a great podcast brexit podcast and he had a podcast.
Was it was trailed as hey listen to Chris's podcast as the news about the Boris deal came through and I thought ok.
That's a rather.
It's an unusual trailing a podcast because you think well actually that's what broadcasters do broadcast as I live nearly all the time apart from Radio 4 5 LBC and on Sky that thing happened in Real Time in real live broadcast it were reacting to it.
So I would I wouldn't sell a podcast as they come and listen to something that happened 3 hours ago that but it happens when recording a podcast it's really exciting to me.
That's not what podcast things about about evergreen content with your interest in you and your journey and it needs to be as relevant a year from now absolutely making a big deal about you.
Help me live on a podcast is a bit odd to me the podcast business is about something that will last the test of time.
Could you listen to it 6-months 9-12 months and still get something out of it show.
Sometimes our podcast where the content world Decay over time because things will have replaced what you've been talking about it because it will cost every week naturally over time will lose some of its salience but in a few others.
I think it's really interesting that they they can last for a long time.
I was listening to some of your old stuff and I couldn't tell you with his recorded last week last year because it's about somebody in their journey and what they think about the world and that still interesting yeah.
I mean that's deliberately of Fraser Nelson spectator on recently and we I said at the beginning that I wasn't asking a single thing about brexit because actually even though that was recorded for the 5 weeks ago.
It would have been out of date within 3 days and people interested in his job and his journey is editor of The Spectator not necessarily about his views about the brexit situation 7 and a half weeks ago who cares about that.
I don't know what the situation interestingly when you mention James and Nick and James worth.
We start with obc.
We bought it at Christmas in 2002 and we should say obviously Chris's had a friend of mine and the client so when when I was running Christmas radio for Chris willbourne.
It'll be seeing 2244 Maria ITV newsreader John Nicholson Scottish MSP and they were the original host of breakfast and then Jane got pregnant until we have to disband that show and sort of thing again.
It was all that time on pick again about what we want to do on the schedule and at the time it was doing with morning so we moved it to breakfast.
This is 2003 and the the chocolate at the time.
He was the station said I found this guy James O'Brien to do mid morning and so from 2003 those two guys Nick and James are still there 16 years later.
Can you put them there which is amazing thing to have that longevity in those two slots for those who have course are poles apart ideologically and poles apart in terms of how they reacted for that for them to pick and choose to be the two principal players on that radio station for such a long time is a basic actually really making LBC work absolutely no the the issue.
I think that James has got more than Nick is if brexit gets done does James have to reinvent himself because he's big he's created this plastic persona as the guy that takes apart the brexiteers in point of their shortcomings, but that's a particular view.
That's great, but he's made that his own but once were through that particular political heard something else will James do to reinvent itself that will be an interesting thing for him to think about another will be interesting for those who was your in the business to watch how that?
It's because he's a very very talented broadcaster, and he's made a great name for himself in a particular thing that things going to change he's going to have to figure out some new way in himself out with pink and interestingly we should expect your listeners that we will be in the hopper for about 45 weeks before it comes out so we may well of brexit by the time he came out so well.
What was the journey in terms of how are you? Eventually started to move from being aside to let you know producer station controller and now squillionaire radio guy with the two things one is I think the process of self-evaluation.
I think one of the things that you would always say to anybody is develop your career is to know yourself and we were joking earlier about presenters having a screw loose.
I did I don't mean that really but you know the general drift.
I wasn't talented enough to be an unrepresented at the very top level I was ok to be an ok presenter on a decent sized radio station, but I wasn't good enough to do the Breakfast Show and I wasn't good enough to be on a network international broadcast.
I just knew I didn't have that degree of skill and skill but there's something in eight.
I think about the very most the most talented has been there for decade I still love the show Steve would be one of the few people where you might say he's developed skills over time of the long long way most people.
I think you would say the some innate quality there that you are that you have it all you do and I just felt I didn't quite have enough to be at the very top of my game on it.
I mean did you can
Come to that conclusion.
I'm not good enough so therefore I'm now going to be in the station was 3 years in I was offered the opportunity to become the stations talks producer and I thought that for me was more intellectually challenging and more satisfying than constantly being on our still on are the torque produced did a lot of talk stuff and be it was a place where you were slots 24-hours a day 7-days a week.
So even people that weren't doing a regular daytime shift probably have one or two weekends is non music is that right and and in the early eighties any big radio station had lots of speech on as well as music and you said you can't just be music.
