Radio Station Catfight in Glasgow
By Art Grainger
Posted 12 January 2016, 4.05pm est
I would have thought that Radio Clyde would have risen above such tactics but it seems that they have let their standards drop, with a bit of a stooshe between themselves and a trial radio station that's operating on the mini-MUX for 9 months or so.
The region's evening newspaper has reported this catfight which, if the e-mail is as true as it's reported, has ensured that Radio Clyde have given it's "rival" even more publicity than they would probably have wanted to give, whilst possibly making themselves look quite petty.
I'm also baffled by the logic.
If Go! Radio Glasgow is a rival and Radio Clyde don't want to mention the name of someone who is associated with it, then surely that same rule has to apply to Tony Blackburn, who also presents a program on Radio 2, which is a far greater rival to Clyde 2 than Go! Radio is likely to be during its 9 months on air - yet Tony gets his own show on Sundays and very regular trailers throughout the week.
Radio Clyde management may be a troubled with the ghost of Radio Clyde past with their behavioural problem about Suzie McGuire! The GO! Radio team also include Tiger Tim Stevens, who was a household name, back in the days when Radio Clyde was Britain's king of ILR. The Tiger has also roared about bringing local radio back to Glasgow!
Modern Radio Clyde management should calm down and revise their attitude of "blanking" Suzie McGuire, before it again reaches the Glasgow Evening Times or worse still, The Glasgow Herald!
Up until now Go! Radio have been quite forthright in their criticisms of the lack of local programming on all the commercial stations that have empty studios in Glasgow whilst taking networked shows for most of the 24 hour clock from Little England or somewhere else South of the border. However, they have been doing so as part of their explanation to the printed, social and TV media as to why Go! Radio exists ..... otherwise it would be just another radio station trying to grab the attention spans of Weegies. You can't blame them for that - they are making that their USP and a reason to listen.
This is not the first time that the folks at Radio Clyde have come across as being a bit rattled by any other station that dares to broadcast on their patch. There is a fairly well known story about Billy Connolly contacting the new community radio station in his former home town (Govan). When the manager of the station told him that they had invited people from Radio Clyde to come and visit them and see what they do (and how they don't intend to be competition to Radio Clyde in any way), only to have the offers resolutely refused, the Big Yin apparently said, "Well, they probably feel that their coats are on a shoogley peg."
If Radio Clyde are so bothered about a trial radio station (which is effectively an RSL), then maybe they should be looking at themselves and assessing why their audiences have gone down by so much and those who are still listening are listening for a lot less time.
However, I could help them with that...........! Starting off with no local news bulletins after 7PM. Why do I want to hear about England's cricket results and almost no local news on my supposed local station? I might as well listen to Radio 2 or Radio 5 for that. There are other (smaller) radio stations in Scotland doing local news 24/7. How come the goliath that is Radio Clyde cannot seem to manage that anymore?
It's not a cat-fight, it's common sense. You don't mention other stations, or presenters, on air. This is a fuss over nothing.
Ditto venue names... at Real, we'd never namecheck the Hallam FM Arena, or the Clyde Auditorium. Instead, we'd say the Sheffield Arena or the Glasgow Armadillo. Likewise, when a big commercial campaign on Metro was voiced by Alan Robson (I think for a couple glazing company), we'd only run versions that were revoiced by someone else.
Go are good at stirring the pot, which gets them great publicity. But Clyde aren't doing anything daft here.
Go Radio wasn't mentioned. It was the names of the main members of the cast of a theatre show, which included Suzie, so in that context I don't understand the logic.
Historically Radio Clyde have played commercials for pantos, shows and events for which the names mentioned included people that were also presenters on Radio Scotland (a definite rival, especially for football).
Going by the same logic then, how can they have a presenter doing a show for them on a Sunday and heavily trail it throughout the week, when he also does a show on Britain's biggest and most listened to Radio station on a Saturday? Surely that's daft?
Or maybe Suzie is a much bigger radio star than Tony Blackburn?
