Mags behind the mic: Emap enjoys digital radio success

Emap Radio is celebrating a year-on-year rise in listeners for all its magazine spin-off radio stations in this quarter, paving the way for the launch of Closer Radio next year.

According to the latest radio listening figures released by Rajar, the spin-off of Emap’s weekly rock title, Kerrang! Radio, was up 2.8 per cent year on year and now has a weekly audience of 1.38 million. Digital-only stations for monthly music titles, Q and Mojo, were up 2.2 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

The biggest rise came from Heat Radio, which increased its reach by 39.6 per cent year on year to 413,000.

The figures relate to the period from July to September this year, before the digital-only Heat Radio relaunched and began working more closely with the magazine journalists and including more celebrity news and gossip.

Emap Radio group programme director Mark Story said that working closely with magazine staff has been key to all the stations’ success.

‘What we did some time ago was almost take the brand names and use them to associate with radio stations that were close to them in terms of music policy,’he said.

‘What we’re trying to do now is quite different – we’re working with the people that make the magazine and getting them to be part of what goes out on air, which is as relevant as what is printed in the magazine.”

Currently, Q editor Paul Rees hosts a show on Q Radio; Mojo Radio uses Mojo magazine staff as experts; and Kerrang! Radio shares some resources with the magazine.

Heat Radio is part of a converged magazine and radio operation, with a studio embedded in the magazine office. Journalists from the print and online operation contribute to radio shows and provide news bulletins.

Emap lifestyle-branded radio station Closer Radio will be launching on the second national commercial digital radio multiplex next year.

Story said: ‘We’re going to do a lot more specials with [the magazines] and work together to make things into bigger events.

‘Certainly in terms of building

content, I think we’re beginning to understand what the model for that is and how that can work.”

Emap is currently under strategic review and accepting bids for all its component parts, with the likely outcome that the radio and magazine arms will be sold off separately.

Story insisted this would not affect the magazine-branded radio

stations. ‘I don’t think we’d have any problem with that at all,’he said. ‘We have thought about it, and there would be a licensing agreement.”

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