So it is today that #FreeRadio launches in the Midlands. And I’ve been reading some of the comments left by listeners on Facebook and Twitter.
Four radio stations – Wyvern (Herefordshire & Worcestershire), BRMB (Birmingham), Mercia (Coventry & Warwickshire) and Beacon (Shropshire) are all coming under one name.
That is the only change – nothing about the programmes is changing. Yet a lot of the comments are from listeners talking about the ‘death of local radio in the Midlands‘ – which is a load of rubbish! I find it quite comic that people take the view that they have lost their local stations, because, whether you listen to Wyvern, BRMB, Mercia and Beacon, your local Breakfast and Drivetime shows will still be on air. All the other shows have been networked from Birmingham for a few years now. Nothing’s changing about them, its just that this rebrand had brought the networking to your attention.
When I first heard about the name change, I was a little unsure as to what Free Radio stood for, and I hated the pink logo. However, in the last couple of weeks the advertising campaign has taken off. The logo has changed to a green frog, and looks quite good. One of the new jingles was posted on AudioBoo, and it doesn’t sound too dissimilar to the existing Wyvern/BRMB/Mercia/Beacon jingles. I have a much clearer view of where Free Radio stands and am actually quite excited about the rebrand.
Look at it this way: Dan Morrisey in the afternoon previously broadcast on four radio stations. If you live in Birmingham and drive outside the area, you might not have known that you can retune to Wyvern once you loose the BRMB signal. Now, you can retune to Worcestershire’s Free Radio frequency and you’re still listening to the same radio station.
I’m listening to Free Radio now, as it launched whilst I was typing this blog. It sounds very good. And the website, which has also just launched, looks 100 times better than the Wyvern/BRMB/Beacon/Mercia websites. I was felt the graphics on the sites weren’t that good.
Good luck to all at Free Radio in the future. And if you’re a listener still unsure about the name change, at least give it a try. You’ll soon notice that, when you look at what’s happening on air, it sounds exactly the same as the old radio stations, just with a different name and a fresh set of jingles.