Username:  Password: 
Login with Social Media Follow BBCRadioForum on Twitter

Author Topic:  What makes local radio tick? It's more than just a box-ticking exercise!  (Read 28977 times)

Rita

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 503
    • View Profile
They haven't an Radio Merseyside Dennis.  The presenters actually give their email addresses out "on air", also how you can text or a telephone number you can 'phone.
If you have a DAB radio, the 'phone number appears on the screen from time to time and also  the numbers are "trailed" from time to time.
Radio Merseyside's success has been built on "interaction" and this has continued to be the case, even today.  That is one of the reasons it continues to be the most listened to radio station outside of London.

radiolad

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
    • View Profile
    • Email
I can only take into account the stations I have heard but I get the feeling that it may just be Stoke where these things are happening.

Dennis Marshall

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
    • Email
My thanks to you both, for your invaluable feedback. It is most regrettable that one section of the BBC's local radio portfolio now seems no longer capable of accepting feedback from their audience, having brought about a great deal of change (over approximately two years now) but never once offering their listeners the type of regular opportunities that Rita has kindly detailed for us, in recent times.

It is worth relating how I discovered this Forum, mainly as a direct result of my dissatisfaction with the cavalier manner in which a great many listeners to my local radio station - not just myself - appeared to increasingly be treated. My earliest comments related to the gradual abandonment - very much by stealth - of on-air email contact details. Just two years ago, each daytime programme on Radio Stoke possessed a bespoke email address. i.e: it was possible to contact Paula White via 'paula.stoke@bbc.co.uk', and 'named' programmes such as 'Drivetime' could be reached via 'drivetime.stoke@bbc.co.uk', etc.

These all appeared to vanish during 2013, being replaced by a one-size-is-meant-to fit-all 'studio.stoke@bbc.co.uk' address (even though 'radio.stoke@bbc.co.uk' already exists). Presenters such as Nick Robins, previously very open and amenable to airing their own email address, subsequently only gave out the station's own email identity. Are we to assume all emails now to be routed via production staff?

If I may enquire, can anyone please confirm whether other BBC local radio stations have adopted a similar policy? As previously stated, it is surely not unreasonable to expect most local radio stations to 'sing off the same hymnsheet', especially regarding their on-air contact details?

Unfortunately, a distinct pattern now seems to have emerged - an iniquitous one of dissuading any listeners who wish to 'Be Part Of It', at least as far as emails are concerned. Incredibly, Radio Stoke have even removed 'Be Part Of It' from their Facebook page!

Were you to find yourself listening to Radio Stoke for the first time (hearing constant on-air reminders of the ability to phone, text or "visit our Facebook page") but never hearing any email address given - what would your natural assumption be? Can I? Should I? Do they value my input?

Tiger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2829
    • View Profile
Hi Dennis,

Interaction is one of BBC local radio's most important roles and the reason for it's continued existance. I think that it is very worrying if BBC complaints have advised your relation that DQF is in any way to blame for a loss of request slots. That would be odd, unless it applied to a prerecorded show, I also find it strange that BBC Complaints replied with any specifics at all? they usually only post complaints and forward them to the relevant manager for comment. It would be interesting to see the details, because if DQF is being cited as a reason for lack of interaction, that needs to be taken up with senior management.


I will confirm also that my local station BBC Surrey and Sussex gives out presenter email addresses and not a generic studio one. I agree  this seems to be a Stoke issue,.


I had a listen to  James Watt's program this afternoon, have to say the level of interaction was very shallow and the content very poor , is it always like that?

All the presenters (or the main ones) at BBC 3CR have their own email addresses and are pretty quick at replying (better than facebook) Twitter seems to be the chosen method at the moment though. Can't stand twitter...

Rita

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 503
    • View Profile
Dennis, Just for an example of interaction, if you can find Radio Merseyside and play again Frankie Connor's  show, Saturday at 12.00 noon -  2.00 p,m., and you will hear what I mean.  You may not be able to do it until later on today, but it's worth a try.  I only mention this particular show because I am listening to it now myself and there are a number of good examples of why this particular local radio station is so sucrcessful.

Northoftheborder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 194
    • View Profile
Hiya everyone, glad you're having so much fun with my thread! That's the main reason why I started it, you know? There used to be plenty of fun on my local station - especially at the weekend - but so much of it has vanished (in so short a time) that I feel so, so short-changed.

