Before becoming a full time male voice over in 2010 I used to be a radio presenter at the same time as a VO. I mentioned in a recent post that two of my erstwhile bosses – Phil Riley and David Lloyd had set up a new radio station which launched in February 2021: Boom Radio.
I looked at the parallels between this newcomer and a radio station I was involved with when it launched in 1999 – Planet Rock.
Like Boom Planet Rock was targeted at a specific demographic – male music fans who grew up with classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple. So called “Dad Rock” in other words. For its part Boom Radio is also aimed at older listeners – Baby Boomers who have found Radio 2’s music a bit too edgy.
David and Phil say they have identified a niche in the market that is not being served by commercial radio. They may be correct but I wondered if the reason it was not being served until now was related to an issue we had to confront on Planet Rock 20 years ago.
One of Planet Rock’s problems at the start was that advertisers didn’t want to make adverts aimed at older listeners – even though it was – and still is – well established that this generation have many in their number with really good pensions and hence money to spend.
Likewise radio sales people could not seem to sell airtime on a radio station for older people who were also rock fans.
The thinking seemed to be that older people made their choices years ago and didn’t change brands so were resistant to ads plus. with no UK history of commercial rock stations, agencies and sales executives seemed able to conceive only of ads for Marshall amps, Harley Davidson motorbikes and Jack Daniels.
Of course having a light ad log means you can play more music which seems great when that is a key part of your offer but in the end it’s the ads that pay the presenters (and all the other costs) so if you can’t sell the airtime it makes the whole enterprise unviable.
To be fair to Boom they seem to be pitching the idea that today’s older people don’t fit the old stereotypes of what granny and granddad are like. Boomers often have active lives, with (prepandemic) holidays abroad and homes that include smart phones, computers, smart speakers and the like and their programming aims to reflect this.
Boom’s musical and demographic niche is much less narrow than ours was so should have much wider audience appeal and maybe these days advertisers are more used to targeting older listening demographics. I guess they are as Planet Rock celebrated its 20th anniversary last year – I wish Boom Radio a similar success.
Chris Radley – Voice Over