Radio consultant? Radio analyst? Radio expert? Radio specialist? Radio manager? Radio trainer? Radio author? Radio journalist? Turnaround/station launch specialist? Someone knowledgeable about radio broadcasting? Radio nerd? …. Just what is the story?
My career in radio started when I created ‘Radio 4H’, writing scripts for my primary school classmates to read and record into the school tape recorder.
By secondary school, I had started handling phone lines for listeners to London weekend AM pirate radio stations, before recording ID jingles and presenting programmes for them that mixed pop, soul, reggae and African music.
My first paid job in radio was acting as Head of Music for Newcastle’s ‘Metro Radio’ where I introduced a then ‘revolutionary’ playlist system that rotated only a limited number of current hits and popular oldies, much to the horror of the presenters who until then had chosen their own songs. Metro Radio had been losing listeners but soon recorded the fastest growing audience of any UK commercial station (according to the IBA regulator). I was made redundant. The majority of UK commercial stations subsequently copied my playlist system.
After stints at ‘Voice of Peace’ (Israel), community cable station ‘Radio Thamesmead’ and London’s ‘Capital Radio’, I was invited to join London weekend FM black music pirate station ‘KISS FM’ which had a huge underground following but was invisible to the wider world. I initiated marketing to mainstream media, campaigned for the government to offer new London radio licences and co-ordinated its second licence application. All three activities proved successful. As Programme Director, I launched the new commercial ‘KISS FM’ and attracted one million listeners within its first six months, the most successful UK station launch of the 1990s. I had also introduced EMAP/Bauer as a major investor which later bought out the station’s other shareholders. I was made redundant. Several UK stations (notably ‘Galaxy Radio’ and ‘BBC 1Xtra’) subsequently copied the format I had created and poached staff I had trained and mentored.
I was invited to join US public corporation Metromedia International Inc owned by America’s then richest man John Kluge. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it acquired newly privatised radio stations in Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia, Czech Republic and Germany to turn them into profitable businesses. I joined at the start of this venture and spent four years as a full-time consultant in these countries creating and implementing turnaround strategies. The resultant stations were so successful that the corporation President asked me to formally fill the role of Vice President that I had been performing without a title. I travelled to its New York office to sign the contract and there … I was made redundant.
There is plenty more (and more redundancies!) to tell but, for now, this is probably enough. Here is a summary of my working life with links to relevant documentation ….
10+ years international experience … Europe (Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Russia) … Middle East (Israel) … Asia (India, Cambodia) … Caribbean (Jamaica) … hired by Metromedia International Inc, Star TV, BBC World Service Trust … case studies
Research & authoring … ghosted John Myers’ report on future regulation of local commercial radio for Digital Britain … First report on independent radio production commissioning for BBC Trust … First report on creating a UK live radio broadcast archive for British Library … Forensic report on DAB digital radio switchover for UKRD Group … First book to document history of London black music pirate radio stations … Dozens of media analyst reports and presentations for publication and international conference appearances.
Research & creation of formats for large-scale radio station launches & turnarounds … Radio City, India’s first commercial radio FM network … Radio 7 Moscow improved its market ranking from #35 to #3 with 1+ million listeners/week … Radio Juventus, Hungary’s first national commercial radio station launched with 1+ million listeners/week … Cambodia national state radio‘s first live phone-in show … FM 102 Phnom Penh’s first live youth magazine programme … KISS FM London, UK’s first commercial youth radio station launched with 1+ million listeners/week … RootsRockReggae Jamaica launched amongst Top 5 global most listened internet reggae stations.
Planning & execution of market research projects … 100+ market research projects in Europe & Asia to create successful radio stations, converting insights from qualitative and quantitative research, focus groups, interviews and music testing into strategies into action into results.
Management & analysis … mentoring … training … budgets (UK radio) … commercial FM radio licence applications (London, Swansea, Hull, Warwick, Ipswich, Northallerton) … business plans … funding applications (to UK government’s Technology Strategy Board, NESTA) … regulatory documents (for Independent Broadcasting Authority, Radio Authority, Ofcom, overseas media regulators) … submissions to government (Competition Commission, House of Lords) … radio station content analyses (BCR FM, QuayWest FM) … radio market analyses (Budapest, Manchester, Tallinn, Vilnius) … radio audience data analysis (UK commercial radio) … music copyright licensing (Totally Radio) … podcasts (evidence to Copyright Tribunal) … internet radio (evidence to Copyright Tribunal)