There's so many points to respond to! So I'm ever so sorry, if I've missed anyone! But special thanks to Rita, as she's proved that some of us still have a radio station to be genuinely proud of. If she doesn't mind too much, I'll also add Radio Merseyside's Sunday Brunch to the list - purely because of its amount of interactivity! Only fair to quote the show's host: "We put away the serious stuff on a Sunday morning and just have a bit of fun". So someone still knows how to make enjoyable radio, that we can be part of.

TBH there's not enough space to relate how disappointed I still am, with the content of James Watt's Radio Stoke shows, when compared to his predecessor on Radio Stoke's afternoon shows, Paula White. She was locally born and bred, female and down-to-earth (and almost always replied personally to my e-mails). So there's four boxes that James Watt doesn't tick, just for starters. The content is generally as lacklustre as Tiger has heard for herself, and I'm afraid the best way to listen to these shows is via listen again, just so's you can fast-forward through all the self-important bluster (or marvel again at just how often he stumbles, trying to say relatively easy words). Dennis' comments re e-mail addresses are spot on, and lead me nicely to something else:

I waited (and waited) but Paula White's new Saturday show never really improved, after it began last June. It wasn't her, it was the selfish format. All our request features had been stealthely removed, and "interactivity" had been reduced to answering a tiny handful of inane questions - that were all set by the radio station. Although Paula started by giving out her own e-mail address, this stopped mid-July. For a while, she gave out the studio.stoke one (see what Dennis put) but then this stopped, too. Funny thing was, I can still vividly remember hearing Paula tell us all how many e-mails she was still getting, of a week! Poor Paula, miss you so much.

It wasn't always clear who had actually sent e-mails - a neat trick several of her colleagues still use (to this day) is to tell us: Linda's got in touch (but not specify how) and this doesn't exactly encourage e-mailing, does it? Without a doubt, this means of communication is being [ ] marginalised/ [ ] run down/ [ ] quietly done away with. Tick which box [ ] is the most appropriate.

BBC Complaints DO sometimes reply in specifics - I can quote you several examples, courtesy of both me and my sister-in-law! But we'll leave that, until earlier next week! Enough already, for you all to digest (sorry Tiger, couldn't resist a sneaky food analogy)!

radiolad

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
    • View Profile
    • Email
I had a listen through the James Watt show and agree that it is not good. A real lack of local content and features. Bland music. Some interaction but the feature on 'selfies' was dragged out for the whole 3 hours and was not particularly interesting. I have heard James Watt before and feel he is a competent presenter but he didn't seem to have a lot to work with.

Dennis Marshall

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
    • Email
This topic continues to illustrate what I believe to be an ever-widening gulf - dividing those local radio stations that still recognise and encourage true audience interation, and a handful that appear increasingly content for their listeners only to hear that which is enforced upon them.

Let us take Radio Stoke's James Watt as an example. Just six months after arriving (and being awarded the station's prime weekday afternoon programme) he was thought to be so popular that a sixth show was deemed necessary. Accordingly, popular and long-serving weekend host Nick Robins lost his Sunday morning programme, to accommodate even more of James Watt. Early promotional material for this extended timeslot offered listeners a chance to solve 'James Watt's 9-00 Sunday Connection'.

This feature has relatively close similarity to a vastly-superior item, broadcast weekly until June last year - when it was suddenly removed without adequate explanation. Called 'Six Songs In Six Seconds' this popular feature has been referred to elsewhere, specifically by contributor Rustey, who detailed their friend's attempt to contribute their own suggestion. By all accounts, Radio Stoke were happy to accept this submission (to a programme where this had been actively encouraged) but somehow could not find any of the six pieces of music proposed. Apparently, it was thus felt acceptable to change all six records - and deny Rustey's friend any credit whatsoever - even though their originally-themed idea was still utilised, some weeks later. A strange interpretation of 'Be Part Of It', by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.

Seven months after this item vanished, 'James Watt's 9-00 Sunday Connection' was launched. One or two differences (from 'Six Songs In Six Seconds') became apparent, as now only four pieces of music are played. Despite running the feature for over a month now, James Watt has given no indication - whatsoever - that he will be accepting listeners' own suggestions. If Radio Stoke's own feeble attempts are anything to go by, they desperately need their listeners' input.