The more I think about the more hysterical it becomes. In fact, I now think of it as a joke. Go will be laughing. Suzie will be quite amused. Radio Clyde probably no longer perceive themselves as the mighty station they always were and this petty tactic is showing up weaknesses, where they are very bothered about a pokey wee digital station that might only be on air for nine months.
Interesting reading but factually incorrect.
We are not a temporary 9 month station. The MUX and the radio station are not the same thing .
GO Radio Glasgow will be a permanent addition to the Glasgow media landscape and our plans have always been to migrate from the mini MUX should that become a necessity.
Clyde already understand we have no intention of being a 'pokey wee digital station'
GO Radio Glasgow
I'll give you a thumbs up Kevin for your ambitions but I made my comment on the present day reality, purely on the basis that I'm not an optimist or pessimist. After a lifetime of third parties making promises followed by disappointments, I have learned to believe that things will happen when I actually see them happening.
On that basis, the reality is that you are a trial radio station on a trial platform and we don't know, as yet, what will happen after the night nine months because that bit is at the mercy of other organisations, such as Ofcom.
When I made the term that you are a "pokey wee digital station," I'm doing so in the context of you vs the size of Radio Clyde. You are on DAB for a limited period, so in reality you're not going to be a major threat to them in that time because, just like RSL stations, by the time you build up a significant audience, the plugged is pulled - and you'll probably have to start all over again at another time.
FM is an option when that is advertised again and/or it may be that these DAB trials get their licences extended automatically. But - being a realist - I shall wait and see.
You miss my point entirely. The reality is we are not a trial station. Our plans have always been permanent and we have a very clear route to that end, no matter the state of play with the current mux. Posting false statements as you have above is potentially damaging to our revenue streams so once again I make it crystal clear that we are NOT a trial station no matter the state of play with the current DAB multiplex.
On that point then I shall srand to be corrected and I'll put myself in the naughty corner, whilst writing a thousand lines 'This is NOT a trial radio station.'
Good luck guys.
Art, it strikes me that Clyde's decison re this is just as the email says, which is that this is a response to a specific set of circumstances, i.e that Go is launching just now and Suzie is a very key part of it.
Sometimes as you say stations will run ads featuring people on rival stations in panto or whatever because they fancy the money and sometimes they don't because they don't want to highlight a rival presenter. Perhaps if it was a month or two down the line Clyde may have just taken the cash but the rather boring fact is that it's just based on 'here and now' circumstances, and they don't wish to advertise Suzie for what to me are quite obvious reasons at the moment.
As you rightly say the local DAB thing is an initial 9 month trial. I think there is a fair possibility that OFCOM may allow it to continue on, as happened with the incremental trial community stations like Awaz, and 5 year community stations being allowed to roll over. If everyone is happily placed, why shut it all down just to start up later? However you are correct as the situ stands now.
Otherwise Go could just migrate to, say, the Central Scotland MUX that Central and Rocksport are also on, continue as an internet station till local DAB comes back, or win 96.3. in other words a great deal of flexibily about how the business can operate, so what's not to like?
Crikey, is it January 27th already? The haggis has been eaten, Australia has had its day, the Chinese New Year is almost here (although I ending up celebrating that in Edinburgh last night with the in-laws - boy, can Chinese people eat lots) ....... and Go hasn't quite got going yet!
Despite this NON-TRIAL station (I have to get that right because that Kevin bloke gave me a right row for that) having had such a long and very public warm-up, it's still not on air with live progs as yet, even though Planet Radio Forum would have you believe that the whole of Glasgow is poised for the first words to be spoken, like the nation apparently did with Tony Blackburn in '67.
Apparently Go's lack of progress on that matter is due to the old railway excuse ...... technical difficulties! People in-the-know (and even Go have said themselves) that it's due to TX No.2 of the DAB mini-MUX not being on air yet.
