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RAJAR and Rajar Smilies


Thursday 17th May 2012 was a very exciting day! RAJAR day Quarter 1, 2012 and the launch of the brand new version of RajarSmilies was upon us.

Very quick vocab lesson for those not in the know!

RAJAR stands for “Radio Joint Audience Research” it’s what the radio industry measures it’s successes with. It’s despised by a lot of the industry because it’s not that accurate, but it’s the best we’ve got!

RajarSmilies is a concept that Toby D’Olier came up with back in 2009. “Rajar is complicated to understand. We simplify it through the power of facial emotions.”

Back to the blog

Toby asked me to help him build a site where he could keep and archive results from each quarter so users could get more from the site and the concept. I built version two (Neil Bentley built version one, which was just a static HTML page), meaning I took Neil’s front-end design, added a database, and built a back end for Toby to add the details to.

But Thursday saw the launch of Version 3. Version 3 is built on WordPress, and it’s amazing. Built entirely using custom post types, and extra meta data you can now see the specific station pages with all their quarter results on the page.

Screen Shot of Stats
Screen Shot of Stats 

On launch day we 1619 page impressions. Over a total of 721 visits from 665 unique visitors. We hadn’t pre-promoted at all. I ensured that our google rank was good, and that the key words were correct. We then did spam post on twitter, a lot! I wrote a script that would send a tweet to every station saying ‘Have you seen what your smiley is?”. That in turn did get us a huge flurry of page hits (I was being geeky and monitoring in real time using Google Analytics).

The other metric of how well we did is that I ensured that any link that we posted to the homepage on twitter / facebook was using so that I could see what kind of effect the social media cross promoting was having.

I hope you can have a look at the site, let me or Toby know what you think!

[EDIT: Right at the end of the evening, (I went out in London on Thursday night, and got the train home at midnight.) On the train I happened to bump into Ryan Hunter, the SRA’s new South East Regional Officer and the new Station Manager for Radio Sonar. I don’t remember exactly how we got onto the topic but we were speaking to a random girl of similar age to ourselves, and it turns out that she (although we have no idea who she is, or what she does) filled out a RAJAR diary this quarter. She listens to a lot of Radio 1. She used to listen to 2-Ten FM (Heart Thames Valley) but she doesn’t like the adverts! Ahh, the youth! – Thanks for Ryan for reminding me I should add that in!! ]

Orion Media’s new tv adverts

Free Radio Hamster
Free Radio Hamster

Just something quick for the start of a 4 day week!

Over the weekend (during Britain’s Got Talent), Orion Media launched their new TV advert(s). Initially I was only aware of the Free Radio advert, which made sense given that it’s a new brand for the areas. Plus, as expected there is a tie-in game/competition to drive listeners. However I wasn’t aware that at the same time Orion was giving the tv treatment to its East Midlands former Heart franchise, Gem 106.

Putting the fact that it’s exactly the same advert for each aside for the moment, I am confused about one little thing: Why a hamster? Free Radio‘s ‘animal’ is clearly a frog. As we know from the on-air repositioning they’re “just changing the name”, but what does ‘Free’ mean? In my head, having the frog, on a lily pad jumping from one lily to the other, he’s free! – he could be listening to headphones too? I get that the counter argument here is that the hamster is Free when the female owner leaves the room, but I think that is perhaps a bit too subtle.

The next point is why Gem’s advert exactly the same? Same video, same  soundtrack, same hamster! I’m not 100% familiar with the market up north, however my assumption was that Gem 106, and Free Radio have a different music mix – otherwise why not rebrand Gem into Free?

If anyone knows the answers to these please let me know, I’m sure there are perfectly good reasons.

The two adverts are below – I also wonder whether a contra deal was made with Pure Evoke DAB radios too – enjoy!


Simply quite cool!


It’s probably not that often that Radio 2 is classed as ‘cool’, but this 40 second trailer, released today for BBC Radio 2’s 2Day is just that! The last line from Zoe Ball is brilliant!


Thanks to Brett Spencer for sharing it on Twitter.

Apply to host the National Student Radio Conference 2013

Demo Factor at the National Student Radio Conference 2012
Demo Factor at the National Student Radio Conference 2012

A whole week has passed since we were all in Bradford for the annual #sracon (should we rename it formally?).

Now, at the SRA, we are opening up entries for you to host the conference next year!

We have now opened the application process for stations that wish to host the 2013 conference. To help you prepare your proposals over the summer you might want to look at some of the documents below to give you an idea of how far the conference has come since 2009, and to give you some guidance on the kind of things we’re looking for!

All interested stations are asked to produce a conference proposal, which should be submitted electronically to the SRA Executive.

We are providing plenty of notice, so we will not accept late applications under any circumstances.

The host station for 2013 will be chosen and announced at the 2012 Student Radio Awards at the IndigO2 on Thursday 8th November.

Any questions, just ask!

2013 Conference Application and Guidelines Pack

Deadline for applications is 00:01 Saturday 18th August.


