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tv   The Media Show  BBC News  November 9, 2021 1:30am-2:00am GMT

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hour straight after top of the hour straight after this programme. hello. there've been some nervy crossed fingers in the media world. after a long 18 months, we've finally found out who's listening to what on the radio. so, what did we learn from the first audience data since the pandemic began? with many of us working from home, have breakfast shows and drive—time favourites taken a hit? and how has broadcast radio done against the giants of silicon valley with their well—funded podcasts? well, let me introduce you to today's guests. dick chief is content officer atjack media. dick stone is content officer atjack media. dick, for audiences that don't know, what is jack media? jack media group is one of the very few remaining completely independent radio groups in the uk. so we operate six radio stations. three national radio stations — unionjack, unionjack dance and unionjack rock.
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both of which, those latter two, we launched during the pandemic. and then three stations operating the oxfordshire area. so, jack fm which was the first jack station in the uk, a format which originally started in north america, jack 2 hits and jack 3 & chill. so, those are the six services that we operate. at the beginning of the pandemic and there were only four and now there's six. so you've done well, you've and expanded and we'll come to chat with you a bit later on about that. but also joining us today is matt, creative director at folder media. matt, you advise audio companies on their strategy. has this last week been a bit like a level results for you? absolutely. it's always like that when any figures come in. everybody wants tojudge themselves against their peers as well as seeing how they get on. we haven't had any rajar data — this is the audience data in the uk — for 18 months, because of the way it's collected and the pandemic got in the way of that.
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so there's lot of stations that have been waiting for these numbers, especially some new lunches that we're definitely keen to work out if anybody was out there. also with us is miranda sawyer, radio critic at the observer. miranda, do you feel you have to review the programmes with the biggest audience? absolutely not, actually. laughter. it's a bit like there are some - programmes that are absolutely massive — the biggest podcast in the world isjoe rogan- and i feel absolutely no compunction- to review that at all. i'm much more interested in new and interesting, i and sometimes i go back to very long—established radio shows i to see how they're doing, perhaps they've got - a new presenter, but i think that especially . with long—standing| radio programmes, they kind of tick along i and if i was to go back and review them every week, everyone would just be like, i what's the point of that, really? i yeah, fair enough. ashley carman is senior reporter at the verge and lead writer at hot pod. so, ashley, there's no official audience data for podcasts,
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so how do you know what's doing well and what's not than? oh my gosh, on a show by show level, it is difficult. but this is the case for people who aren't just journalists, this is the case for advertisers, for brands, you're kind of going on the trust system a little bit. i don't want to bore everybody with all the technical things, but there are ways to do it on a technical side. but for us third parties, it's pretty hard. we're kind of relying on trust and then serving data as far as industrywide stats. starting at least with these all important radio results. matt deegan, creative directer at folder media, first of all, explain to us what exactly are the rajars? what they are are usually a quarterly snapshot of radio stations. so it tells you who's listening, what demographics, where people are listening, what they're listening on. so modern devices, fm radios, dab radios, or the internet.
