Tuning In: See Radio Differently


In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, radio retains a unique place at the heart of popular culture. The British public have a strong emotional connection with radio as a source of music, news, entertainment and companionship. It also represents a powerful commercial platform for contemporary brands.

Love of radio  was broadcast loud and clear at the west end’s Ham Yard Hotel on Tuesday (17 May)  at our annual conference, a new-style gathering that launched last year, entitled Tuning In. The theme for this year’s conference was See Radio Differently. This is also the title of Radiocentre’s new advertising campaign, created by Lucky Generals, which was the big reveal of the morning.

Our bold new radio campaign is aimed directly at individual marketers, in a bid to persuade them to make more use of the medium. The first spot, which aired yesterday during breakfast shows across a number of stations, was a “shout out” to Keith Weed, the CMO of Unilever. In it, a hip hop artist raps “you can be the leader, Keith Weed from Unilever”, persuading Weed that radio is “OMG to the FMCG.”

The ad and featured marketer were deliberately kept under wraps until the first spot aired to help demonstrate how radio advertising can create fame.

The 60 second spot is running across national commercial stations including Absolute Radio, Heart, Capital, and Kiss FM. It ends with a call to “See radio differently at Radiocentre.org.” Additional executions, aimed at different marketers and using a range of musical genres, will be released in the coming weeks. The campaign, the first by Lucky Generals since winning the Radiocentre account in January, will be supported by outdoor, online, and print advertising, plus PR and social media.

Over the course of the morning, our speakers from across commercial radio and advertising discussed the pace of change in radio over the last few years, how radio remains a huge opportunity for advertisers and listeners alike, and how our industry in keeping up with that momentum. Chaired by Angie Greaves from Magic FM, the conference included the following speakers:

  • Radiocentre CEO, Siobhan Kenny kicked off the day, highlighted the fact that radio is in rude health, with 90% of the population tuning inand 18 new digital stations launched earlier this year. She thanked the Government for getting a regulatory review under way and looked forward to working constructively on that in the coming months.  The BBC White Paper has now been published including welcome proposals on distinctiveness and market impact.  And the Government had been very supportive on the campaign to improve consumer credit warnings on radio.  On the advertising side,  while fondness for radio is high, somehow big budgets never get committed to the medium.   Hence the launch of the new ad campaign, aiming to  remind advertisers of how great radio is.

  • Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio at Bauer Media, who talked about new and exciting opportunities for advertisers

  • Ollie Deane, Commercial Director of Global and Flora Williams from Dentsu Aegis explained the opportunities presented by digital audio

  • Phil Critchlow, Chair of the Radio Independents Group who provided examples of how independent producers can help radio operators do things differently

  • Andy Nairn of Lucky Generals, who introduced Radiocentre’s new See Radio Differently ad campaign
  • Tracey Follows, Futurist and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at The Future Laboratory. Her talk included how mindfulness has become part of the mainstream and the next big thing: “mind wandering”. You read it here first!
  • Alain de Botton, who gave a fascinating speech touching on the ambivalent nature of love, art and how advertising might be transformed to better match our needs

  • Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. He was joined in conversation with our Chairman, Kip Meek. They discussed how the BBC can be more distinctive. The Minister assured Kip that if the UK remains in the EU post referendum, the current government will continue to battle away in Brussels to reform the lengthy Ts&Cs in commercial radio advertising

  • Michael Hill, Managing Director of Radioplayer. He stressed that great cars need great radios and explained how Radioplayer revealed the scale of the outpouring of affection for David Bowie after his death. The Radioplayer technology enabled Mike to see all the music played in tribute to Bowie in one place for the first time. This brought home both the vast esteem in which the artist was held and the usefulness of Radioplayer’s technology.

Finally, Siobhan Kenny closed the event with the following comment: “The breadth of speakers and audience members at Radiocentre’s conference today demonstrates the amazing power of radio.    Our goal to “See Radio Differently” was certainly achieved today. Alain de Botton’s brilliant tour d’horizon on what advertising can learn from art – well we all need to listen to that again.”


We were joined on the day by our event partner, the newly formed Radio Trading Desk. If you didn’t get chance to speak to them on the day, would like to follow up with them or wish to find out more about them, visit RadioTradingDesk.com or email Hello@RadioTradingDesk.com


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