Do you think about that but at the time you have to sell producing features every week it could be Theatre reviews film reviews Unthinkable now interviews with people that wear out find a book that somebody is written as he said.
45-minute interview I'm going to do 15 to 1/2 minutes of use and we're going to run them every Monday at 9:30 in the morning is going to be episode 1 of me talking to some breakable now at the time and date.
They were members of the team that came into the Register stillbirth psychologist and they would come in and do a phone in every week with one of the other presenters.
I've got friendly with them and you're pregnant and I was desperate for material 15 talks every week, so I was always destined for material and I remember saying can we do a weekly thing about what it's like to be pregnant and following you through your pregnancy and she said yeah, let's do that and so every week.
We do something about some facet of her and her pregnancy.
Ended up with me at the root of the Birmingham Women's Hospital on the day that she was giving birth doing a live piece into the Les Ross Breakfast Show is there in the chamber there, but I can't hear anything through the door and eventually he were in the chamber actually I was outside with my ear pressed against the door and I report we put the whole series all of these episodes.
We we made a montage and entered it for one of the most prestigious prizes in the in the world is Japan price for education, so that was fantastic, so I didn't I feel more comfortable as a producer but the pay was lovely and I was just for myself, but I was ambitious to do well financially as well as in my career and my dad always says it's going to be miserable and Kristoff to sleep every night.
You might as well.
Do it for millions of the rather than 50 grand a year and I had.
Bromley friend, who'd left his job and a gun to London Business School to get an MBA and I remember meeting in for lunch one day and him telling me how much money he was earning at me thinking I'm doing the wrong thing.
I'm in the wrong job in New York I was very lucky as long story but I ended up at Columbia business school which is one of the best business schools in the world one of the top 10 business schools in the world and I got an MBA there and being a typical sucker for radio and I went to New York and then didn't do my projects on radio stations and to do with radio because New York was So Vibrant and fantastic in terms of radio compared to the UK and I remember thinking at the end of my MBA well.
I could go down to Wall Street and get myself a job as a master of the you.
I don't want to do that.
I'm really inspired by radio again having lived in New York and this is at the time Howard Stern was just starting on the radio Donna I was on on the
Stop Shadows on wplj anybody the centre radio will recognize these names, but this was a fantastic time and date.
Is it in New York radio so I got really excited again and it was just time that UK radio was starting to become free and we were going to see more expansion and people were talking.
We had sponsorship was just coming in there were the plan to split a.m.
And FM services.
There was talk of new FM licences in market to all of that men.
I thought I couldn't get back to the UK I could see if I can find my way into the radio business management sense doing something in and getting paid more money, so that's so I ended it back in the UK and I ended up by Ramon business for six months didn't quite work and the denim DPR be in touch me back and said look we're about to launch a new am service.
We want to run it would like you to do that and I've been off.
A job in a management Consulting firm in the media practice, but this was way more exciting so I did that and I lost extra how much is a great radio station and then wanted to go to Leeds to be the manager at radio Aire which I was there for four years that was a real learning experience because you're running the station.
Yeah, but not only that this was so for people called enough to remember 1990 and 1991 were that was a major recession.
Yeah, really major recession at the beginning of the nineties in York in the early 90s and I remember it was Minster FM but you could get radio are on on the west side of the city and you can get TFM on the North but only radio I was known at the time before I got there was trouble radio that was his nickname at we had two years the first two years where revenue drop by 15% in the first year and then it up by another fifteen percent.
It was really really a massive struggle to keep this station on the part of a larger group, but it was still a real challenge and I learnt a great deal.
I think about managing and cutting costs and being innovative when you haven't got enough money to really be innovative and all of those things and we launched the new station at the same time.
It was magic side launch this am servers Extra in Birmingham and I went a year later to Leeds and launched the original magic and then by 1994 I got head on to go back down to Birmingham by chrysalis to launch.
What eventually became heart and heart network launch incredible magic that would give you the more of the songs you love can I can hear the jingles now now.
I see a closet magic you to think what the original strapline was for Magic
What happened was that magic just sat there on a.m.
For a long time? What was the proposition for magic essentially what it is now the when we launched it in Leeds it was more of an old classic hits station not quite as often as it is now.
I mean what happened was that email as it was at the time bought a melody in London but we've got the great brand magic we're just going to put that on coz there is so much nicer name the melody but we've probably got a stick to what melody was doing well.
He was very soft was a very easy and so the idea that he might have was the Magic Band on it but we'll make it younger and slightly more contemporary, but it's always been a softer and more the original old is magic Magic radio station name and it was the great great time to be doing it so well heart was.
