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by GRANT GODDARD
www.grantgoddard.co.uk May 2006
Industry opinion about the future prospects of commercial radio group GCap Media plc appears to be mixed, following last week’s announcement that a new programme director has been appointed for its flagship London station 'Capital Radio'. Commenting on the departure of two of the station’s senior managers, Colin Grimshaw, deputy editor of 'Media Week' magazine, said that “the only surprise is why it wasn’t done sooner”. He felt that “the radio industry needs some bolder thinking and a greater focus on its long-term health” and suggested that “it could start investing seriously in its digital businesses.” Grimshaw concluded that “Capital's real failing is that it is still trying to target too broad a demographic, when London has segmented into a wide choice of listening defined by music taste and age group. The revival of indie/rock and the demise of mass appeal pop hasn't helped either.” He noted that 400,000 listeners had “deserted” Capital’s breakfast show since presenter Chris Tarrant had left, and questioned whether replacement Johnny Vaughan was “the right figurehead for a new Capital identity”. Sarah Lelic, editor of media web site mad.co.uk, said that GCap and Capital “appear to be mired in crisis and indecision.” She raised doubts about new programme director Scott Muller’s suitability for the job because “the Australian market is rather different to radio audiences in the UK.” Lelic explained: “During his tenure at 'Nova', Muller was responsible for introducing competitions such as ‘Cunning Stunts’, ‘Tossers’ and ‘Phone Sex’, something of a departure from the rather middle-of-the-road tone currently adopted by Capital.” She concluded: “What Capital really needs is a period of stability and consolidation, before it can even think of moving forward.” Last week, GCap promoted Ivor Etienne from programme director to managing director of its London station 'Choice FM'. Etienne, who has worked at the station for eleven years following training as a studio manager at the BBC, said he was "looking forward to further developing Choice FM nationally and in the London marketplace". Choice’s head of music, Des Paul, will leave the station in June to take up an appointment as UK music editor of MTV.
[First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'Trades Speak Out Over Capital', #734, 3 May 2006]
Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk
News: GCap Media plc And London's 'Capital FM' "Mired In Crisis And Indecision", Says Media Trade Press ©2006 Grant Goddard