SRA Chair AGM Report


Well this year has been mixed! We started off in July with an entirely brand new elected team.

I started off in July and August having to pick up where the last years left off developing the key sponsorship connections for the Student Radio Awards 2011. This involved meetings, and number of emails and phone calls back and forth between myself and various contacts at BBC Radio 1, Global Radio, GMG, Absolute Radio and Bauer.

There is an unbelievable amount of politics almost pettiness about sponsorship of the Student Radio Awards. My aim for the awards, and for my tenure as Chair this year was to get as much of the industry to openly support student radio. I succeeded in this by having, at the awards in November representatives from: many areas of the BBC, GMG, Absolute Radio, Bauer, Amazing Radio, Tindle Radio, Orion Media, BFBS, UTV, Folder Media, MediaUK, RCS, RadioPlayer, Round2Creative, Wise Buddah, USP Content, Passion Radio Oxfordshire, Somethin’ Else, and music licensing company PPL! That’s almost 20 different companies from across the radio industry! Next year we’ll make it 20, as I can’t help but notice there’s one group that’s missing out on the party!

After the awards (well kind of overlapping) we started work on the National Student Radio Conference. I visited two of the three applicants stations. It was a surprisingly tough decision, where one location suffered, it surpassed in other aspects! Obviously you’re now aware we chose Bradford, and since November have been working with the team at RamAir 1350am to get to the point we are at now. My role in the conference has largely been to assist and coordinate the general aspects of the conference.

In December unfortunately our Web Officer, Scott Robinson, decided to step down from his role. Due to the state that we were in, and the unique hand-coded way that the website is written we decided that we wouldn’t advertise for a new Web Officer until the AGM. Until that time I have been doing that role. Not developing the site, but ensuring that the parts that we need work. A large part of this has meant that I have had to develop small bits of coding for the registrations for the conference.

In addition to the usuals (Awards and Conference), I have been constantly looking to improve the experience of the SRA for our members. Working with companies who are interested in partnerships with the SRA. For example there’s a company in London who is looking for interns and also looking at shortly offering ProTools training courses to our members. I have also continued DCW’s (previous Chair) strive towards getting more student radio stations on RadioPlayer. The stumbling block still at the moment is OfCom licensing but at the last Partnership meeting things looked like we could see progress during the next year. We’re hoping that the founding partners, (BBC, Global Radio, GMG Radio, Absolute Radio, and the RadioCentre) will allow, along with OfCom for an extended RadioPlayer agreement that non OfCom licensed SRA stations sign to ensure that they will comply with broadcasting standards.

Matt, our Finance Officer will give a more detailed report at the AGM however I have found one of the SRA’s main stumbling points this year has been money! The SRA never has any reserve funds. The majority of what we make on ticket sales and sponsorship goes back into event. This, I think is partly down to the fact that we always aim to keeps costs low to our members so we rarely put any markup on costs for our own expenditure. This, I feel, is something that will have to change in the next couple of years otherwise with the UK economy going the way it is managing SRA events will become increasingly difficult!

A great year with so much packed into it. Let’s do it again!

9/11 Remembering 10 Years On

Picture: Flickr: skinnylawyer
Picture: Flickr: skinnylawyer

I’m sure we all know that today is 10 years on from the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

By way of remembrance, and in a typical show of geekiness, I have uploaded some old audio from 2001.

I was 16 years old when this happened. Like so many others, can remember where I was when I heard the news, and where I was when I saw on TV the towers come crashing down.

I was still at school, we’d just come back to the boarding houses (yes I went to boarding school) from rugby training and saw a load of people crowding in the TV rooms. They were showing BBC news, the towers were both hit. I don’t think either were down at that point though.

That night, whilst doing evening study I recorded the radio. News Direct 97.3 was the only rolling news service I could get in ‘high’ quality. (DAB wasn’t around then!)
News Direct 97.3 is now called LBC 97.3. These recordings remind us how the event was covered while also letting us geek out at the old radio production! “Travel on the ones”.

Never Forget. Thoughts are with the friends, family and colleagues of all those who suffered 10 years ago.

News Direct 97.3 on 11th September 2001 by fredbradley

Social Media #RALondon Event


On Wednesday the Radio Academy put on another fantastic event, this time concentrating on Social Media (not sure if it should be capitals or not)! I went along to see what all the fuss was about.

The panel was chaired by Julian Worricker (presenter of You and Yours on BBC Radio 4) and consisted of Laura-May Coope (Social Media Producer at Yardling House), Matt Deegan (from Folder Media, Fun Kids and general radio blogger), Tony Moorey (Content Director at Absolute Radio) and Chris Hawkins (BBC 6Music presenter).

Like with many of these type of panel events about social media, there wasn’t much “new” going on. But there were a few new spins on the same idea. Here are just a few of my notes and thoughts.