Fixing for moving to chrysalis launching heart launching the part in London and then being part of a team that bought bundles of radio stations Reed Holborn tube station has Galaxy in the North and building Galaxy into a big network and building Christmas radio into at the time we sold it was the fourth largest group in the UK we made your friend Chris Wright a lot of money when we sold it.
I'm sure he spent a lot of that money with me that business for an awful.
Lot I think one of my fastest route to said we probably invested 70 million in buying and building radio stations and we sell the 470 so we made about 100 million profit for the shareholders in any more money after This podcast recording.
Can I get hold of you and respective said no.
I think the peak time for radio in my career was from the mid 90s to the late 2000s.
I think radio had its biggest boom during that period and I was just looking to be in the right place at the right time in the right company with the right team to really take advantage of that and grow the business that we had and make it successful.
You must have ticked all of your boxes in terms of an entity passion about you can leverage it to make to launch these exciting brands and creating exciting propositions and you're also commercially successful and you're doing all this and are you making lots of people money but you're also making yourself some decent scratch as well.
I was fortunate enough to get a few decent bonuses and have some shares in the company and that retrospectively years later and I think I suppose the only thing that I would say is I think the combination if you trace my career and lots of people who are similar to me.
I think the combination was that I ended up being the boss and I don't say this in her.
I don't think it's an arrogant thing to say but I I think my overriding set in life is being a boss.
I know that sounds.
I just mean I think I'm better at being a bastard.
I will being a finance director.
I think I'm better at being a boss and I will be at being a sales director some people are better at it has been generally I think the particular set of skills that I've got allowed me to be very good at that particular job which is the person sitting in the centre trying to set the strategic Direction trying to get people to buy into that trying to push the business in a certain Direction and trying to make sure everybody behind was the following in the same direction and getting hold I think suited my particular skill sets and and the stuff they had learnt at Columbia and the stuff that I'm not going through the ranks because most people.
chief executive businesses will have been some sort of functional director then there have been some sort of managing director of a business unit inside a bigger company and then they'll become a phone number to of vice president or CEO and then they'll become the chief executive Pastor and the people that are good at those jobs will end up at the at the very top because they've got the right skill set and I think that's where my scooter sit really fed up and was it after 13 years that you still able to move on from it was but the Rational selling was quite straightforward, which was we had tried a couple of times and failed to merge our business with the gmg radio businesses and there were other transactions that happened that we try to be part of them and didn't end up succeeding being part of and it became clear that the
Gcap business and the business will just bigger than as in we would never going to be able to catch them and I said to the board at the beginning of 2007.
There is no doubt it, but it's very true.
It's a Harvard Business School edict you write the number one.
It's Jack well through the number one and number two in the market for your toast and we're not number one or number two and will be really can't get their structure of the business Chrissy shareholding the fact that we had we will leverage to do other stuff in other bits of the business men never we didn't have the financial firepower to go and buy out an email Brady or by out somebody else and I said to the board actually does a consolidation going on and you eat or getting we should get in first because we'll get the highest amount of money and the board agreed and we put the business up for sale and sold it and you know.
Was the right thing to do at the time and I have to say global and the guys at global have done a great job with those assets.
They really work they'll be seeing her particular an hour to giant radio assets when I compare where they are today with where they were when I feel that business Ashley and the rest of guys have really taken one and done a fantastic job and then after that you back in Brum with Orion Media do you recognise that brmb was losing its audience and need to reinvent itself as a brand the challenge there was that we bought these essentially the heritage local stations in Birmingham and Wolverhampton and Wooster and the new Big original players had then Become heart smooth capital.
They were all being marketed very heavily on TV and they were eating into the audience share of these heritage local stations and we spent a year or two trying to make the heritage.
Work as individual brands of Mercia in Coventry and bacon in Wolverhampton and B&B in Birmingham Wyvern in Worcester and then we just gave the conclusion actually it was just we just couldn't compete in the marketing place with those guys the heart the smoothed the capital of because they could go on TV they could marketing for the West Midlands region a single Brand and really taking her to take a proposition to the audience we can do that because we just promoting B&B we wasting half of our money and not only will be will be wasting our money those people who work for mercy or Beacon or Wyvern will be saying why you spending money on brmb.
Not spending money on us so it was an impossible situation to market properly if your TV is the only way really and outdoor the TV principles anyway remark the radio brand saying there's only one way out of this and that to change the change the brands.
