Ric Blaxill Awarded Radio Academy Fellowship

PPL Wrecking Ball Cabaret, Media City, Salford

Music Content Director For Planet Rock, Kerrang! Radio and heat radio Ric Blaxill, has been awarded the Radio Academy Fellowship, the highest honour in our industry

Our very own Group Managing Director of Radio Dee Ford was there to present him with this incredible achievement last night at The Radio Academy Festival 2014 in Salford.  Dee’s speech covered Ric’s career and contribution to the industry with some excerpts on the man himself below.

“Ric has worked for BBC Radio and BBC TV, as well as Commercial radio and television, and in the record industry itself. Music is in his DNA and he continues to go that extra mile for everyone he works with from his programming teams, major artists and new talent to music executives, advertisers and indeed the Radio Academy, where he willingly and tirelessly delivers time after time.

Whether Ric is producing sessions, chairing judging panels, galvanising celebrity support, advising on music artists, he is always there.

Ric instinctively knows his music. When he was a fresh faced producer on Radio 1 in 1989, he immediately knew that heavy metal icons Iron Maiden had a hit in “Bring your daughter to the slaughter”.  Now all he had to do was to persuade the powers that be to make that particular song single of the week on Simon Mayo’s Breakfast show.  He did just that and sure enough, the track became Iron Maiden’s first ever UK number 1 single.

While he was working as executive producer on Top of the Pops, he was flown over to Berlin to have a private audience with Michael Jackson to try and talk him round to appearing live on the show.  He knew he had to come up with a conversation opener so as an ardent Gunners fan he had an Arsenal shirt made with Jacko’s name on it, and gave it to Michael which made for an easier and friendly conversation.

At Top of the Pops, Ric was the only one trusted to talk to Madonna (known to be a bit tricksy), about the rough edit of her comeback show and first live appearance for 10 years.

He didn’t just produce Top of the Pops he PLAYED on it… as stand-in guitarist for the Wildhearts…on the song ‘I Wanna Go Where the People Go’.

So with a career spanning Radio 1, Capital, 6 Music, Top Of The Pops, SM:TV, Q, Heat, Kerrang! Radio and Planet Rock his influence and legacy continues to live on.”

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The Radio Festival 2014: Absolute Radio & RCS Win TechCon, While In-Car DAB Scores Record

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Top news from the Radio Festival as Absolute Radio and RCS have won the TechCon Technical Excellence Award sponsored by Arqiva, for their outstanding work on the informally named ‘Project Banana’

The Judges said

The winning entry was unanimously chosen by the judges as the trail blazing winner.It combines both technical innovation and flawless execution. It has dramatically enhanced the listener’s experience and addresses both commercial and creative angles.

The latest in innovative thinking from the station enables listeners of Absolute Radio the ability to choose between different playlists at Breakfast. The award-winning Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show continues to be broadcast across the network of seven Absolute Radio stations, but in a world-first his audience are now able to choose the music they hear between the show’s live links, features and news bulletins.

Listeners to Absolute Radio 60s can hear songs from the likes of The Beatles, Stones and Motown; whilst those tuned to Absolute Radio 70s hear classics including Bowie, Queen and ABBA; and listeners to the UK’s #1 digital commercial station Absolute 80s can enjoy Prince, Pet Shop Boys and Madonna. The same is true if you tune to Absolute Radio 90s, where amongst Christian’s live chat and entertainment you can hear songs from Blur and Oasis; or Amy Winehouse and Coldplay on Absolute Radio 00s; Led Zep and AC/DC on Absolute Classic Rock; or everything from The Beatles to Arctic Monkeys on the main Absolute Radio station.

This is the first time that listeners to a live radio programme can choose the music to suit their tastes, whilst enjoying and interacting with the show’s entertaining speech content. The pioneering move follows months of development work by the One Golden Square team and developers at RCS, responsible for the station’s GSelector music scheduling software.