1. While it gets tiresome to hear “You can call the show on 0845 xxx xxxx, email at [email protected], text me on 82345, tweet me @myradio or get on the facebook page ‘My Radio is Awesome’, here’s some Michael Buble…” there is a benefit to simply say “I’ve been reading your posts at…”. Doing this means that listeners still feel included because they know that you are taking in what they are saying. This was described best by Tony Moorey who explained at a Bon Jovi gig recently for Absolute Radio their facebook page was taken over by fans. It would have been impossible to simply read everyone’s out and you’d loose touch as by the time you read one, another 40 had been posted. But by Russ saying “I’ve been reading your posts” they started to write on the wall “He’s been reading our posts”

2. You don’t have to mention and read out all messages you get in. This would be a long and drawn out process. Instead, in order to push your audience around all the different platforms you broadcast on, you could publish some of the messages back to social media. EG. On facebook you could write “Just had a tweet from Jason saying he’s stuck for ideas this valentines day.. can we help him out?”

3. Matt Deegan suggested the best way to move followers forward on social media is on social media! – What would happen if presenters weren’t allowed to mention twitter or facebook on air but they still had to meet increase their followers.

4. Matt also pointed out (and I realise he’s been saying this for a while). The likely reason people interact and follow you on Facebook is probably because it’s a better user experience than your website!

5. Laura-May told us how Radio 1 purposely exist on a whole host of different social media platforms, but always think: “Where would users go if our website broke” – answer is likely to be facebook or twitter – so they provide content and information that you’d expect there as well. Exist on different channels in case one breaks.

6. You can always schedule tweets / facebook posts to promote whats coming up tomorrow. Eg – for breakfast.

7. Tony Moorey pointed out that the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show regularly post teaser videos for a big event to gain support and interactivity. It’s a story that listeners/audience can follow.

8. Tony also pointed out that because social media is public your facebook page acts like a shop window to your audience (customers) so your customer service has to be fantastic. Reply, message them back, be personal. A great example of excellent customer service on twitter is @BTCare.

Finally a few other notes that were mentioned – that aren’t really about social media, but were interesting things that came out of the meeting. Real Radio are now taking Ryan Seacrest‘s syndicated show.

For an interesting read check out Planet Rock’s facebook page on a Friday afternoon.

Absolute are questioning how much you could charge for comercial mentions on Facebook – they had a meeting last week that discussed this.

Fred wins a DAB RAdio
Thanks to @AbsoluteRadio and @RadioAcademy

All in all a really interesting #RALondon event, and at the end of the day I won a DAB Radio, just for writing this! Whoop Woop! You can listen back to the audio of the whole event here!

Some things from Work


Been a while since my last ‘Work’ post.

A lot’s been going on. We gave away a load of tickets to Take That’s Progress Tour. We also had an OB from Clapham Common’s Big Dip!

We’ve had many guests on, but I’ve never got to hold a special guest before, so last week was particularly special. We had THE Olympic Torch come to the studio. (Yes, one of the 22 replicas!). I can tell you all about it. It’s got 8000 holes, representing the 8000 torchbearers that will carry the flame. It’s got three sides, representing the 3 times that London has/will hold the Olympics! The three sides also represent the 3 Olympic Values!

Yes yes, very interesting! But look at the photo! 🙂

[Edit: PS – Yes I know it’s quite a boring, and corporate post – take a click on some of the links!]

My Trip to the Beggars Opera


Last night Louise and I went to the Regents Park Open Air Theatre. It was the last night of ‘Beggars Opera‘.

Dad had a pair of tickets that he passed to us. I had no idea what to expect – not overly keen on opera I wasn’t very enthused.

It wasn’t an opera in the traditional Latin sense. The venue was extremely good. Drinks prices hugely over priced (was something like £4.70 for 330ml Stella).

Well, Louise really enjoyed it. We had great seats – right in the middle of the stage about 3 rows back – and the best news of the night was that it didn’t rain!

Not a play that I’d ever go back and see again though, not hugely keen on old cockney accents, dislike shouting, and not a fan of un-needed violence. (If you’ve seen Beggar’s Opera, you’ll now realise that I don’t really fit in!)

I did however really appreciate the set design, and the mechanics. It was a production that my old Theatre teacher Nicholas Connolly (I’d love to know where he is now) would have loved. They made really good use of all parts of the stage, even with limited props and design. They also made use of the interval, by always being in character the whole way through. (EG. When they moved the set around at the interval, they didn’t have stage-hands dressed in black to lift boxes, and unbolt things. They had the actors come on stage in character!)

The second half of the film was marred by the annoying couple behind me who were talking pretty much the whole way through! (Think they had a few glasses of wine in the interval!)

However they soon stopped talking when in the last scene, eight of the cast members who all had their necks in gallows jumped and fell hanging from the neck! Extremely good effect, a shame that on 3 of the 8 members you could see the red safety harness across their shoulders.

It was nice to go out for the evening! I’d love to see a slightly more modern play there next time.

[Photo from:]

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