And fight global at their own game in a rebranded all of these radio stations in two hearts and smooth, and what have you got to do the same thing until we rebranded all of those four stations is free and had a pretty good go at building a new brand in that market and that worked pretty well and that alongside gem much is the station we had an East Midlands were the for a successful transaction in 2016 when we sell the business to our room now the for small independent commercial radio operators in the evening ridiculous question to ask local this hasn't got away and even the stations that are part of networks carry some local that's in some commitment to local news can small local station survive.
I think they can in the right markets with the right approach, but that doesn't mean to say that although.
Can survive but I think we are moving in the direction of a different Media landscape and radio.
I think I recognise that it's moving in that direction and as radio moves more to an online or a digital world and we're seeing 1555 percent listening and now digital that almost inevitably means more national brands more brands more bigger players less space for local FM so I think that there is still a market for them, but that market is becoming constrained and smaller over time and that I think there are some inevitable said this is about that.
We took you ages ago about me being on the shield radio station in Birmingham that was so big and so powerful and so profitable that I could afford to have her a 3-minute gardening feature at 9:30 on Monday morning you could.
Those radio stations don't really exist in the same way or shape now even the big Tower city FM stations are being network tomorrow.
So there is an inevitable shift away.
Does it matter and casinos truly local shows as you mentioned there are obviously being replaced Eden on the local stations by network for the big commercial brands and also the music selection change and it seems to me that it's becoming a bit more conservative now.
Just to kind of keep the listeners stations out there and what you're saying you are more brand extensions, so he's got brand extensions magic brand extension extension smooth capital heart and that's the Procter and Gamble approach to life which is we've got so much shelf space for our kitty cat product if we bring out a new kitty cat liver and onions it will grow.
More shelf space and move somebody else further down the dark so we want more of that shelf space and that's the approach that the radio stations are taking by adding new brand.
There's not a lot of cost apart from the cost, but if I can bring some more audience in that means more audience for them to sell as opposed to their competitor so that's a logical business thing to do we possibly did have a golden age of local radio in the UK in the 80s and early 90s and that's been on the Drift probably for 1015 years and I I could easily be accused of being one of the people that created that drift away from localness, but I think you just go where the audience takes you do you do in a commercial environment because there's no one there to support you if you make the wrong decision you should go under so yeah, so, what are you doing now then? Do you have a can of pop?
With lots of different interests, what's a typical week for you would be lots of work as the co-founder with my friend Matt Deegan and my lover and Michael Kelly on Twitter as at so we are the co-founders of podcast live so that's another adventure that is a we'll put some money in and try to get this thing going and it's interesting and we doing some live events.
We done three so far this year.
I've been incredible success have been watching watching with interest on Twitter and that's fun.
It's not making any money as yet, but that's in the nature of startup doesn't it? But that's new and interesting way of looking at the the media for me and I'm enjoying dealing with the podcast is putting events together trying to get the right line up of other players and and having fun doing that Fiona podcast right now talking about podcasting on podcasting business.
Dubai the podcast indeed then, there's no listeners as well as we agreed earlier.
That's right, then.
I also I'm sharing of a TV commercial production company in Birmingham which is an interesting then when I'm not doing any of that I am helping out the Radio Academy is the chair of Judges for the RAF which is the UK radio industry awards and when I'm not doing that I'm trying to encourage people to come and stay in my villa in Majorca which we rent out so that's a business as well, so I've got that and then I'm also the trustee and chairman of fundraising and marketing committee for acorns which is the UK's largest children's hospice charity in based in Birmingham we got three hospices one in the Black Country run in the morning, Worcestershire and that's very challenging role to in a challenging charity in a very difficult in a very difficult sector so you know.
Birmingham's very important and radiograms wanted Birmingham so everything seems to go back All Roads Lead to Rome but Birmingham it was only because I started my career there.
I ended up marrying a Brummie I came back to launch heart their main reason was because the people that employees said he knows about Birmingham and we don't know do you know he could go so and what does know about Birmingham mean just playing funky x don't be so silly is a great city and its fast becoming.
I think the most attractive city in the UK if you give you walk from Street to the Brindley Place business sector actually transform.
We've got a couple of clients in Birmingham and I'm not listening and I really think they.
Are the salt of the Earth and they are much maligned and I have to say what are the reason that much blood is because people take the mickey out of the Grave accent terrible shame and going back to B&B Les Rossiter is the Birmingham breakfast presenter on BRB who is a Brummie never made it nationally in the reason.
