When local radio is, local

By Art Grainger
Posted 2 March 2015, 4.30am est

A hot topic of discussion in Aberdeen right now is the proposed architectural development in the city centre, which would see some of its green space taken over by a building that would make Prince Charles' ears flap with rage (if the images made public are anything to go by).

So, Aberdeen's truly local radio station is being live and local and dealing with the local subject by going outside of its main format for a bit. It is having a live debate in the studio for an hour on this very subject, during a workday as well. From 6PM, the station is putting its playlist to rest and putting out an hour of speech on what is probably one of the most controversial issues in the city just now.

Meanwhile, two of the other stations in the city, Northsound 1 & 2, who should have been all over this, continue to be mostly networked from Glasgow (or England), playing tunes. There was a time when Northsound would so such things as Original is doing but not these days.

Northsound has lost quite a lot of listeners, especially in the past 2 years. Last year Northsound 2 lost almost half of its audience in just 12 months. Northsound 1's reach has dropped from 41% to 37% in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, Original 106 has seen its reach jump from 20% to 25% in the same period, despite being a specialist service with a distinct musical difference between it and Northsound 2 and more especially Northsound 1.

Of course, holding such debates would cost time and money. It would cost a large group like Bauer, who own radio stations, TV stations and magazines across the planet, a similar amount of money to what it would be costing the small, independently owned Scottish group who run Original 106.

Meanwhile, on listening to Original 106 this morning, I heard local news through the night and a (new) breakfast show host receiving quite a lot of text messages for the various features that he was doing, making his show sound quite busy and encouraging plenty of interaction with his listeners. Indeed, more than every second link consisted of a mention of at least one listener (often it was a few) responding to some of the things he was putting out on air. It's almost like a golden age that has quite gone away in that part of the world.

In (slight) fairness to Northsound, the 2 station is part of the Greatest Hits network, which also hosts Scotland's Talk-In on Sunday mornings, so the subject does get skimmed over by the presenter, with news packages on the subject and occasionally calls from people who feel inclined to speak about it. However, this is broadcast to most of Scotland, so it won't resonate as much with listeners beyond the Aberdeen area. If it was discussed solely on Northsound though, I'm sure the listener participation would have been fairly high. Northsound 2 does opt-out of the network for local football coverage.


4 years, 8 months ago

Well, not only did the story about the proposed development get on the national news program Reporting Scotland, Original 106 ended up with a bit of free advertising. As part of the news package, it showed footage of Original 106 hosting the debate (complete with a jingle and branding splattered throughout the studio, leaving the viewer in absolutely no doubt what the station was called).

4 years, 7 months ago

Nice to see local radio still in action somewhere.

4 years, 3 months ago

In York for a couple of weeks and I have brought my DAB radio with me. North Yorkshire Ouses - sorry, oozes local radio - still. I've been especially impressed with Stray fm's coverage of the fire in Wetherby, which was quite immediate.

4 years, 3 months ago

I've been especially impressed with Stray fm's coverage of the fire in Wetherby, which was quite immediate.

Where UKRD lack in decent programming, their news service is excellent.

4 years, 3 months ago

Indeed Martin UKRD are very good at news worked with Mike Powell one of the founders(now at RCS in the States) on a couple of projects.

4 years, 3 months ago

I've also enjoyed their podcast/dab exclusive speech shows, which I believe is not a commitment they need to make.

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