Introduction

Grant Goddard is a radio broadcasting expert with a lengthy track record of creating successful, innovative radio stations and programmes. He has worked in the radio industry for several decades as a senior manager and consultant, both in the UK and overseas, for some of the world’s largest media owners. As an independent media analyst, he writes extensively about the radio business for consumer and trade magazines, books and sector reports for stakeholders. 

Firsts

• Managed launch of first UK commercial radio station to target a youth audience, first UK radio station licensed with a black music / dance music format (KISS FM London)
• Created & implemented first Contemporary Hit Radio music format at a UK local commercial radio station (Metro Radio Newcastle)
• Consultant to launch of first commercial radio network in India (Radio City)
• Launched first national commercial radio station in Hungary (Radio Juventus)
• Analysed & published first UK market-by-market radio station rankings from audience data (in rpm Weekly)
• Authored first book to document the two-decade campaign by pirate radio for a black music station to be licensed in London (‘KISS FM: From Radical Radio To Big Business’)
• Produced first weekly independent music chart show on UK radio (Metro Radio Newcastle)
• Produced first monthly UK music radio programme syndicated to Japanese radio (for Rough Trade Distribution)
• Produced first DJ mix show on licensed UK radio (for Richie Rich on KISS FM London)
First journalist to compile & publish weekly updated listing of London pirate radio stations from monitoring (in City Limits)
First presenter to play roots reggae & African music on London pirate radio

U.K. Commercial Radio

• Negotiated 10% ongoing reduction to cost of commercial radio sector’s RAJAR audience research (for RadioCentre)
• Member of team that negotiated 17% ongoing reduction to commercial radio sector’s transmission costs (with Enders Analysis for RadioCentre)
• Researched & wrote John Myers’ report for UK government Digital Britain consultation, leading to legislation that substantially reduced regulation of commercial radio stations
• Advised commercial radio sector on negotiations of music copyright agreements with PRS, PPL & MCPS (for RadioCentre)
• Advised Daily Mail & General Trust on its significant shareholding in largest UK commercial radio group GCap Media plc, which led to its sale to Global Radio Limited (for Enders Analysis)
• Initiated and co-ordinated successful campaign lobbying the government to release FM frequencies for new local commercial radio stations in London (with Heddi Greenwood for KISS FM London)
• Co-ordinated three successful funding applications to UK government Technology Strategy Board for online radio projects (partnerships with Festival Productions, Imagination Technologies, Mixcloud, Reciva, Sharpstream, UK Radioplayer & University of Westminster)

Radio Station Launch/Turnaround Strategies

KISS FM London: launch achieved 1,000,000+ listeners per week within six months (one of most successful UK radio station launches)
Radio 7 Moscow: turnaround from last to #3 commercial station with 1,000,000+ listeners per week in a market of 40+ stations
Radio Juventus Hungary: launched to become #1 ranked station in country with 34% adult weekly reach & 1,000,000+ listeners
Radio City India: launched to become #1 commercial network in country (47,000,000+ listeners per week)
Radio Skonto Latvia: turnaround to #1 Latvian-language station in country
Metro Radio Newcastle: turnaround to become commercial radio station with fastest growing audience in UK

Sector Forecasts

• Created UK’s most sophisticated model for forecasting commercial radio sector audiences & revenues
• Only media analyst to correctly forecast that DAB digital switchover would never happen in UK
• Only media analyst to correctly forecast long-term declines in UK commercial radio sector listening & revenues
• Only media analyst to correctly forecast Conservative government expenditure cutbacks would have huge negative impact on UK commercial radio revenues
• Only media analyst to correctly forecast that merger of Capital Radio plc & GWR Group plc into GCap Media plc would prove financially disastrous
• Only media analyst to correctly forecast that Channel 4 Television’s digital radio venture would fail
• Only media analyst to correctly forecast that Virgin Radio held little value & that its re-launch as Absolute Radio would not succeed

Author/Presenter/Speaker

Authored 1,000+ analyst reports, commentaries, articles in the trade & consumer press about radio sector issues
Authored two books about the UK radio sector: ‘KISS FM: From Radical Radio To Big Business‘, ‘DAB Digital Radio: Licensed To Fail
• Invited to make presentations at UK/international conferences: EBU Digital Radio Conference, AER Annual Conference, egta AGM & General Assembly, Music 4.5 ‘Smart Radio’ Conference, RadioCentre Members’ Conference, DCMS Digital Radio Stakeholders’ Group Consumer Panel
Interviewed by BBC Radio Four (including ‘Today’, ‘PM’, ‘The Media Show’), BBC Five Live, 40 local BBC stations, Channel 4 News, community radio, national newspapers & trade/consumer magazines
Creator/founder of UK’s longest running monthly black music magazine Free! (later renamed Touch)
Creator/publisher of weekly UK radio industry newsletter (Radio News)
Authored successful KISS FM London incremental local FM radio licence application

