Cracker by Damian Christie

Read Post

Cracker: "It says 'Let's b friends', and it's got a b on it"

221 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 9 Newer→ Last

  • Jeremy Eade,

    the second survey (IIRC) showed a massive drop and bFM falling behind George, which was disheartening, and no doubt affected advertisers' decision-making.

    Well it's a well known fact bfm lost large chunks of its 1990's audience. It was done in a quite stategic manner , imagine putting two talk back shows either side, close in on the dial of Newstalk. Quite nasty but clever.First you have to own all the frequencies. ...and of course they're not for sale to you.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Markets like information, the more the better. Would you buy ads on a station that just winked at you and said, 'trust me"....

    Again, as I said, bFM had advertising for many many years before it bought ratings in the 2000s. How much, and of what quality and value is the real question.

    People buy advertising for all sorts of reasons. I'm amazed at the number of people who buy ads in magazines with no discernable readership (I also realise many ads in such magazine are freebees, contra etc). Often its because they want to support the people who are giving it a go, in the case of local titles. Other times they're doing it because it's 'cool'. And often, in any of these cases, because they are stupid.

    When I helped get George FM off the ground I sold ads and sponsorship (as well as did the breakfast show, managed the station etc). We had no figures. But there was so much chatter about this new low frequency station in Ponsonby, people were willing to take a punt and get in on the ground floor. If they get a good response to their advertising, then they'll keep doing it, and ratings don't matter.

    The worst thing was when people wanted to do ads saying "come in and tell us you heard this ad and get a free whatever" and no-one did...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    The worst thing was when people wanted to do ads saying "come in and tell us you heard this ad and get a free whatever" and no-one did...

    50% of your marketing works apparently, just no one knows which half that is. Tis a strange industry.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    When I helped get George FM off the ground I sold ads and sponsorship (as well as did the breakfast show, managed the station etc). We had no figures. But there was so much chatter about this new low frequency station in Ponsonby, people were willing to take a punt and get in on the ground floor.

    And yet, what really got George noticed by advertisers was that scorching survey you noted above. I'm not sure there's a right answer to this.

    (BTW, I can only imagine how thrilled RadioWorks is about having bought George then finding Thane Kirby setting up Ponsonby FM 100 metres away.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    (BTW, I can only imagine how thrilled RadioWorks is about having bought George then finding Thane Kirby setting up Ponsonby FM 100 metres away.

    If RadioWorks didn't had the sense to put contractual steps in place to stop that happening, then they've got bigger problems than Thane :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Rachaelking,

    50% of your marketing works apparently, just no one knows which half that is.

    I'd heard it was more like 10%. When I was selling ads at b (waaay before ratings and we had our own way of selling around them) I used to tell people "they say only 10% of advertising works. If we knew which 10% we'd all be rich."

    Funny - I used to sell ads at b with no ratings and at Pavement with no auditing. And did just fine.

    Since Nov 2009 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Because as you say, bFM has always had a cool factor that all those other 'marginal' radio stations didn't, and the ad agencies knew it.

    I don't know bFM, but I presume it's the same as Radio One in Dunedin, in that they make a conscious decision by attaching themselves to the cool gigs and sponsoring the hippest things and organising parties etc, of being cooler than everyone else in town. There's some brand association of having your brand alongside with something that has managed to build that up.

    I don't know if bFM has a membership card, Radio One has had one for many years and it always sells out. Radio stations aren't always just radio stations I guess.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    bFM is like Radio One in that sense (they are cooler than everyone else in town, associate their brand with the coolest gigs etc, and have a membership card), but it's not like Radio One in the sense that it reaches a massive number of people for a NZ student radio station. It's always been the big fish in the student radio pond. Which puts it in some awkward situations, and means it can compete with fully commercial radio stations.

    Iin fact, in the last survey results (not the ones that came out on Friday, I don't have them), in the 25-39 demographic, out of 21 stations surveyed, bFM was in 6th place - ahead of ZB, which is a true goliath. It beat Hauraki, and More FM and George, and Radio Live (but was beaten by Breeze, ZM, Classic Hits, Mai and The Rock). That's impressive by anyone's standards.

    It also says the audience is ageing....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Also, just taking another look at those ratings, Breakfast is bFM's lowest rating part of the day, other than overnights, when everyone in the world seems to listen to ZB talkback.

    Competition is of course fiercest at breakfast, but it does indicate that more people switch to (or stay with, rather than turning off after breakfast) bFM during the day. And bFM Drive is the most popular show.