Having been involved in the set up of quite a few radio projects throughout my own 40-something life, I can almost feel the frustration of those who are in charge of Go. However - because I have effectively been in those shoes, I'm wondering why, at this point (so late - mind), that they just don't say in true Weeegie-speak, "Ah feck-it! Let's just dae it," regardless of that second transmitter and what state it's in just now.
Bear in mind that another radio station in the same area didn't bother to wait for their second FM transmitter coming on air before they re-named and re-launched a few years ago.
As far as I'm aware, the studio infrastructure is ready, the presenters are chapping at the bit, the press will no doubt be poised, Clyde will be slightly nervous and radio enthusiasts and members of the Glasgow public are probably dying to hear the station that they've read so much about. Maybe it's time to just do it, even at half-mast, until the other problem is sorted (which seems to be going on for such a long time now). Other stations on the MUX are broadcasting already and sounding no' bad.
I hope it is not going to be another one of these Radio Caroline Extra stories about a promised service that never materialised!
Willie - that's not fair. You cannot draw comparisons between Go and a toy radio station that's named after a 60's pirate. Radio Whats-her-name is run by anoraks and appeals to anoraks mainly because of what it's called rather than anything that it puts out. If the same programs and music was put out on a station with a different name, far fewer anoraks would know nor care and they certainly wouldn't go beside themselves to praise everything it does.
Go on the other hand is promising to be something worthwhile, for the great Glasgow public.
Art, I must be one of those anoraks for I also dip in and listen to the Radio North Sea International tribute station. I think, RNI in the early 70s and its jammed medium wave transmission was the Achilles heel of the old BBC monopoly of sound broadcating, prior to 1972!
Back to the present time, I hope GO! does make a "go" of it in the-not-too-distant future. I will certainly dip into the service from time to time...
Art, I've heard your 'just GO for it' argument put by a few folk now, a lot of chatter that used to happen on public forums now happening 'smarter' by facebook private messages where one can freely speak one's mind while avoiding public rows. It goes that having built so much momentum they should really launch with at least something sooner rather than later, or risk losing public interest and facebook goodwill. For those who can't get signal from Cathkin the service is easily available online which is where a lot of listening is liable to occur anyway.
However you will know that DAB is different from FM in that you either get a useable signal or you don't and with this SFN it's not just a case of the other transmitter being on per se, but also being on and combining signal with Cathkin. In a nutshell, Cathkin on it's own is of no use to a commercial business such as this. The mux is effectively only on 40% coverage at present, Glennifer being needed for another 40% and the SFN syncing effect for the final 20%, roughly speaking anyway.
At present though it is really only the Eastern half of the city that is receiving adequate signal, which unfortunately is not the most salubrious of markets. Signal can be gained further afield by moving the radio to 'sweet spots' but is of no use to the 'Glasgow man in the street'. Glennifer is needed to reach the crucial Western half of the city and it would be rather foolhardy of Go launching till this occurs and the signal is fully 'there'
I can appreciate the other argument. However, the trouble with being involved in radio projects (as I know only too well) is that you can get so sucked into them, you lose track of time and pages fall off calendars very quickly.
Forgive the jazz hands but to give you an appreciation of time, when the very first test transmissions for this MUX started in the autumn of last year, I was on a 3 week holiday to Hong Kong and South Korea. When I came back I sorted out over 5000 holiday snaps and backed them up, posted them on Cloud and shared with friends that I visited and had restaurant meals with. Christmas has come and gone, as has the New Year. I spent the first week of the new year in Bristol on a workation (a new word invented by me, perhaps, meaning work by day in a foreign place and time to see the sights in my spare time). I have sat two exams and achieved a merit in one and a distinction for another. I have had new furniture arrive which I then assembled. I did a spring clean and now I have a room that feels brand new, with proper shelves for 120 CD wallets that store more than 20,000 CD's, plus 2,000 vinyl albums. I have been on two mini nature trips. I have been for a big annual meal with my in-laws and now I anticipate the start of February (on Monday), which includes 3 birthdays and V-day. In my own daytime job, three design projects have been completed and gone out-the-door.