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and it gives figures for every 15 minutes of pretty much every station in the uk. it's actually one of the biggest surveys in europe. they speak to around 20,000 to 25,000 people every quarter and ask them what they listen to. people keep a diary and that can be on their phone, on their computer, or if they really want to, they can write it in a book, and they're given a week to fill that in and that all goes into the pot and is measured that way. this time round, they've added some electronic measurements so there's a few thousand people who've got a special app on their phone that listens to audio so ideally it's listening to the same audio that the humans that have that phone in their pocket are also listening to. and so, they blend some of the data together to get a representation of what people are listening to across the country. but as you've just said, we haven't had any data for 18 months and that's been because of the pandemic and now that they've slightly
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changed methodology, is it really fair to compare these figures to pre—pandemic figures? yes, about 80% of the information still comes from the regular methodology that's always existed. i've had a big, deep dive into the data and what i would expect has come through and so it seems a pretty good like—for—like comparison to what went previously. dick stone from jack media, can you give a sense of how important these stats are to you as a business because presumably, it's not just about basking in the warm glow of doing very, very well? no, it isn't. as a commercial radio station, we live and breathe _ by the advertising that we can carry, and the audiences - that we can generate - and for small media operators like ourselves, it's also. useful and very powerful to demonstrate the incremental audience that we can add. - and there are a suite - of listeners who only listen to our services so if you want to get to them, you need -
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to come to our stations to talk to them. - or they will share i very little listening with some of the big national radio stations or some of - the other local radio stations. so it's really the lifeblood . of commercial radio, really. so it's very much - the be all and end all. as you say, it is the lifeblood. and there is a lot to unpack in the data. let's get a sense of who the big winners and losers were. miranda sawyer, radio critic at the observer, the pandemic saw a big shift to home working, lots of people very nervous about how that might have impacted breakfast radio. were they right to worry? yeah, i suppose so. during the pandemic actually, the bbc in particular moved shows so they were very aware of people working from home so breakfast shows that started earlier were shifted later, and in order to kind of work with that because nobody was commuting, and i think, as i'm sure matt will say, i read matt's
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analysis, as i read ashley's also, that what used to happen is we had a big peak at breakfast, we had a big peak at what's known as tea time and that's to do with driving and commuting and because people are working from home, and still pretty much working from home, that has kind of evened out with a slight, instead of it going like this, it's now going like this, — this is not working on radio, i have to saw. no, i was about to say, i can see your hands, but... it's like now a kind of mild, a small hill rather than like a suspension bridge and that's because people are switching on what they're listening to, whether it's radio or podcasts, really, and just letting that ride while they're going about their day. i was going to ask you, what about daytime listening? because people stuck at home much more over the last year, are they craving the company of the radio?
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at the beginning, everybody was incredibly worried about podcasts, actually, but radio did really well during the pandemic because people were stuck at home and the one thing that radio's really good at is a kind of community. you feel, you know, it was interesting being an audio reviewer at that time because all the other art forms kind of dropped off. and so suddenly, every time we reviewed anything, it was on the front page of the observer which is unusual for me. and, but what people wanted was a companionship and i do think that radio is really, really excellent at that. there's a lot of podcasts that can do that but don't do that throughout the day that the way a radio station can. it's still the most intimate form of communication, i guess. and also, if you have a favourite station, people just switch it on and they're quite happy to listen to the vibe of that station throughout the whole day. dick stone, chief content officer atjack media, do you recognise these listening habits? yeah, i think one of the things that is true is because of
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the time frame, as matt explained, a lot of the methodology involved in rajar and radio measurement so these radio results don't really reflect what happened during lockdown, for example, and for that, we might turn to our own streaming stats. so those are factual numbers — we could see how many devices are connected and how many people are listening and that shot up dramatically during the lockdown period. undoubtedly, there was a bit of a platform shift, so people not sitting in the car in the morning and listening to the radio in the car and instead listening on other platforms, smart speakers, etc. undoubtedly there was a bit of that going on but i think also, the pandemic and working from home rather than being, say, in an office environment where the radio station was chosen for you, you could choose your own radio station and maybe explore some radio stations
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that you might not have listened to before. so, i think there was a lot of that going on, but i absolutely agree with miranda. the thing that radio delivers more than anything is the ability to be topical, to be insightful with the day's events, etc, but also, it is that friend in the room but from a musical perspective, it's that curation of the output rather than what i'm listening to is driven by some algorithm. what about podcasts, though? ashley carman, did the likes of spotify and amazon audible, did they see their podcast stats go up during the pandemic? yes, in the us we get research from edison research, they release a study every year about podcast listening in the us, and this year they did see growth. so, we're seeing a ton of investments from these big tech platforms and i'd also
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note, on the radio side, you see acts like club house, or twitter spaces who are trying to disrupt radio, if you will, trying to capture that same listening experience. i'm not saying they're doing it well but they are trying. but there's a lot of investment and at least we're seeing it how did they do? they did pretty well. they went in with over 630,000 listeners a week and that is still perhaps small fry compared to something like radio [i with over 10—million listeners and has done very well for a long time. but for them, they weren't really sure what they'd get. they were very hopeful to get over 500,000, that was their aim and that's with they told their advertisers, so i think they are pleased with their first book.
