Bauer Media expands Hits Radio Brand Network
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Bauer Media expands Hits Radio Brand Network
Bauer Media expands Hits Radio Brand Network

Bauer Media has today announced that the stations it acquired in 2019, Lincs FM, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless local stations, will join the Hits Radio Brand Network, providing the highest listening hours of any commercial radio brand.

Access to DAB digital radio will secure the multi-platform digital future of these stations as the radio market shifts further towards digital platforms, whilst the creation of a national network will deliver a mix of local content alongside content from nationally known presenters, as well as providing significant scale for advertisers.

Dee Ford CBE, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Radio, comments:

“Audiences love and trust radio. Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world. This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”

Hits Radio Brand Network comprises Hits Radio - delivering a music proposition which is a soundtrack of the biggest hits and nostalgic throwback tracks and local breakfast shows; Greatest Hits Radio - offering classic hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s alongside regional drive time and networked breakfast shows.; and Country Hits Radio - playing the very best country pop music.

Most of the stations which joined Bauer following the acquisitions of Lincs FM, Celador Radio, UKRD and Wireless will rebrand to Greatest Hits Radio from September, and a small number will retain their local branding.

In line with today’s news, Bauer Media has entered into a licensing agreement with Nation Broadcasting that will see three of their radio stations; Sam FM South Coast, KCFM and The Breeze – South Coast, also join the Hits Radio Network. They will continue to broadcast local shows while Bauer will provide additional network programming. In addition, it is envisaged that Bauer will sell national and regional advertising for all stations formally represented by FRS from June 1st.

Nominations announced for British Podcast Awards 2020
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Nominations announced for British Podcast Awards 2020
Nominations announced for British Podcast Awards 2020

The nominations for the 2020 British Podcast Awards powered by Acast, which highlight the best podcasts of the year made for the UK, were announced in a live stream yesterday (Tuesday 19 May).

There are 24 categories recognising the incredible breadth and variety of podcast content and formats available, including Best Wellbeing, Best Business, Best True Crime, Best Fiction, and Best Interview Podcast.

Nominations for the Best Radio Podcast include Ellie and Anna Have Issues for Global; The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X for Global; Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review Somethin’ Else for BBC Radio 5 Live;  The Santa Daily, Devaweb for Fun Kids; Tunnel 29, Helena Merriman for BBC Radio 4; and The Skewer, Jon Holmes for BBC Radio 4.

All categories are decided by a jury of independent judges, chaired this year by last year’s big winner, George The Poet, representing podcast creators, publishers, press, listeners and audio industry execs. Judges in each category will be looking for a unique and compelling listen that excels in its chosen genre.

Entries are now also open for the public vote category, the Listeners’ Choice Award.

The nominees were announced with a special livestream on the British Podcast Awards website, hosted by Rhianna Dhillon, who was joined by a host of well-known names including George The Poet, Greg James, Annie Mac, Katherine Ryan, Gyles Brandreth, Angela Scanlon, and James O'Brien.

Other nominees include Wireless Studios, Jazz FM, Union JACK Radio and BBC Asian Network. See the full list of nominees here.

The winners will be announced in a livestream Awards on the evening of Saturday 11 July.

Digital radio boosted by record online listening
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Digital radio boosted by record online listening
Digital radio boosted by record online listening

Digital listening share has increased to a new record of 58.6% up from 56.4% in Q1 2019 - representing a 4% growth in share percentage - boosted by the rapid growth of listening online via smart speakers, according to RAJAR Q1 2020 data released today.

Digital reach is also at a new record with 36.9 million adults, or 67% of the population, tuning in via a digital platform, up from 36.3m in Q1 2019.

Listening via online and apps now accounts for 14% of all listening and nearly a quarter (24%) of digital listening, having grown by 25.4 million hours (or by 23%) year on year. With 32% of adults now claiming to own a smart speaker, online listening in home was for the fourth consecutive quarter the fastest growing platform and location, increasing by 21 million hours (or by 26.6%) year on year.

Listening via DAB now accounts for 40% of all listening and 69% of digital listening, while listening via DTV now accounts for 4% of all listening and 8% of digital listening.

