Why does your chosen radio station say about you?

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October 28, 2014 by johnnyseifertradio

I want to start today’s blog by reviewing a lecture I went to last night at the Jewish Learning Exchange, Golders Green and then linking it to radio. Rabbi Benjy Morgan asked the question, “What one word sums up Judaism for you”. The answer that was given the most was the word “no”. For those that do not know a lot about the religion, there are a lot of restrictions put into place that can feel at times overwhelming for religious Jewish people:

  • They can not mix meat and milk
  • They can (should) only eat meat that is Kosher and butchered in a certain way
  • They  have to fast for 25 hours once a year
  • They can not not use technology on a Friday night to Saturday night (I can not last)
  • There is no intimacy with the opposite sex until marriage (including shaking hands).

But, do these qualities define who that Jewish person actually is? There is a whole other side to Judaism which you may know and that is the traditions that follow including Friday Night Dinner and being part of a community. Radio stations are like communities, you get to know the radio presenters as friends, the music becomes a part of your life as you relate to the songs and they suit your different needs. However, there are restrictions that are put in to place. With Jewish people they may not necessary keep kosher, they may not keep the Sabbath. Similarly, with radio stations listeners may not want to listen to the radio station set up to target their age bracket. Therefore, how does a listener choose which radio station to listen to if they do not want to be an outcast listener?

Each radio station begins with a remit that states what their purpose is and who their target audience is. Without a target audience you could end up hearing rock music on BBC Radio 4 and Ludoviccio Einaudi on BBC Radio 1. Furthermore, the topics of conversations would be very different. For example, imagine hearing about the latest wind turbines on Capital Fm or the latest Geordie Shore relationship on BBC London, this just would not happen! Therefore, it is vital that a radio station is representing the audience that they are targeting. As it was widely reported in the news back in 2012, Chris Moyles, AKA the radio g-d, left his Breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 as he was bringing in an audience that was over the 15-29 target audience. With an average age of 32, the BBC Trust decided (wrongly) that Moyles was not serving the BBC Radio 1 audience hence hiring Nick Grimshaw to bring in the younger teen listeners.For reasons like this, a certain target audience brief is given out for each radio station which OFCOM signs off when giving out a radio license. Just this week a dispute came with Capital Xtra (formerly Choice Fm) for not sticking to its music policy and targeting an African and Afro-Caribbean audience.

Today I want to look at a few from the radio stations and look at what they say about you, the listener.

Capital FM


Capital’s listeners are huge fans of the world of popular music entertainment. They are media savvy, on trend and use Capital to be the first of their mates ‘in the know’ on the very latest glamour, glitz and gossip. It’s no coincidence that 59% of those who tune in to Capital are aged between 15-34 and make up the main target audience for the station.

I really like this statement. Immediately, I can see the audience clearly and it is true. It is likely that the audience will be on Facebook and Twitter and sharing content from Capital Fm on their own social media platforms and interpreting it to their peers. What I find most interesting is that Global Radio have actually detailed that 59% are in the target audience with 41% not being between 15-34. One would presume that the audience would be at the younger end of the spectrum but what I am more interested in is the upper side of the spectrum looking beyond 34 years old. Radio stations are split between the different age ranges as we will see but there is a blurred line when it comes to 30-45 year old’s. Does Sally, 36 year old mum of two primary school children listen to Heart Fm, BBC Radio 2 or carry on listening to Capital Fm and BBC Radio 1? There is another context I need to consider and that is where they are listening to the radio. For example, if an adult (35+) is driving to school it is likely that the child will be choosing the radio station that they are listening too (Yes, I made sure Chris Moyles was always put on). Furthermore, Capital states that it is all about “glitz and glamour”. Two words which a lot of mums or embarrassing dads are surely want to stick by and not  be seen as growing up. I would argue that Capital Fm is a music hit radio station which actually caters for a whole families needs who want to listen to current music and ‘ be down with dem kidz’.

Smooth Radio


“Smooth is the only commercial radio station aimed at the 40-59 age group; but our audience is more than just a demographic. Smooth listeners are loyal and passionate, people who represent our values and share our love of life and music. Smooth is the radio station for people who not only believe that life begins at forty but are the embodiment of the expression.”

Wow what a great brief which I think we can see a theme by Global Radio of making excellent character profiles for their listeners. I have already contradicted what I mentioned with Capital Fm as there is a radio station that caters for 40-59 year old’s. I appreciate that they have a loyal audience however I would argue as similar to Magic Fm you will find a lot of students listening to stations such as Smooth, Classic and Magic to chill out and revise to. Gone are the trombones, the raps and the big music drops and incomes relaxing instrumentals and soulful voices to unwind with. I listen to Smooth whilst reading a book, I listen to Smooth as I try and get to sleep and I used to listen to Smooth to wake up slowly with. However, Smooth does have a playlist that plays the best of the 70’s with more current artists such as Take That. Therefore, whilst the artists might not have something that every audience member can identify with such as going to the artists concert, the words mean a lot more. For example, take Whitney Houston ‘I have Nothing’, ‘One Moment in Time’, ‘Greatest Love of all’. No matter what age you are you can listen to her songs and immediately form a connection with the song lyrics. I would argue that if you are a Smooth radio listener you ponder life and have chosen to listen to Smooth to relax with.

BBC Radio 5 Live


The remit of BBC Radio 5 live is to provide live news and sports coverage. It should be BBC Radio’s main outlet for breaking news by bringing its audience major news stories as they happen. It should provide context to its news and sports coverage through wide-ranging analysis and discussion. Programming should be designed to inform, challenge, entertain and involve. The service should appeal to news and sports fans of all ages and from all ethnic backgrounds and areas across the UK. 

My final radio station I wanted to look at was BBC Five Live was for the purpose that it is a talk station in contrast to Capital and Smooth. I love BBC Five Live as  a weekend 22:00-01:00 listen with the brilliant broadcaster Stephen Nolan. There are two types of listeners to BBC Five Live and those are sports lovers and news junkies. Both these attributes have stereotypes yet there is a service for everyone on the station. For example, a new show has just launched with Emma Barnett named ‘The Hit List’ looking at the big news stories that have gone viral around social media. By having a show like this 5 Live are already targeting a varied audience with some being young being interested in social media and the regular 5 Live listeners who are in their adult stages of life.
Therefore, what I have argued today is yes there is a remit for each radio station and they all have their ways of targeting a specific audience. However, just because you do not fall into their box it does not mean that you should not listen to the station and not be able to take away your own unique message if you want to.


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