If your AC-oriented station wants to highlight music from the eighties, the customizable syndicated Kim Wilde 80s Show can be a good option for your format.
The more competitive your radio market is, the more important your brand image (in a diary world) or on-air product (in a PPM world) becomes. If your audience loves the 80s, you can use The Kim Wilde 80s Show to add credibility and value to your music positioning and talent lineup. We spoke with co-creator (and radio consultant) Francis Currie.
“We see great scores for 80s music”
Know your (desired) audience
“If you want to cut through the clutter of increasing listener choice, clear images are essential to help you stand out and make an impression”, he says. “If your station is not on a potential listener’s consideration set, they simply won’t ever choose it.” Currie finds it hard to say which images are key for a mass-appeal format such as Adult Contemporary, as every radio station and market is unique. “When we do strategic research, we don’t start with the format; we start with the target demographic. First we try to understand what drives our core audience’s listening decisions, for both our client’s station and its key competitors. Then we can see which images are important in the positioning game.”
In a time when people can find music in so many places, would you say that a radio station’s music positioning still makes a difference?
“The ubiquity of music makes a station’s music positioning critical. Listeners are living busier and busier lives. They really don’t have much headspace for radio, so it’s important to keep your positioning very simple and very clear.”
Keep testing 80s hits
It’s interesting that in music research, especially for AC audiences, 80s songs are still testing so well. How do you explain that?
“The continuing popularity of hits from this decade is remarkable. Even among listeners who are actually too young to know the songs from the first time around, we see great scores, probably because it was a varied and creative period for music.” As an international radio consultant he’s learned that 80s are a great positioning tool, in particular for Adult Contemporary. “I believe that AC stations should not be bland. A way to stand out from the crowd is to own the eighties music image.”
“A strong core of great-testing,
big international hits”
Consider syndicated radio programming
The Kim Wilde 80s Show is a new syndicated radio show, developed by Francis Currie Consulting and UK radio producer & syndicator Blue Revolution. They tried to include several things in one radio format solution:
- The enduring power of 80s music and its importance to listeners and stations
- The great impact of 80s icons such as Kim Wilde to drive a powerful image
- The limited access to stars for most small- to medium market stations
“Kim Wilde is both a real 80s icon and a contemporary music artist. She sold over 30 million records so far during a career that has made her famous around the world.”
According to Currie, the show is designed to fit a wide variety of stations and formats in the broad AC and Oldies area, and to have an equal appeal with both men and women. “Typically it fits best on a station that is targeting 25+ or 30+ and wants to build or defend an 80s music image”, he adds. “As the show is often scheduled as an image show – just outside peak time – it can really add definition to your station identity.”
Combine power & spice songs
Does the music mix include a wide variety of 80s music, including some forgotten songs, or mainly a focused playlist of top-testing hits?
“One of the great things about eighties music is the wide variety of styles that were popular back then. Our music director uses worldwide data to create a varied playlist that is indeed built around a strong core of great-testing, big international hits, and he likes to flavor the playlist with some fantastic spice songs that give it more depth and variety.”
“Compared to many other syndicated radio programs,
this one is extensively customized”
Add local language flavor
How do you make the spoken content interesting and understandable for a diverse, international, and sometimes non-English audience?
“As an experienced radio presenter, Kim knows how to be simultaneously authentic as a personality and flexible as a broadcaster. Her talks are quite brief, typically over intros and outros, with a simple sentence structure and vocabulary. She has traveled so extensively as a pop star that she’s quite confident about saying phrases in languages other than English, so we are including those in some of the customized links for international clients that air The Kim Wilde 80s Show.”
How do you make the show feel like being a part of every station?
“Compared to many other syndicated radio programs, this one is extensively customized. Kim personally identifies every station up to ten times each hour, and if we have a pronunciation guide there might be local language content as well. As an option, you can add your own jingles or IDs up to eight times an hour, and we can even customize the visual logo.”
Determine your own schedule
The weekly show is delivered as four individual hours that can be programmed in many ways. “You can run each hour as a stand-alone show or as part of a longer sequence”, Francis Currie clarifies. “So you could schedule one hour a day from Monday to Thursday, or two hours on both Saturday and Sunday, just to give an example.” To facilitate news and commercial breaks, the show is being produced in 28-minute segments, with the last link of each hour delivered as a separate audio file for back timing purposes. “If a client needs a different configuration, we can rebuild the show to suit.”
“When they are celebrities for the right reasons,
that is definitely a big bonus”
Get charisma and know-how
Several stations are hiring celebrities and TV stars as presenters. What makes Kim Wilde unique in your opinion?
“Kim is not only a genuine music icon, but also an experienced radio presenter. She has a market-leading show on Magic 105.4 in London for over five years now, which gives her both authentic music credibility and professional radio skills. Kim also happens to have a very charismatic personality, and a wonderful voice for the radio.”[audio:http://www.radioiloveit.com/wp-content/uploads/kim-wilde-secret-songs-magic-105-4-london-2014-01.mp3|titles=Aircheck of Kim Wilde on Magic 105.4 London in 2014] [audio:http://www.radioiloveit.com/wp-content/uploads/kim-wilde-secret-songs-magic-105-4-london-2014-02.mp3|titles=Aircheck of Kim Wilde on Magic 105.4 London in 2014]
What do you think of this celebs-behind-the-mic radio trend in general?
“I’m not a fan of putting people on air just because they are famous. However, I always encourage to put good broadcasters on the radio. When they are celebrities for the right reasons, that is definitely a big bonus. Rick Astley on Magic 105.4 and Emma Bunton on Heart 106.2 are doing good work as well. Emma started at Heart when I was the PD there, so perhaps I am a bit biased!”
Hire authentic & open storytellers
Currie thinks that nothing beats real radio experience, but that you get a long way if you have authentic charisma, storytelling abilities, and a willingness to engage with an audience. “All of us have been new to radio one time, so there’s nothing wrong with being a beginner. The difference for inexperienced famous people is that they can sometimes be in the spotlight before their performances have developed.”
“Bring the show to life”
Expect positive audience feedback
The Kim Wilde 80s Show now also runs in Germany, on AC RPR1. in Rhineland-Palatinate and on Oldies-based AC station Berliner Rundfunk 91.4 in the nation’s capital. “We really love the show”, RPR1. music director Patrick Morgan (photo below) states. “It sounds good, and the production is very strong. The music is a great mix of big 80s hits – you basically know the words to every song.” Morgan also says to get a good vibe from the audience: “We receive a lot of great responses from listeners since the show went on air. It’s a great strategic tool to amplify the 80s image.”
Affiliate stations receive materials to market and promote The Kim Wilde 80s Show. “In addition to special audio content for the on-air launch, we provide high-quality pictures and written content for radio station websites”, Francis Currie promises. He speaks of a 3D concept: on the air, on digital and on the ground. “There is also a PR opportunity to fly in Kim to launch the show in person, subject to her very busy schedule.”
Organize live concert performances
“Kim is very professional, and super easy to work with. She did a great job with the press and staff”, Patrick Morgan recalls from Wilde’s visit to RPR1. for a morning show interview and unplugged music showcase. She sang her most popular songs, supported by her brother Ricky Wilde on acoustic guitar. “Everyone was amazed by her enthusiasm and charm. The launch generated a lot of free publicity for us.” Currie adds that for stations that do major concerts and events, Kim Wilde and her band are available for live performances, to be booked separately with her management. “It’s a great chance to bring the show to life, and to show the audience how much a part of the station Kim really is.”
The show is now available on a market-exclusive basis through the site of The Kim Wilde 80s Show.