However, this particular radio station seems no longer able to trust its audience to interact, instead allowing only the same few attention-seekers to come on air each week, telling everyone what the 'connection' is. Compared with the many creative ideas (that listeners submitted to 'Six Songs In Six Seconds' until 2013) this lacklustre replacement is an exceptionally poor substitute.

Maybe a better substitute is Radio Merseyside's weekend programming, as highlighted by Rita and 'Northoftheborder'. True interaction is still permitted in some areas, it would seem.

Northoftheborder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 194
    • View Profile

This topic continues to illustrate what I believe to be an ever-widening gulf - dividing those local radio stations that still recognise and encourage true audience interation, and a handful that appear increasingly content for their listeners only to hear that which is enforced upon them...

Could hardly have put it better myself, Dennis! In fact my sister has already politely asked Radio Stoke's Managing Editor if he'd like to consider her own creative suggestion, but this was the very best he could come up with:

The James Watt Sunday 9am Connections feature is not intended as a feature for listeners to suggest their own songs, rather to try and spot the connection.

And he couldn't even be bothered to politely thank her, for the effort she'd put into it - instead just accusing her of contacting the station "numerous" times (and no, her name is NOT Linda). So much for "be part of it" - whatever happened to interactivity??

She resent her email (with minor amendments) to the show's host, James Watt - last weekend. He couldn't even bother to reply (or comment on-air) so it looks like he's as conceited and self-important as most of his performances sound. There isn't space to copy it all, but here's an extract:

... I would like to ask again, for a more believable answer, why the audience hasn't been invited to join in properly with one of your programme features.
 
Dear James,

Why have your listeners not yet been allowed to send in their own inventive ideas for the new Sunday morning show? So far you still haven't told your listeners if they can contribute their own suggestions for your 9:00 Connections feature. So sorry to say it, but why don't you admit it - you desperately need our help, don't you? Over the last few weeks your own ideas have got worse and worse! In the last fortnight, you've not even managed to throw any half-decent connections together using the record titles any more - and have had a jumbled-up mess instead, some titles/some artists. Also sorry to say, but this so called new feature is only a watered-down version of a much better item Stuart used to run on Saturday mornings, until around a year ago. That was called Six Songs In Six Seconds, and most weeks he used ideas his own listeners had sent him! 

As I have my own idea (thats of at least as high a standard as the first couple of weeks) can I ask you to look again at what I've come up with please? Because no one has ever given out any contact details to send it to, I had to have my own guess at what your email address would be!
 
Not letting listeners send in their own music ideas much now doesn't seem so fair to me, as my idea of what BBC local radio does so well has always been to encourage participation (and offer its listeners plenty of chances to join in). So why haven't the Sunday morning listeners been allowed any chance to send in their own 9:00 Connections yet? Isn't local radio meant to be about what its listeners can come up with? Wouldn't it be so much more interesting, if what they heard most weeks had been put together by another listener than by some one working for Radio Stoke? I think so!

I so hope you can see things from the listeners' point of view, for a change? I thought it was our radio station (as we all pay towards it, out of our licence fee) so why can't we have more of a say, in the music please?

But she has had a detailed, informative reply from Gary Andrews, only this morning:

I refer you to my previous reply to your email on this subject, sent to you on 27th February.

Sincerely,

Gary Andrews

So I guess it was kind of right all along, what Dennis already told us?


...'James Watt's 9-00 Sunday Connection' was launched. One or two differences (from 'Six Songs In Six Seconds') became apparent, as now only four pieces of music are played. Despite running the feature for over a month now, James Watt has given no indication - whatsoever - that he will be accepting listeners' own suggestions. If Radio Stoke's own feeble attempts are anything to go by, they desperately need their listeners' input.

However, this particular radio station seems no longer able to trust its audience to interact, instead allowing only the same few attention-seekers to come on air each week, telling everyone what the 'connection' is. Compared with the many creative ideas (that listeners submitted to 'Six Songs In Six Seconds' until 2013) this lacklustre replacement is an exceptionally poor substitute.

Tiger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2829
    • View Profile
If I was the Managing Editor of Stoke, I would be very concerned that listeners are not happy and that interaction by listeners is being limited?

I might want to justify my editorial right to deliver a show as I want to do so.