Regulation

Commissioned to research & author first report on BBC acquisitions of UK independent radio productions (for BBC Trust)
Invited to present written & oral evidence to House of Lords Communications Select Committee on digital radio switchover
Invited to present written & oral evidence to Competition Commission inquiry into local commercial radio ownership
Commissioned to collate & analyse radio sector datasets for first Ofcom Communications Market Report
Evaluated local commercial radio licence applications & recommended licence awards to Members’ Board of The Radio Authority

Market Research

• Devised & executed 100+ ad hoc market research studies for radio station launch/turnaround strategies in UK, Europe and Asia
• Evaluated & critiqued market research commissioned by local commercial radio licence applicants (for The Radio Authority)
• Consultant to BBC World Service Trust, radio station owners and stakeholders on market research and questionnaire design to understand radio audiences
• Managed auditorium tests/market research of 1000’s of songs in India, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic & Latvia to compile radio station playlists

Copyright

• Researched & authored expert witness statements for the long, complex and groundbreaking PRS case before the Copyright Tribunal considering online music streaming music copyright royalty rates
• Consultant to PRS & RadioCentre concerning music copyright agreements between the UK commercial radio sector & rights owners
• Project managed production of government-funded prototype online one-stop site for radio businesses to obtain multiple music copyright licences

Music Industry

• Discovered singer Ofra Haza in Israel, promoted her recordings in UK, managed first UK promotion tour, achieved UK Top 20 single
• Worked for Rough Trade Records director Scott Piering, promoting independent record releases to radio, & achieved several UK Top 20 singles
• Created & managed distribution of 100’s of ‘World Music Information Packs’ to listeners of Charlie Gillett’s world music show on Capital Radio London
• Invited to serve as jury member for Juno music awards in Canada

Radio Production/Management Training

Trained team of 50+ programming staff from London pirate radio to launch new commercial radio station (for KISS FM London)
Trained teams without prior radio experience in India, Russia, Hungary and Latvia to launch & manage commercial music radio stations (for Star TV and Metromedia International Inc.)
Trained production teams in Cambodia to create, manage and market live phone-in and magazine radio shows (for BBC World Service Trust)

DAB Radio Switchover: Dead As The Dodo

In 2004, I wrote my first article predicting that the UK’s implementation of DAB digital radio was headed for failure. It was not guesswork. I had analysed radio industry data since 1980. I had worked  at The Radio Authority when it implemented DAB. I had worked  in Ofcom’s radio division. I had seen DAB from inside and outside the regulator and the commercial radio industry. Only five years after its launch, the available evidence demonstrated that DAB was headed for disaster in the UK.

I continued to write about DAB – in press articles, in analyst reports, in my blog, in my book ‘DAB Digital Radio: Licensed To Fail’ – and to talk about DAB in radio and TV interviews. I did this not because I was ‘anti-DAB’ or a ‘campaigner’ (as some described me), but because my work as a media analyst requires me to carefully examine the facts and figures and to document their consequences. I had nothing to gain personally from stating evident truths.

Between 2004 and today, the UK radio industry could have scrutinised the growing collection of analyses that demonstrated DAB consumer take-up was failing. It could have taken firm, decisive action to transform DAB radio from failure to success. It chose not to. Instead, I found myself on the receiving end of abuse, slander and libel.

Two years ago, I stopped writing about UK radio in this blog because ‘Jimmy’s and ‘John’s were pasting my analyses into their press articles, blogs and corporate statements, uncredited and without permission. Those same people then e-mailed me to ask why I was no longer updating my blog!

I write today only to bookend this blog. In recent months, it has been interesting to witness some of my ‘critics’ make a 180-degree turn and suddenly herald the imminent non-event of DAB radio switchover, whilst citing my analyses (uncredited) in support of their newly adopted viewpoint.

I wrote about DAB because I consider that this single issue has contributed more to the decline of the UK radio industry than all other sector issues combined. Thousands of experienced radio professionals have lost their jobs. Hundreds of genuinely local radio stations have disappeared. Much radio in the UK has become a shadow of its former self. The medium is suffering rapidly declining appeal to those aged under 30. The industry that I have worked in since 1972 is on the rocks. Most of the blame for this sorry state of affairs can be laid directly at the UK radio industry’s single-minded pursuit of DAB since the 1990s, at the expense of all other objectives and at a cost of more than £1bn.