Meanwhile, Go is still not on air, save for a low quality audio transmission of jingles and non-stop music in sort of hold-the-line-please way.
As Kevin was keen to point out to me, Go and the MUX are "not the same thing," whilst he also wanted to point out that the radio station will exist regardless of the state of the MUX, yet they seem to want to be at the mercy of it for just now.
I know what I would do, as I have done for some projects I have been involved with (not just radio). In my dealings with third parties who weren't making progress at the pace I wanted and needed them to be at, I circumnavigated them and got on with things in full-state mode as best as I could, until they sorted themselves out. Otherwise I would lose my patience.
I suppose the best comparison I can provide is that of Scotrail, who, rather than wait for new rolling stock to arrive (because the manufacturers were running late), they just put on a reduced service on the Airdrie to Bathgate line from their intended launch day, which went ahead regardless. They just had to explain to the public why it was happening. It saved them a bit of humiliation from the public and more especially the 40K-a-year newspaper journalist that needs (or invents) scandal to justify their jobs.
To add to my post above, let me put it this way:-
All the other radio stations on that MUX (and almost all of the other radio stations on any DAB MUX in the UK, including the small-scale trials) have demonstrated that they are bigger than the multiplex they are on. So far, Go Radio, by not being on air yet, seems to be demonstrating, in my mind, that the (trial) multiplex is bigger than the radio station, even though that's not Go's intention.
There's certainly a case to be made that 'something' should be made to happen sooner rather than later, and a compromise between both our arguments might be something akin to what happened when Virgin 1215 was testing back in 1993 where the jocks went live on 'previews'. Have happy memories of Tommy Vance finishing his last show on Radio 1 then appearing on Virgin's tests about half an hour later.
I actually like your 'Airdrie to Bathgate' analogy and I dare say they could make a virtue out of necessity, perhaps spinning it that they are launching 'first' to the East End, offering a skelton service, and have the sales team offer attractive introductory deals to businesses in that patch.
However while it is fun for you and I to bounce ideas (and in your case your recent life story....though hands up I enjoyed that post) around on here, neither of us are the ones paying the jocks' invoices, something that perhaps focuses the mind of Go management who presumably don't have access to the bottomless pit of cash Virgin had.
While as you say all the other stations are alive and well on it, I believe it to be the case that Pulse 98.4 may be rather keen for Glennifer to come on so they can cater to nearby Paisley and Renfrew and get local ad revenues, not to mention YOUR who have gone into RAJAR and Glennifer would be of help too for them. So it would be helpful all round if this phenomenon occured soon.
Say it John - or forever haud yer wheesht!
Time's slipping away. 18 more DAB stations are coming very soon. That's 18 more stations on the one and ONLY platform that GO Radio is getting a chance to be on - and it's still not transmitting live programs yet.
But haud it a meenut!
Some of those other 18 stations are going to be doing a bit of a shuffle between one MUX and another, potentially leaving vacancies on the very MUX that is fully up and running and even getting more transmitters added, whilst this small-scale DAB thingy is really struggling to be heard in at least half of its intended service area as yet.
Just a thought.
Hi Art, sorry I wish there was a hidden meaning to that blank post in a sort of 'read between the no lines' way. But have nay idea how it got there, probs just me hitting 'post a reply' by accident or such.
However, leaving aside both sides debates about whether Go should launch or not minus Glennifer, I am of the view that why Glennifer is not yet on is now a very legitimate matter for public scrutiny.
And so we're now in the middle of February, with a multiplex that was first testing in October, with proper tests throughout December and the first radio stations broadcasting from mid-January.
However, things have gone from bad to worse, with two transmitters now putting out different signals and anyone that had reasonably good reception has noticed it got considerably worse. Anyone who had excellent reception will have noticed the bars have gone down by a few and even some bubbles and squeaks can be heard, whilst driving and listening to this MUX is not worth the while at the moment.
I really feel for Go just now.