Meanwhile at the Radio Festival, Digital Radio UK have revealed a new record amount of cars have been fitted with digital radio. Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy announced that as of September 58% of all new cars registered came with digital radio (CAP/SMMT),

Almost 250,000 cars were registered in September 2014 with digital radio as standard, up nearly 50% on the previous September. Ed also confirmed that BBC coverage for its national stations on DAB digital radio was now 95%, and that this programme of work would be completed before the end of 2015.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK went on to explain that the proportion of new cars with digital radio has grown from 0% to almost 60% in 4 years and over 1.25 million new cars with digital radio were sold in the last year, according to CAP/SMMT. During 2014 the sales volume of in car DAB radios  has now overtaken domestic digital radio sales for the first time, and overall DAB digital radio sales (car + domestic) are now up 18% year to date (GfK + CAP/SMMT).

According to radio industry audit company RAJAR, the car is one of the favourite places to listen to the radio, and 61% of all radio listeners listen in the car (RAJAR Q2 2014) and overall 22% of radio listening takes place in car.

The fitting of digital radio in cars as standard is part of a transformation of in-car information and entertainment technology.

Keep up to date with The Radio Festival online here and @RadioAcademy on Twitter #RadFest2014

Absolute Radio and RCS Nominated for TechCon Technical Excellence Award for ‘Project Banana’

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For many years, TechCon has celebrated all the technological developments in the radio industry at its annual conference held as part of the Radio Festival. This year sees the return of the award which celebrates the people who drive these developments – the TechCon Technical Excellence Award, sponsored by Arqiva. Absolute Radio and RCS have been recognised for their outstanding work as they pick up a nomination in the category for the informally named ‘Project Banana’

The latest in innovative thinking from the station enables listeners of Absolute Radio the ability to choose between different playlists at Breakfast. The award-winning Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show continues to be broadcast across the network of seven Absolute Radio stations, but in a world-first his audience are now able to choose the music they hear between the show’s live links, features and news bulletins.

Listeners to Absolute Radio 60s can hear songs from the likes of The Beatles, Stones and Motown; whilst those tuned to Absolute Radio 70s hear classics including Bowie, Queen and ABBA; and listeners to the UK’s #1 digital commercial station Absolute 80s can enjoy Prince, Pet Shop Boys and Madonna. The same is true if you tune to Absolute Radio 90s, where amongst Christian’s live chat and entertainment you can hear songs from Blur and Oasis; or Amy Winehouse and Coldplay on Absolute Radio 00s; Led Zep and AC/DC on Absolute Classic Rock; or everything from The Beatles to Arctic Monkeys on the main Absolute Radio station.

This is the first time that listeners to a live radio programme can choose the music to suit their tastes, whilst enjoying and interacting with the show’s entertaining speech content. The pioneering move follows months of development work by the One Golden Square team and developers at RCS, responsible for the station’s GSelector music scheduling software.

The team have been busy filming a 3 minute video to present their entry which will be shown at TechCon 2014 on 13th October 2014, where the winner will be announced at the end of the day.

For more click here

Bauer Media Unveils Focused Commercial Radio Offering

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-         New strategy centres on key national brands: Magic, KISS and Absolute Radio

-         Plus new launches  with  an extended ‘Place’ local portfolio

 

Bauer Media UK has revealed an ambitious new radio offering which will see the influential multi-platform media company focus on audience growth through three key national brands and an expanded local portfolio.

From January 2015 it sets out to significantly strengthen its position as the UK’s digital commercial radio leader, and to accelerate its audience growth both nationally and locally through brands offering complementary and commercially valuable scaled audiences.

  • Bauer Radio is leading the commercial radio industry in digital, with over 50% of its listening through digital devices.
  • There are 3 key brands at the centre of the national radio growth strategy; Magic, KISS and Absolute Radio.
  • The local audience growth plan will be accelerated through the launch of two new local services in each major city to complement the highly demanded ‘Place’ stations.

Focusing on clearly differentiated and complementary audiences will not only drive strong audience growth but will also offer advertisers a coherent, simplified and scaled national and local brand proposition.