    (All this info is again, based on the last survey not the one that came out on Friday. If anyone has that info, feel free to send it on).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Funny - I used to sell ads at b with no ratings and at Pavement with no auditing. And did just fine.

    I sold some ice to an eskimo once. He was very thirsty.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    It also says the audience is ageing....

    It hurts 'cos it's true...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 244 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    It hurts 'cos it's true...

    It'll be like we were at the Pixes Mark - a whole bunch of us in our mid thirties all wearing Chuck Taylors... sigh.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    It'll be like we were at the Pixes Mark - a whole bunch of us in our mid thirties all wearing Chuck Taylors... sigh.

    You read too many magazines.Stop 'sighing', it's unmanly.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Your chuck taylors are going to have to last another 70 years,.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And on the heels of PA Radio's awards nom comes Media7 winning two Freeview Awards.

    Damian, Backbenches was runner-up in one category.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Phillip Magee,

    Shame it has taken this long. It was a retrograde step and showed little courage. Surely "student" radio should have someone at least younger than thirty. My pick would be Ritchie Hardcore.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Mike has the personality and presence that keeps people like me going back to bfm

    ... and switched me and many friends right off at the time. If we had wanted braying and blathering in the morning, there was plenty of commercial radio around.

    I believe that if bfm had properly reflected the dance music that came through in the early 90s (like Radio Active did) rather than propping up derivative rock, the other stations like George would never have got a foot in the door. Not that I mind having options.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Shame it has taken this long. It was a retrograde step and showed little courage. Surely "student" radio should have someone at least younger than thirty. My pick would be Ritchie Hardcore.

    To which, for all his talents, most people would go "Huh?". At least Mikey had his pseudonym thoroughly established before arrival.

    I'm not involved in any way in bFM governance now, but it does seem to me that it's not necessarily an easy job to meet everyone's demands.

    You need to keep being the talent factory, serve the student body, keep longtime listeners happy, keep bringing in younger listeners -- and make money for your shareholder, the AUSA (or at least not lose money).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And if bfm had properly reflected the dance music that came through in the early 90s (like Radio Active did) rather than propping up derivative rock, the other stations like George would never have got a foot in the door.

    Okay, here's where I probably piss someone off. Active is dull, and has been dull for a long time. Every time I'm in Wellington, I listen to it and it sounds flat to me. bFM has refreshed itself multiple times while Active has trundled along. There's just no comparison between the two.

    I also usually (with notable exceptions) find George dull. The way people use it as aural wallpaper creeps me out.

    And Sacha, the thing about "derivative rock" is that kids seem to keep on making it in little clubs and bars. There was a point after 2000 where Auckland social life emphatically swung back to bands playing, and bFM was there.

    b also ran sold-out dance parties through the 90s. I recall them being good fun. Ironically, one of the major complaints about MIkey's Breakfast has been that he plays too much dance music.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Having worked at b in the 80s, and listened ever since, this feels personal, so I'm trying to be careful what I say. In the words of Mozza, 'It's time for a change...' but 'please, please, please, let me get what I want this time.'

    Is that Matt Heath? Not yet. But Hugh when he was calling up people with last names that rhyme with 'muck' to make fun of them live on air used to drive me nuts also. He grew on me. It took time. Marcus, Jude, Dom & Paul will forever be my heroes.

    I am old. I'll go roll my trousers. Oh look, they already are.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Bfm's commitment to gigs of all sorts has been a welcome feature for most of its life. And its scale has always marked it out.

    There was a point after 2000 where Auckland social life emphatically swung back to bands playing, and bFM was there.

    I was talking early 90s - and I contend it was bfm that failed to refresh at that stage, not Active. It seemed that rather average rock bands got disproportionate help pushing their music, at the expense of electronic artists. Of course when the pendulum swung back to rock, bfm was well placed. Happy to take your word about whatever Active is doing now, Russell, as I don't follow them.

    I'd have to say that Mikey's idea of dance music has always been rather mono-dimensional, especially compared with the specialist shows that I am grateful bfm has maintained throughout. Ooonst is not what some of us seek out in the morning any more than yapping is. Others obviously love it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    b also ran sold-out dance parties through the 90s.

    Yes but called them Oonst which was seen as very condescending by the dance community and the DJ lineups tended to be rock survivors playing that funny dance music. They were less than dance-credible.

    There was a point after 2000 where Auckland social life emphatically swung back to bands playing, and bFM was there.