I've been there, when third parties really let you down. Even LC Radio (the online community station for Larkhall and Avondale) suffered from third parties saying lots but doing nothing - and that was when I discovered that elected councilors and the local COUNCIL don't seem to communicate with each other. The councilors promised the earth, even claiming that certain buildings were definitely available and that they would get them for us, whilst the council were quick to point out that the very same buildings were either being sold off or demolished (which turned out to be true).
There's a possibility of this MUX not being up and running properly at any time, unless some people get their finger out, which would be quite unfortunate for Go unless they find another means of broadcasting on another mulitplex.
Must confess i am loving the Glasgow radio politics at play just now. It's like our version of that time in the 90s John Major resigned then stood for re-election.
A week is a long time in politics - and so it would seem the same in this very fast moving, digital, multi-media and more especially social media age when it comes to radio.
An ordinary member of the public who is definitely not a radio enthusiast that spends much of their day keeping abreast of the latest versions of radio jingles has just said to me:- "What happened to that Go Radio? I take it that it's deid noo and disnae exist any mair?"
And so it brings me back to something I said earlier in this thread - about me being neither and optimist or pessimist but a realist who only believes that something is going to happen when it happens.
Then I read Spencer's replay on that other forum (where I apparently have multiple identities, according to a wee lost soul in East Kilbride). When he mentioned about the battle he is having with the second transmitter site owners and their absolute stubbornness, well, that's exactly the kind of thing I mean when it comes to third parties.
Have you ever tried to make progress and take a community group forward when committees are involved? The whole thing can be considerably slowed down or even come to a grinding halt.
Art, To be honest, I would start to care less whether Go Radio! will continue to be No-Go-Radio! in Glasgow!
The Go Radio! team don't seem to be bothered about disappointing you and many other potential listeners!
There is plenty of other new radio services coming along from leap year day, February 29th.
It is time to walk away and forget about what seemed to be a good idea with the Go Radio! ethos!!
Shame. Such a huge build up as well. If they don't get to air (soon), this could be quite an embarrassment for a few of the people involved. I would hate to be in those shoes.
I would suggest that if it's economically viable to do so (and that in itself could be another stumbling block) would be to use some of the oodles of unused capacity on the Central Scotland MUX and have no regard for the overspill into Edinburgh.
There is no harm in that because as the years have progressed, Central Scotland has become a massive commuter belt anyway, with people living in East Lothian's coastal towns spending some of their day commuting to their jobs in Glasgow, especially now that our railways have become better connected and our motorway network is being improved. It seems to have been a priority for Central FM, who are probably on that MUX to save them from the tune-out factor when listeners from their own service area have to commute to Glasgow and parts of Edinburgh and would otherwise lose the station if it was only on FM. Indeed, I have used Central FM for that reason, on occasions that I have found myself having to travel from my home and into the Forth Valley area. I am now able to get from door-to-door and hear them, whereas previously I had to be about 5 miles or so outside their service area before their FM signal was good enough to tune-in.
Quite interesting to read however the fact is GO will launch when issues beyond our control allow us to.
As a commercial operation we are not going to launch without the transmitter issues fixed and doing what they are supposed to. We are assured this will happen soon.
Yes it's annoying, yes it's frustrating but GO Radio Glasgow will launch once these issues are resolved and not before.
Since only one of the 2 transmitters are up it limits our coverage area. That limits the audience and limits the revenue we can generate.
We will be launching when this is resolved.
Kevin, surely it's better to launch with only one transmitter, and work towards getting the second transmitter up and running, than just be stubborn and say, it's both or nothing. That sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Let me help you with that one Ian.
Glasgow is, to quite an extent, split, especially between the East and the West of the city.
The West is predominantly populated by successful, ambitious, often arty-fart types of people with loads of income and plenty of it to dispose of.
The East is the poor half, where young parents grab their children, throw them in the bath, then hang them out of the 15th floor window to dry, never having taken their clothes off because washing machines are only for washing trainers and onesies.
