Death by Smooth Radio

I don’t listen to Smooth Radio. I’m far too young to want to listen to 30 safe dreary oldies being played over and over again.

But I have heard of some of the ‘superstar’ DJs or presenters they had. Pat Sharp and David ‘Kid’ Jenson were on personality based radio, such as BBC Radio 1 and Capital EffEmm or Radio Luxembourg back 200 years ago when I was a little hatchling.

In recent times Smooth Radio has been swallowed up by the biggest of all radio Borg organisations, London biased Global Radio, known within the industry as Global Borg. When Global Borg gets its hands on a radio station format, it, in similar fashion to the Borg from the Star Trek universe, immediately homogenises and stamps on any identity, individuality or personality.

For some inexplicable reason, probably something to do with the personal preferences of those at the top who failed as radio presenters, the organisation seems to have a policy of personality hatred.

Hero Tony Blackburn, far too good for Smooth Radio

Every radio station absorbed into the Global Borg has lost its sparkle. And whatever retaining qualities Smooth Radio once had that attracted the love and loyalty of the listeners, were immediately eliminated by the Borg once the ‘brand’ had been assimilated.

Pat Sharp and David Jenson both, fatally, had personalties. The first thing they were told to do when Smooth was assimilated was to shut up. They did, speaking only a few times an hour, and sounding like they were just reading out platform alterations at a railway station.

Time passed and suddenly both were sacked, instantly replaced by people who nobody had heard of, with corporate generic voices that nobody will remember, reading the corporate liners. Human beings are being ‘disappeared’ as ‘presenters’ and replaced by ‘announcers’.

The Global Borg love ‘announcers’. Any radio station or ‘brand’ they assimilate has the personality bypass as soon as possible, especially for the daytime broadcasts. Sometimes night time still has ‘presenters’, but not often. Brands (or ‘stations’ as the human race call them) such as Choice (now Capital Xtra) which were identifiable as a specialist station, pretty soon became personality-less jukeboxes.

The masterplan with the Smooth ‘brand’ is to take on and win in the ratings wars against against the Magic ‘brand’. Magic is a ‘brand’ that was assimilated by a rival Borg, Bauer.

The Borg battlefield is, of course, always London. Areas outside of London don’t exist. So, the music on Smooth has been changed to challenge Magic as Global Borg battles Bauer Borg.

Years ago radio stations or ‘brands’ operated outside of London, reflecting the regional differences of the population’s tastes, needs and interests. These days almost ever radio station or ‘brand’ is originating from a studio in London. No attempt is made to serve the diverse interests of the UK.

The sad result of all this is the lack of diversity and difference. With Magic and Smooth sounding exactly the same in London, there’s actually a reduction in choice. Yeah, sure you can flip back and forth between two near identical stations, but what if you wanted a different flavour or ‘format’?

DAB is another place from where diversity has disappeared. Where once the Borg provided talking radio such as LBC, or there were stations catering for such musical tastes as, say, Jazz, all of the ‘differences‘ have gone.

All that’s left is the Borg battle of the blands.

And they say radio isn’t dying.



Categories: Media, Radio

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