    Yes and no. On any given weekend night over the first decade of the 2000s I'd wager there was, and likely still would be 20 kids in Auckland entertaining themselves in the clubs along K Rd, Pons Rd, and down High Street for everyone at a live venue that night. But surely the two are complementary.

    For me, B was my home for close to 16 years, and for at least 6 of those I was its only dance show and we had to cover house AND hip hop because nobody else on the station did. In the early 1990s Phil Bell, DLT and later P-Money were given a hip hop show so we then played the house and techno on B for another decade. It was, I'm still continually told, hugely influential but the programmers at B used to try and push us later and later and we, both us and the hip hop guys, were continually battling being re-slotted.

    We (the beat orientated shows) used to call ourselves the ghetto because nobody at B showed the vaguest bit of interest in what we were doing and 'forgot' to invite us to things like the DJ meetings and, worse, always seemed to overlook us when those Ooonst gigs were put on. We were the only dance show on B and we were not even given tickets to the bloody things. So we'd make fun of them on air, which caused some mirth amongst the dance community, but hell, nobody in B management ever listened to us anyway.

    And when George arrived and they were both welcoming and offered a warm sympathetic home, we all jumped ship (I did B AND George for a year), with Nice'n'Urlich (who actually paid B a small royalty on the albums I released but got rather shoddily treated for doing that), Roger Perry, Greg Churchill, Soane and just about anyone else who was involved in the electronic scene all moving across to something that was more home.

    Even Mikey talked but was lured back.

    I was encouraged to do very much my own thing and enjoyed being able to play a Public Image track next to a Derrick May tine at 10am without odd looks from staff or shitty txts and calls snarling about disco.

    I loved B and still do, although musically I've found it heavy going for a few years. But the words and the specialist shows still work.

    I also find much of George pretty heavy going these past two or three years and think it's lost its way and edge. It's increasingly formulaic, bland and yes, wallpaperish.

    But then I listen to Roger Perry or Murray Cammick and I'm convinced there is no better radio in the world.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I believe that if bfm had properly reflected the dance music that came through in the early 90s (like Radio Active did) rather than propping up derivative rock, the other stations like George would never have got a foot in the door. Not that I mind having options.

    As I mentioned before, I helped start George, and without putting too fine a point on it (and some people might remember it differently) it weren't dance music before I got there: it was cafe jazz. I took over management of the nights which was previously just a computer playing cafe/acid jazz, and slotted in techno shows (Chelsea), D&B shows (Riddle and Pots), House shows (Roger & Soane), Big Beat (Timmy Schumacher), NZ Music (Kog), Hip Hop etc etc. When I left George it became almost exclusively house for a long long time. Aural wallpaper as Russell points out.

    The thing is, I wouldn't have gone to George if the PD at bFM (Bill Kerton) had given me a chance when I'd asked him - I'd come from doing the news and co-hosting breakfast on Active, but it didn't make a difference. Years later Bill kindly acknowledged that might have been an oversight.

    Not saying George wouldn't have become a dance station (and therefore a challenger to bFM which wasn't playing *much* at the time), but it's an interesting link. To me anyway.

    I spent a lot of time at Active, and I have friends there, but yes, fuck that station has some issues. When I moved down there a few years ago and started playing the stuff I'd been playing from bFM, the feedback I got was extraordinary. It's like they hadn't heard any indie music for the past ten years. They've got the same issue there too, people who have been doing the job for so long they were probably spinning records there when Mikey was in Push Push.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Wain,

    MUST add Stinky Jim and Dubhead in here, those fellas just kill it every week. Outstanding work, week in, week out.

    Specialist shows are where it's at on stations like the b and Active. For some reason both outfits seem to struggle with regular shows IMNSHO: too much talk, too many ads. It's not rocket science... No one wants to hear blather and endless commercials on student radio.

    For a tip on how to do it properly, I'd recommend Radio One - I heard a bit when I was in Dunedin last month and apart from some fool who started ranting about socialism (and was hopefully taken out back and shot by the fascists he was railing against), it sounded just like student radio should.

    Disclaimer: worked at R1, volunteered at bFM and Active. Now work in public radio and comm radio.

    Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    it was cafe jazz

    That fits. Someone told me George was initially aimed at providing daytime background music for Ponsonby retailers, which in turn generated the advertising goodwill. Props to anyone who gets a station off the ground, including the mad buggers who started radio bosom.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 9 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.