But I would certainly respect my audience in doing that and engage them. That would mean considering their suggestions and giving that my attention in full. The future of BBC local radio depends upon talented, creative managing editors that are in tune with the communities that they serve and that means they even if they disagree with something, they need to take the care and trouble to explain why and also explain why they have taken the decisions they have.

That is their duty as part of the public service that they deliver, we pay their wages and have every right to challenge output.

The reply from Gary Andrews is not acceptable, as indeed all his previous replies were, in my opinion. I have much respect for those working in BBC local radio and that includes those in management and senior management, because they have shown how important it is to have ears and they have the intelligence and responsibility to listen and debate properly. Not all of them , of course, as seen by what is happening on Stoke!

Northoftheborder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 194
    • View Profile
For anyone with three or four hours to spare this Sunday [tomorrow, 6th April] you can experience contrasting styles of BBC local radio. From 9am, Radio Stoke's James Watt will deliver "Radio With Personality", which unfortunately seems to be a metaphor for "Doing Things Our Way". Whilst you may marvel at yet another "9:00 Connection" thrown together by someone within Radio Stoke, don't even think of sending in your own musical suggestions - however creative they may be!

Although it's a three-hour show, a couple of hours is probably more than enough of this bumbling buffoon. Make sure you retune to Radio Merseyside by 11:00, and give the vastly-superior Jason Hardy's Sunday Brunch a listen. If you want to "Be Part Of It", Jason will be more than happy to let you help shape this show's musical content...

Rita

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 503
    • View Profile
Unfortunately, Northoftheborder, I won't be at home during the hours Jason Hardy is broadcasting, except for the last few minutes, so it isn't worth tuning in for such a short space of time. As the excellent  Frankie Connor won't be following on from that with his first-class programme, due to the inevitable football (the end of the season can't come quickly enough), I don't envisage listening to anything else on Radio Merseyside on Sunday other than "Daybreak" at the beginning of the day.

Tiger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2829
    • View Profile
Hi North, good thinking!

I think that a little review of both these shows would be very interesting, and I would welcome other forum members to take part. It might shed some light upon what is wanted at the weekend and how listener interaction(importance high) is dealt with.

I am not suggesting a Nick Clegg , Nigel Farage type poll.

But it would be interesting as a participation exercise.

So we have Jason Hardy(representing Sunday Brunch on RM) v James Watt(representing "Radio with Personality" on BBC Stoke)


Bring it on!

The iplayer is, of course available for those unable to listen live.

Rita

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 503
    • View Profile
There is inter-action on the majority of shows on Radio Merseyside all the time, indeed, that is what it has been built upon, leading to its success as the most listened to radio station outside of London.  You can't single out Jason Hardy from any other presenter on the station in that regard - he hasn't been there long enough for that - any more than you can compare one station with another.  That state of affairs is due to the Managing Editors involvement.  Like the presenters themselves, they ought to be "inter-active" with the listeners as well, because that is what their job is all about.  I personally have had no problem with either Mick Ord or Sue Owen in that regard.  They have both had their "Letters" spot on the 'phone-in programme when they have been available and have always answered any emails or letters I have sent in to the station fairly promptly.  You can't get better than that.  Other Managing Editors should learn from that!


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via furl Share via linkedin Share via myspace Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via technorati Share via twitter

Similar Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies / Views Last post
xx
York makes a powerful plea against BBC local radio cuts.

Started by Tiger

0 Replies
1111 Views
Last post December 22, 2011, 12:26:27 PM
by Tiger
xx
Mark Thompson makes a speech, again.

Started by Tiger

1 Replies
1133 Views
Last post March 14, 2012, 11:00:37 PM
by Tiger
xx
The true Agenda is emerging..BBC local radio pays the price for local TV.

Started by Tiger

2 Replies
2223 Views
Last post December 15, 2011, 09:53:12 PM
by darcysarto
xx
Review of BBC local radio, local news and current affairs in England

Started by BBC Trust

8 Replies
6194 Views
Last post September 27, 2015, 01:14:14 PM
by Rita
xx
BBC Local Radio Facebook Sites - What's your local one like?

Started by 3countiesfanbutnotattheweekend!!

0 Replies
1835 Views
Last post March 06, 2014, 11:41:30 PM
by 3countiesfanbutnotattheweekend!!