Excerpt from client presentation by Grant Goddard in January 2012

In 2011, I had been invited by the government’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS] to participate in a consumer panel as part of its consultations about DAB switchover. Addressing an audience of industry stakeholders, I predicted that the government would kick the DAB radio switchover decision into the long grass in 2013. I made the same prediction in my presentation to the board of one of the UK’s largest commercial radio companies [see above].

After the close of the DCMS stakeholder session, its chairperson, a civil servant in the DAB radio switchover section, leaned over to me and said something along the lines of: “You really shouldn’t be writing the things you do. People don’t like it, you know, and it is making them angry.”

She is one of a select group of people in DCMS, Ofcom, Digital Radio UK, the BBC and RadioCentre who have earned their livings by pumping out factually incorrect reports supporting their fiction that DAB radio is a massive UK success story and that DAB switchover is inevitable. Public money and BBC Licence Fees have paid many of these people for years to mislead the public and the media about DAB radio.

Anyone with knowledge of the UK radio industry and training in statistics could have concluded from available data during the last decade that the implementation of DAB radio in the UK was headed for disaster. My analyses were not ‘rocket science’. What riled the army of DAB propagandists was that my published analyses directly contradicted their bullshit. The final e-mail sent to me by the chief executive of the Digital Radio Development Bureau (forerunner of Digital Radio UK) said:

“If you are going to deliberately mis-use the information we provide to you to construct as negative a view as possible with cheap shots like those below then we just won’t co-operate with you in the future.”

He saw only “cheap shots”, rather than evidential analysis, in my 2008 Q2 commercial radio sector report published by Enders Analysis, which had said:

“Although it remains the most popular platform for digital radio, ‘DAB’ usage seems to be steadfastly stuck at 9.0% of total commercial radio listening, dwarfed by the continued dominance of analogue radio (69.2%). Whilst 87% of households now have access to digital TV, and 67% have access to the internet, DAB penetration remained static at 27.3% in Q2 2008. Sales of DAB receivers have failed to continue the momentum demonstrated in Q1 2008, unit sales having slowed to 108,000 in June 2008, their lowest monthly level since June 2007. With sales of DAB receivers still concentrated mainly in the Christmas period, the imminent danger is that the hardware’s relatively high average ticket price, combined with the effects of the consumer ‘squeeze’, could impact the much needed winter 2008 sales peak (552,000 units sold in December 2007).

Despite the sterling efforts of the Digital Radio Working Group (convened by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport) over the past eight months, the radio industry, as yet, seems no closer to finding an immediate solution to the problem of slow DAB take-up than it was a year ago. Although all parties agree that it is ’content’ that will drive consumers to purchase DAB radios, the major radio groups have still not unveiled any plans to stimulate the consumer market with new digital radio brands.”

Five years on, the numbers may have changed but the unresolved problems with DAB radio remain exactly the same. My analyses and predictions during the last decade have proven correct … while a small army of DAB propagandists have been paid handsomely during that time to produce a massive volume of ‘South Sea bubble’ hot air about DAB radio, partly paid for from public funds. Doubtless they will be rewarded for their failure.

Selected writings on DAB radio:
·         Channel 4: Radio Ambitions Aim Too HighEnders Analysis, July 2007
·         Digital Radio Switchover: Somewhere Over The Rainbow?, Enders Analysis, October 2007
·         The Future Of Digital Radio: Is It DAB?Enders Analysis, January 2008 
·         Tuned Into The Future Of Radio, Broadcast, June 2008
·         DAB Radio: Nice Platform, Shame About The Take-UpEnders Analysis, June 2008 
·         The Second National Digital Radio Multiplex: Waiting For Godot?Enders Analysis, October 2008
·         Channel 4 Radio: Six Feet UnderEnders Analysis, October 2008 
·         The Digital One Radio Multiplex: Desperately Seeking SubsidyEnders Analysis, October 2008 
·         Talking Radio: Grant Goddard [Channel 4 Radio], Broadcast, October 2008
·         In The Ditch With DAB Radio, The Register, December 2008
·         Digital Radio In The UK: Progress And ChallengesEBU 3rd Digital Radio Conference, June 2009
·         Germans And Swiss Snub DAB, The Register, London, July 2009
·         ‘Digital Britain’ And The Radio Sectoregta Radio Newsletter no.16, November 2009
·         DAB Radio In The UK: It Ain’t What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do ItRadio Today ‘e-Radio’, April 2010
·         DAB Is Dead, Index On Censorship, June 2010
·         DAB Digital Radio: Licensed To Fail, Radio Books, October 2010
·         Response to Ofcom consultation: ‘An Approach To DAB Coverage Planning’, UKRD Group Ltd. et al, September 2011