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and it also shows a lot of opportunity for growth still. quite often, rajar is partly about confidence. it's confidence from your own team but also confidence from advertisers, people in your organisations who can suddenly look at your information and data and say that's a station that i want to back. can i say really quickly that i know of a — not jack, i must say — of a commercial group of stations that when the rajars comes out, the used to, pre—pandemic, gather everybody and tell people off if rajars were lower, so it definitely matters to commercial stations what they get. as dick stone was saying, it's the lifeblood and the be—all and end—all. miranda, you work for the observer, so that's a rival newspaper, but what have you made of times radio, i'm interested to know? it's clearly done pretty well in terms of listenership
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but in terms of identity, it's done quite well. it's got really strong presenters which is what you need. it's got presenters that are kind of familiar to the audience already and then because the times is obviously a great newspaper, it can promote — you know, it's had enormous lines across the top about times radio but it can pick up little, just little things in an interview perhaps that, say, happened in an afternoon you can then splash on that the next day. i noticed they did that with a bill bryson interview and it was that classic thing of a radio presenter getting a quote that actually wasn't news, it was already out there, but then the times can treat it as news because it's come out on the radio. so i think that the combination of the two works really well. they've some great presenters on there, i must say. well, news uk have also announced they're launching a tv station, talk tv, but, matt, how has talk radio performed? talk radio was up based on its figures previously. it probably maybe didn't see the growth that they perhaps hoped for.
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the interesting question about more right—wing—type media operations — we seen the gb news, what talk radio has done — all of those make lbc seem centrist in the past to have which of being a bit right wing. they are ofcom regulated so they'd say they are impartial. they would, and if you listen to it, you can make your own mind up. yes! i'm glad that there are radio stations catering to different audiences in all aspects. but also maybe does show that people do want something that isn't so fixed in its view. also, what it shows that it's hard to establish a new brand, especially when there's a lot of competition from others and to cut through audiences
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who are incredibly passionate about the radio stations they listen to — that can be a challenge for any new entrant and i'm sure that they'll be looking at the numbers and thinking what should they do next. what will be interesting is with talk tv, a decent chunk of talk radio, and i'd expect some of times radio as well being on there. they visualise their radio at the moment anyway and it looks good, it looks kind of tv like and maybe they'll find an audience in that place. a lot of radio growth has come from multi—platform success from visualising or watching spin—off services, and investing in web content and social media. so rather than just what comes out of the speaker, what comes through the screens becomes more and more important. ashley, i gatherfrom the new york times, they're ratcheting up their
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own audio offering. yeah, so it wasjust recentlyl announced that the new york times is working - on an audio—only app so kind of like their own podcast player where, l presumably, — they're going to distribute their shows, maybe - experiment with exclusives — who knows, they might. so really trying to bring - people into their ecosystem rather— than control over to spotify, apple, and all the other players _ matt, if we just go back to you, we've spoken about the winners but the people who radio do seem to be losing based on the radar data are younger listeners. why are they switching off in such huge numbers? historically, 15—24s, the younger demographic, they reduce their listening to radio, so this is reach, how many people listen to it each week. but it's not that much, actually — it's about 10% over the five years, which actually does better than facebook,
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which has lost 17% of young audiences over the past two or three years, so i think it's easy to jump to conclusions, but when you really dive into the data now, particularly for teenagers, 15—19, their reach is strong but it has dropped, but the key worry for the radio sector is the amount of radio listening that is dropped significantly from the audiences. it's dropped a0%. so, teenagers are radio's future listeners and so, if the industry wants to regain them, they probably need to think more about how they reach them with what they do already, but also creating services particularly for them. what we see with stations like kiss or radio 1 is capital radio at the youth end of the market. but that's quite broad. 15— to sa—year—olds live quite a different lifestyle and i think radio somewhat ignores teenagers and reflecting their world. at the same time, there's quite a lot of interesting media for that group — tiktok is hugely popular for that