I never made it national it was on the basis of Talent alone.
He should definitely have been a national radio star and I think that's trying shame for the rest of the UK that they didn't get to hear Les Ross Birmingham did but no one else.
I've got a couple of friends from Yorkshire who moved to London like me to seek fame and fortune and they took elocution lessons and deliberately not Yorkshire you Mummy I don't think I sound like some kind of comedy Yorkshire with the flat cap and whippet, but I'm certainly not going to hide my ex and I will be weird well, so I think it's
And I think you could say that now in 2019 but in 1978 1979 when I was at university at working on the student radio station there.
I am the new in my bones that if I had a broad Mancunian accent.
It was game over for getting a job anywhere but in Manchester so I worked very hard to lose that accent used to listen back to every Show I did and I could hear the bank unionism coming out and I forgot I've got that out of my accent.
I've got to try and come back.
So where's now you listen to Radio 4 amazing as well and the transformation of the Northern accent it to somebody that's completely acceptable on National broadcast platforms television and radio is to be applauded, but it then shines a light on the fact that the Brummie accent is still regarded as something that you need to be covered up.
If you think about if you write down a list of the top 100 radio broadcasters in Who been on the BBC on BBC network from Radio 1 radio to Radio 3 4 5 there won't be many brothers in there the now now there will be a fair few people from the North but they will not be many Midlands in that list and I do think that in a bad way either friend and claim Anthony scaramucci in America and he is a similar view that racism is completely unacceptable in America unless you're an italian-american and their fair game people can Italian Americans and people laugh at even on late night TV shows but it is just racist if you did that in any form of an African American or any form of you know anyone else but I'm married married her a Brummie to my kids were born in the Midlands when was born in Yorkshire by the way, so that's alright.
So what happened was launched heart in 94 and then we almost 6 weeks after we start in the middles.
We won the licence and are said to be my wife and the Christmas I'm going to base myself somewhere between London and Birmingham and I'll just drive on the M40 and try and get them both working in and everybody agreed to that and I start we started looking at the London end, and we just gradually get moving at further up because I've got to live here we have ended back up in Warwickshire me now living the delights of lovely Royal Leamington Spa which is in Birmingham in Birmingham for it's like me.
I tell people I live in Milton Keynes by 50 miles out of Milton Keynes and beautiful the same money that we paid in you can have like 2 acres.
I go to.
Every month for business and I the charity that I'm involved in is is a is a Birmingham based charity and many of my friends live in Birmingham in the people that haven't been it is it's a great city, so I'll hear nothing bad to say about it now in my car my wife got a Tesla so she's got all the slab a.m.
And FM as well as DAB is analogue ultimately going to be switched off as one of the worst things that happens in my car when I switch off Spotify is sometimes default 2fm.
Rather than DAB and obviously that's the worst thing in the entire world.
I have to expose my eardrums to that that compression for like 3 seconds then we'll be here for a fairly long time to come and take 252 long wave well.
I think you only have to look at the fact that there are still significant.
People listening to am there are the listen to 5 live on Talksport or any other number of am stations that are dotted around the 909 and 63 still and if you if you think that that is 1520 years after the introduction of DAB and fifty years after the introduction of FM am still has an audience that makes those people that own am transmitters very concerned about switching them off look at concealing their own interests of course yeah, so our own radio doing fantastically well.
We've got lots of 6-years simultaneously brilliant.
Ok mate there still on a.m.
And believable and they haven't switched am often the reason.
I haven't switched it off is the number of listeners that are being delivered by a.m.
Far away the cost of keeping the transmitter wall.
I didn't realise that until that economic model changes commercial operators will not want to switch off that so that's and I mean to me recently because I prefer the radio iPlayer app to their BBC sounds and the cottage was actually switched it off and knowing and burdensome for dead now on BBC sounds.
I got used to the interface.
Could do that can be so look at you need to get to FM on DAB that you run the risk you run in saying a green collectively with the BBC right we're going to switch it all off with all going to go to dab is either people will mass migrate from FM or a.m.
To DAB and find new radio stations that aren't yours and therefore your shower will go down or that people will send people who made.
FM radios in the cars or in the garage at home.
They got nothing ready will certainly find that actually the radio station to listen to is no longer there so the listing will decline and that's the risk you run the risk.
He's you are collectively that the radiology delivers a billion hours of radio list that 50 million people listening to 20 hours approx drops to 900 million or 800 million is are going to say oh well that's fine.