People in the Western half of the city watch dramas and political programs such as Question Time. People in the East watch all the soap operas and their own kind of political programs ..... in the form of Jeremy Kyle, for which a considerable portion have already appeared on the program showing off their beaming smiles.
Go Radio wants to have both transmitters on air to make them more viable. Guess which one of those two transmitters is actually working right now?
Like, that makes a difference?
Most commercial radio already works well with a C2DE audience anyway, so you might as well go for it, rather than not.
Arthur - I hope you might see fit to reconsider your depictions of the East and West of Glasgow. I hope you were joking, or maybe being deliberately flippant but for someone who seems to pride themselves on understanding and respecting the environment in which they live and work, I feel it was a little ill advised.
Colin, I imagine and hope that Arthur is extremely exaggerating to make a point but in terms of financials it contains more than a kernal of truth. I will allow myself a bit of 'Arthur type' post indugence on a 'sauce for the goose....' basis and say that I vistited the East End for the first time in ages earlier this month. Number 38 bus trip from Shawlands to The Fort in Easterhouse. Much nicer houses these days. Discounts at Fort have to be seen to be believed. Price-wise it might be 1992.
CamGlen Radio have decided to go down the route of advertising for experienced presenters to revamp their daytime programming, perhaps inspired by Go and, so they can chase down ad revenues in the East End-ish patch served by their 107.9 TX and the DAB trials at present. But they are an expenses/volunteer operation so can charge ad rates at extremely attractive price points for businesses in that area.
It's an impossible jump from that to having a commercial DAB operation serving the same area and paying out wages to big names. A CR station with polished up daytime output can charge, say, £250 a month ballpark say, and that represents a good deal for the client but these are not workable numbers for a commercial operation like Go.
So both transmitters it needs to be.
Ah Colin, fret not.
I come from a working class background, having spent most of my life in a council house and am the son of an alchohol-addicted parent that was unemployed for most of his (short) adult life. I don't need to say too much about my own childhood but I still consider myself to be working class (scum) - but I'm probably one of the worst kind, especially for Tory governments because I'm working class AND EDUCATED (their worst nightmare). Allow me to exaggerate.
Whilst I don't entirely support Go's decision to stay off the air, I can still appreciate a parallel between what's happening here to what actually happened to a certain radio station in Lanarkshire.
Clan FM/L107 was, rather unfortunately, broadcasting to the worst half of Lanarkshire. The poor paupers live predominantly to the North of the county, also known as Buckfast Alley (for good reason), where you have housing estates like Forgewood, Viewpark, some notorious places within Wishaw, Airdrie, Coatbridge and so on. Meanwhile the very affluent people of Lanarkshire are predominantly living in places like Bothwell, Uddingston and more especially the larger area that stretches all the way from the South of Larkhall to the boundaries of Dumfries & Galloway and the Borders. Its where the big money was - but the signal didn't get to.
No worries Arthur. I just take issue a bit with the idea that somehow where you live and how much you earn makes you less attractive to a local radio station because I like to think things have moved on and communities have more of a mix now rather than strictly divided 'affluent' and poverty stricken areas. But no worries..
Expanding Colin's and Art's points, the thinking behind small local radio has often been that more deprived areas are more 'in need' of a local radio station, and that thinking came from the people who campaigned to set stations up as much as the regulators who granted these newer licences over the past 25 years, Sunny Govan exists as opposed to a 'Bonny Bearsden' say.
Hindsight being a wonderful thing, but Clan FM DID put together plans on paper to effectively serve that poorer market. They said they could do it and the Radio Authority chose them to do it.
Community stations make this work far better because it's mostly volunteers but also crucially because by operating in more deprived areas it is far easier to access funding pots for engaging with target client groups. The fact it is a radio station is neither here nor there. It could just as easily be a sewing club.
Rising rental costs and house prices have in a sense been a great leveller in Glasgow, and also East End regeneration mean Arthur's parody of the peoples is just that but a crucial consideration for a commercial station is 'the money in that market', in other words the type of businesses that operate there and their potential advertising spends..
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