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audience and they're spending 40, 50 minutes a day on tiktok because it speaks to them. it's people like them performing or creating content that they want to consume. so, the challenge for all media is to work out what that audience wants, and how do they create content that they like? radio doesn't have a god—given right to every demographic consume itjust because it's happened historically, and now it's got to work hard to re—engage with those audiences. like you say, these are big questions that would keep you up if you're running the a radio station. dick stone, you're big boss atjack radio, is this something that you worry about? yes, i think the interesting thing that matt was saying there and a question that goes through my mind is cause and effect, which could be going on there as well. undoubtedly, teenagers and usage of radio has been depressed but, equally, a lot of programming
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that is aimed towards teenagers is very short attention span stuff, instant gratification, and yet we know that demographic sample lots of podcasts and podcasts take more listening, more attention span. so if there a domain map, not taking a prohibit mat, that's interview you. do you think there's an element of, if you build it, they will come? you need to have something for them which they necessarily will do in the radio sector. also you need to market it well. historically, radio has been very lucky in it hasn't had to spend loads of money on brands on them because you have the radio dial that people stumble across in their cars and so the radio sector.
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especially around the youth brands, radio 1 and kiss. capital, capitalspends a lot of money on it. let's get back first. we have a clip ofjack radio that i would like to play. leaving work? stand up, pat your pockets, - grab your keys and say "right!" that way, everyone knows your intentions to leave the office. i follow these rules and you are on your way to a distinctly - british way of life. this is union jack. hear more home—grown comedy at unionjack. so that was a tiny clip of unionjack radio, and talking about capturing the teenage market with jack, you don't have djs for much of the day, and it's just music. but if i wanted music, i could just find it myself on a streaming platform, so why would i go to jack radio?
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you could say the same for many radio stations. from time immemorial, you could say if i wanted some music i could play it myself. not everyone wants to do that. what we do with union jack and unionjack dance and unionjack rock — with specific genres — is we focus on the best of british music. so unionjack is both pop and also rock, but solely british artists. and an important part of what we do is also the comedy. so that was an attempt at comedy that you just heard there. but we have writers that will write our liners and topical liners every day. we have comedians that work with us like josh berry whose podcast is up for a comedy award. and we work with numerous comedy clubs around the country. in fact, we run unionjack's comedy club at four comedy clubs across the uk
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everweek in order to promote stand—up comedy, just as everything is coming out of the back of the pandemic. and the reason for that isjack has always been a disruptive brand. the genesis of the jack brand in north america was in a world where there is very formulaic, formatted radio, the way to stand out against that is to do something differently and that is what jack is all about. i just want to bring ashley into the report here, because the irony is that the streaming platforms have been incredibly disruptive in one sense of traditional radio, but spotify, for example, is now pushing into speech content, aren't they? yeah, spotify is pushing into this type of contentj but as far- as radio, they also
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required an app to an app - called betty labs and rebranded it as green room. it is for live audio. and they are now launching a product car thing, - specifically designed to go in the car and give spotify| ownership of the car to take it away from radio time. - so not only are the big tech i companies pushing into audio, but they're also specifically i focusing on how they can take over some of that time of radio. - where maybe they lost people before. - why do spotify specifically want to be in podcasts? why go into that? spotify wants to get - into podcasts because every time you listen to music- on spotify, they actually have to pay the people, — but they cannot put ads in it. so they're playing forl you to listen to music. if you pay for spotify i and listen to a podcast, the're actually— double—dipping on revenues so they're making money off of you because you're - a subscriber but -