Magic, KISS and Absolute Radio offer clearly differentiated and complementary national audiences. They will be complemented by thriving fellow national brands heat radio, Planet Rock, and Kerrang! as part of Bauer’s multimedia strategy with a focus on entertainment-loving and rock-seeking millennials respectively.

Magic will launch as a national service on DAB Digital Radio in January 2015. It is already loved by 1.9m Londoners, and for the first time it will reach new audiences with its unique “good-mood” music proposition.

The iconic youth brand KISS will see its brand extension KISSTORY, the best mix of old skool and anthems, launch onto DAB Digital radio across several cities across the UK including London and Birmingham. The station has already smashed through the 1 million listener barrier as a streaming service in just one year from launch. Fellow KISS brand extension KISS FRESH, which offers non-stop new music and beats, will also be available for the first time on DAB in London.

Absolute Radio is set to be grown under Bauer’s ownership, with a marketing campaign launched this week focused on the brand’s “Stand-up at Breakfast” proposition.

In Bauer’s local radio markets the ‘Place’  portfolio will be enhanced by two new brand extensions in each city. The portfolio will continue to broadcast brilliant local content with “Your Music, Your Life” brand positioning. The new services – derivatives of the main brand – will be launched to serve the needs a wider spectrum of listeners in each area.

For example in Liverpool, “Place 1” – Radio City on FM – will be extended with  “Place 2” (eg Radio City 2 on AM) which will expand the appeal to an older, focused 45-64 year old audience,  and “Place 3” (eg Radio City 3 on DAB) will offer an entry point offering current hits to a younger 15-25 demographic – further strengthening our digital capabilities. Both extensions are aimed at boosting local audiences and will offer a simplified proposition to consumers and advertisers alike.

Commenting on the new strategy, Dee Ford, Group Managing Director said:

This strategy marks a new era for Bauer Media’s radio brands.  Our aim is to accelerate our significant lead in digital listening, growing our audiences both nationally and locally whilst making it easy for customers to access those scaled valuable audiences. Significant investment in content, talent, marketing and platforms is underpinned with the energy and drive of the Bauer Radio team

Bauer Media also recently heralded further ambitions in digital radio by announcing its involvement in a consortium with Arqiva and UTV Media. The groups will collectively bid to operate a second national DAB multiplex licence in the United Kingdom, known as D2. This licence would offer an exciting opportunity for the commercial radio industry to further extend its reach and services, and underpin digital listening growth in the UK.

All changes to the Bauer Media Radio Portfolio take effect in January 2015.

Read what Campaign are saying here

Planet Rock brings ‘Planet RockStock’ festival to South Wales

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Planet Rock is set to stage its second instalment of ‘Planet RockStock’ as the radio station’s weekend festival of live music and entertainment prepares to embark on South Wales from 5-8th December. The weekend will be hosted by Planet Rock presenters Paul Anthony, Wyatt Wendels and Darren Redick who will introduce performances from over 25 bands across 3 days.

The Treatment, Gun, Motorhead’s Phil Campbell’s All-stars, Joanne Shaw Taylor and California Breed will take centre stage on the Friday, followed by Tax The Heat, The Graveltones, The Cadillac  Three, Joe Elliott’s Down ‘n’ Outz, Michael Schenker on the Saturday. Voodoo Six, Vandenberg Moonkings, The Answer and Magnum will play Sunday with a host of new bands featuring across the weekend from a second stage.

The festival follows on from its successful debut in Great Yarmouth last year as Planet Rock, the station ‘Where Rock Lives’, continues to build on its live music strategy with Planet Rock Stock.

Planet RockStock will take place at Trecco Bay, Porthcawl, Wales from 5 – 8th Dec 2014.

Weekend tickets are available with or without accommodation. Visit www.planetrock.com  for more and for and other ticketing queries email rockstock@planetrock.com

Read what Event Magazine are saying about us here.