With new national commercial digital stations having launched in the last quarter of 2019, digital listening to national commercial stations grew by a further 13.9 million hours or 8.2% year on year, while digital listening in car maintained the new record set in the last quarter at 44.5% of all in car listening and growing by 5.5million hours or 5.5% year on year.

The most popular digital-only station is BBC 6 Music which grew by 1.6% to hit a new record of 2.556 million listeners, followed by KISSTORY, the most popular commercial digital-only station, which grew by 12% to reach 2.066 million listeners. BBC Radio 4 Extra is the third most popular with 1.983 million listeners.

Other stations showing strong growth include Virgin Radio, which increased by 15% from Q1 2019 to reach 1.496 million listeners; Radio X which grew by 7.3% to reach 1.651 million listeners; LBC which grew by 8.6% to 2.444 million listeners; talkSPORT2 which grew by 15% to reach 489,000 listeners; talkRADIO which grew by 25% to reach 424,000 listeners; and Magic Soul which grew by 37% to reach 393,000 listeners. LBC News launched with 470,000 digital listeners (of 657,000 total listeners). Scala Radio, which launched in March 2019, grew by 20% compared to its first reading in Q2 2109 to reach a new record of 310,000 listeners.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said:

“After the record digital listening growth in Q4 2019, what we have seen in the first quarter in 2020 is a shift towards listening online and via apps which now accounts for a record 14% of all radio listening. This is being prompted by the growth in use of smart speakers, which are in almost a third of homes, and record levels of online growth for commercial radio. This is an important long term trend and one we expect to see amplified during lockdown when there will be more listening in home and less on the move.”


Union JACK puts athletes and comedians back in the spotlight with new series
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Union JACK puts athletes and comedians back in the spotlight with new series
Union JACK puts athletes and comedians back in the spotlight with new series

Union JACK radio have announced the launch of a new 10-part comedy interview series, The Show Must Go On, starring some of the country’s greatest athletes and sports stars, and co-hosted by some of the nation’s favourite comedians.

With all live sport and comedy currently cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Show Must Go On will help plug the gap, putting the spotlight back on the athletes and performers who should have been lighting up screens and stages this summer.

The Show Must Go On launches weekly at 11am from this Saturday 2 May, with the first episode featuring Team GB Sailor Luke Patience alongside comedian Justin Moorhouse. All shows will also air on sister national station, JACK Radio, and with each interview available to download as a podcast immediately after.

Guests will share their own experiences of life on lockdown, their coping strategies during isolation, and how they’ve been keeping themselves entertained; with input from the comedian co-host ensuring that the finished product is lighthearted, witty and entertaining.

Guests confirmed to date include Olympic medalist and Team GB Sailor Luke Patience; Olympic Sprinter Asha Philip; Paralympic athletes Kadeena Cox and Sam Ruddock; Team GB Footballers Leah Williamson and Lucy Bronze; and Racing Driver Jamie Chadwick.

All interviews will be co-hosted by a comedian, with confirmed names including Justin Moorhouse, Patrick Monahan, Zoe Lyons, Paul Sinha and Athena Kugblenu, alongside renowned broadcaster and presenter, Lynsey Hooper.

The Show Must Go On, which was conceived and is produced by Offside Productions Media, creator of award-winning football podcast The Offside Rule, has been supported by the Audio Content Fund and recorded remotely.

Lynsey Hooper of Offside Media Productions, said:

“We are so grateful to the Audio Content Fund for supporting this project, and to Union JACK Radio and JACK Radio for agreeing to broadcast it. 2020 has seen live sport and comedy fall off a cliff, and we wanted to create a reason to put the stars of these industries back in the spotlight and to get to know the real people behind the headlines. The combination of sport and comedy has resulted in a programme that is informative, funny and a really good listen, while the ‘Home Decathlon Challenge’ provides some fun that the audience at home can join in with too.”

Giles Gear, Programme Manager of Union JACK radio, added: 

“The combination of comedy and sport has resulted in a concept that has a natural home on Union JACK radio, which prides itself on delivering the very best of British comedy. We’re delighted to be partnering with Offside Media Productions to bring fans of sport and comedy a really unique listen.”

The Show Must Go On can be heard on Union JACK radio and JACK Radio every Saturday at 11am, and will be available as a podcast immediately afterwards.

Listen on DAB, online, or via the Union JACK or JACK Radio App.

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