Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Absolute Radio - A Quick Introduction

Seeing as I've been asked to look at Absolute Radio for a recent assignment, it's worth writing up a small introduction about the station and what is does.

Firstly, I've never listened to Absolute Radio before, but judging from the list of presenters (located here) it looks like a nice, light-hearted show. The chief executive seems to agree with me too, describing the station as a 'brand that is unapologetic, cheeky and infectious'. Frank Skinner, Iain Lee and Christian O'Connell (who, from what I gather, is essentially the frontman) seem like a funny bunch. I'm not too keen on Ian Wright though, but that's probably not very relevant, is it? The station produces a podcast, which suits me just fine as I'm quite a fan of various podcasts.

Absolute Radio was officially launched in August 2008. The station is based in London and is one of the UK's three independent stations. An interesting article (located here) explains how Absolute Radio was once referred to as 'Virgin Radio'. Back when the change was announced, Virgin Radio listeners were pretty anxious following news that the company had been handed over to a new owner. The 'Times of India Group' made some changes to Virgin's format, and thus Radio Absolute was born.

An article produced by the Telegraph last month (located here) goes on to explain how the station is actually losing money. Radio Absolute's revenues in 2009 went from £22m to just £14.8m. The article blames the 'advertising downturn' for the fall in revenue, which would make sense as a poor advertising campaign is hardly going to draw in a large amount of listeners. The fact that not everybody was made aware of the name change may also have affected listener figures to some extent. Thanks to the 'Time of India' and its strong financial backing, the station currently has no debt.

Clearly, Radio Absolute aims to target younger, 'trendier' audiences through its use of other digital services. For example, iPhone applications and podcasts (also mentioned earlier) are in the works and the website in association with the station boasts an impressive variety of features and social networking integration. There is also a huge variety in the music played by the station, with 'Absolute 80s' being particularly popular, reaching a peak audience of around 380,000.

I'll be posting further notes and articles on Radio Absolute over the coming days.


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