We'll give you all a 25% increase on your advertising rate.
They're just going to go well.
That's 25% Less.
We need to pay and and that is the Dilemma for the commercial we had Chris Byrne sitting in that chair a few weeks ago and I am frankly she's done a fantastic job running all the BBC's local radio stations.
You must have had offers to revitalize BBC local radio yourself, Shirley
Actually the one area that I really have not been particularly involved in I don't particularly think that my skill set would be of more value than some of the other coming there are people in the commercial John Myers Our Mutual Friend who died this summer because he did a couple of reports on BBC local radio news report actually he probably would have been a great guy to go in there and give it a kick up the backside, but you say he's doing a great job.
It's not it's not something that particularly jumps out at me.
It's I quite like the concept of brands and building brands and that's not where BBC local radio so I suspect it would never really be that sort of thing that I be too interested in getting involved in much missed Dad do you know the Legend and you know that?
Warm-hearted and genuinely was I mean.
I love John are you still have lunch in every 2-3 months and had lunch with him about three weeks before he died and we were celebrating beating cancer around the golf in Scotland and drops dead.
It's a remarkable for people that don't know John he was the chief exec of gmg radio and I pretty much fully careers we were both presented at the same time we both got a demand is going around the same time we work for the same company for a while.
We then ended up building our own separate radio Empires at the same time.
We then when those things being advisor to each other on life and everything else.
It wasn't like a bobby in Jiu in there was more friendly than that we people people who know the Inside Story will absolutely confirm that for the five or six years that John was running gmg and I was running Chris list in the early 2000s a we were.
Friendly rivals but more than that we both recognise that the best thing for either businesses with the be part of a bigger business at the with the other one a rising tide lifts all well.
We tried so hard to get those two businesses to and just corporate corporate shift.
Got in the way on more than one occasion and that was so frustrated because actually have we put those two business together the radio and she will be at would look different today it definitely what's next for you.
I don't know I'm talking to some people about an interesting You audio project that may or may not come off.
I'm interested in buying Media podcast that would be fantastic.
I've got the 50p still got something left to offer in the radio is difficult to know quite where that is because that the industry is consolidated so much and and obviously there are in a very talented people at the top of those those companies but I'd like to.
I can still offer something which is one of the reasons why I'm enjoying this senior independent advisor role, because I'm at least I feel offering something back podcasting.
I think there's something interesting and innovative in podcasting weather weather forecast in can make the economic return that people.
Hope you can make I don't know that so that's an interesting place to see where that will get to but I'm finding all of those things interesting what interests me about podcasting in terms of monitors, and it is one of the reasons.
Why has such a unique spacing in the ecosphere is Apple created iTunes, then you have to monetize.
It was £7.99 for an album or £79 for a track but they couldn't work out with monetizing podcast.
I never thought someone is 79p because ultimately is an MP3 and and so they end up just having it some kind of offcut app and that its first podcast as to try to find ways to monetize it will be advertising.
You know the brand affinity partnerships up something like this way.
I am directly monetise Media Masters because it's it raises my profile and it helps me build my rolodex.
I think there is a K4 micropayments and you'll see some podcast now that use patreon as a means to get people to be subscribers.
I think there's so I think this free ad funded then there's a patreon the something in the middle which is I want that podcast.
I don't mind paying Tim Peake and actually fine people pay 10p the podcast is making enough money to keep the thing go, but it's because those podcast is Argos in the end.
Many of them will say I can't afford to carry on doing this for free even though there are people out there listening to it.
I need to find somewhere for those people to give me a little bit of money because I can't make any money on advertising and I think if you only have 5 or 10000 subscribers.
Google struggle to find advent address, but if you had 10000 subscribers who is giving you 10p a week.
You know that's a grand and actually you do that every week that 50 g that's a that's a salary always enough money for you to pay for studio space and do something decent so I think there are micropayment models that haven't been properly invented or developed yet might sit alongside the big guys are getting out funding and the and the guys are well resourced and niece who maybe have patreon funding so I think there's something that sits in the middle book and so it's not there yet 20% your own podcast I mean to be honest that yeah, I'm sure you would find a way to monetize it be commercially successful, but it would also put you through the centre in terms of a vehicle be about the commercial eighties radio well possibly but I've got so many things on my plate at the moment though.
I think trying to do something else right now would be a bit of a challenge possibly next year when there's a slightly less.
Put on my flight you're a legend.
Thank you for your time.
It's a pleasure with big things Media
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