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spotify also put ads in their podcasts, despite - you being a paying subscriber. so if you're listening to a spotify show, i they're making money off ads and you're also paying them i as a subscriber. so it is kind - of win—win for them. but it is definitely. an investment point. miranda, a bit about podcasts, they've been this incredibly egalitarian format. the kit is cheap, they're easy to use, no big marketing operation costs, and pretty much anyone can make a hit podcasts. but surely, the problem is getting them heard. how can someone in their bedroom compete with the huge marketing budgets of big companies that can promote the content all over the place? yeah, it's a very different world. over the last two or three years, it's really changed. we've just been people talking about spotify and apple and all these big players, google, and what they really want to do is just take over your ears. so spotify doesn't mind if — obviously it does in terms of money but it doesn't matter if you're
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listening to music or a podcast that is just taking over your earphones. if you are a person who thinks they've had a great idea for a podcast, the main thing that is really difficult is getting the podcast heard because there still isn't quite, not yet, although these big companies are really pushing, there isn't a natural platform for everyone to go to. so if you wanted to listen to the radio, if you have a radio, you can, in ye olde terms, always flip the dial orjust in dab it's the same thing. there still isn't the platforming of the smaller podcasts — it's still really, really difficult for them. especially if you've got big players like literally president obama and bruce springsteen coming in. it's very hard for smaller podcasts to be heard, and i think it's part of myjob to elevate some of these tiny podcasts because for so long, there were so many great smaller podcasts that were made and they still exist, but not everyone will get to find out about them, and that's myjob, really. how do you find them?
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my dms are open on twitter. i'm quite approachable! i listen to people who have good taste and i scour around and sometimes ijust asked people on twitter, "i'm bored of my own tastes, what do you like?" social media is important in this way. you'll have to let us know who comes by your way after this. but thank you, that's all we've got time for. thanks to all my guests. the media show will be back same time next week. but for now, thank you for watching and goodbye.
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we have some pretty quiet weather to come across the uk in the next few days. but the end of the we could definitely offer is something rather more dramatic. for now though, it's about light winds and those winds coming in from the south—west or the west will bring some relatively mild air. this amber colour behind me showing air that's been pulled in quite a long way south across the atlantic indicating quite a warm feel to tuesday across parts of england and wales. you may have noticed some colder air to the far north of the uk. temperatures will struggle to get the double figures across northern most scotland with some squally showers here. elsewhere, we are looking at i think at the low to mid—teens, there will be some rain to the day for northern england and wales. but we should see brighter skies north of the front for much of scotland and northern ireland, and to the south across southern and eastern england. and this front is set to stick around through wednesday and thursday, slowly making its way south across the uk. turning things quite murky, i think, across southern
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and eastern england into the small hours of wednesday, but it will stay very mild here. that slightly colder air sneaks further south into scotland into the small hours of wednesday. we could see a patchy frost inside some of the sheltered glens to the north. here's our front on wednesday, still lurking to the south of the uk. it's looking much clearer further north. for scotland and northern ireland, there should be some sunshine, just the chance of a few scattered showers in the far north and west. some sunshine for northern england and wales and an improved picture on tuesday. whereas for southern and eastern counties of england, it will be much grayer, much gloomier and there's a chance some patchy rain on and off. and then for thursday, still the remnants of that weather front close to the south of the uk could mean some thicker cloud around here for a time and a little bit of rain. but actually for thursday, we are largely focusing on a ridge of high pressure and a lot of fine weather and light winds. i think potentially some rain getting into northern ireland
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by the end of the day, and the wind starting to kick up and here's why. this area of low pressure looks like it could deepen for the end of the week and come swinging our way from the atlantic. quite a bit of uncertainty as to when and where exactly on friday that low will move in, but do keep it in the back of your mind as the potential for strong winds on friday.
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