To kick start the year on the blog, we have a very special post from none other than our Honorary Patron, Mr Paul Simpson – Enjoy!
Two of the central concepts we are concerned with in public relations are ‘reputation’ and ‘audience understanding’.
When I was Head of PR at BBC Radio 1, one of the things I was responsible for promoting was our music policy – the unique way that a licence fee funded radio station allows a radio station to play a greater diversity of tracks than a commercial radio station would attempt, to champion a greater number of new artists which the listeners might find a more difficult listen, and to play more live music, which can require more investment to get to air.
One of the ways that we brought the more challenging new tracks to a more mass audience was by using a playlist to schedule our music during the day. All radio stations use playlists, but whereas commercial radios can end up sounding rather ‘samey’ as a result, Radio 1 used its playlist to deliver new music to a wider audience, building a reputation for itself in the process. For Nick Grimshaw, Clara Amfo and Greg James today, read Zoe Ball, Sara Cox, Jo Whiley and Chris Moyles back in my day.
It occurred to me that we could use the process of putting together a radio playlist to explore these central concepts in PR of ‘reputation’ and ‘audience understanding’.
How are radio playlists and PR related?
Pluggers attempt to influence/lobby radio producers and DJs to support the tracks they are championing getting on the weekly playlist, decided at a collective meeting of the producers and DJs of BBC Radio 1 each week.
DJs and producers exercise their taste and knowledge as opinion leaders and how in touch they are with a particular genre (via the clubs, the internet, etc) by proposing tracks and arguing their case each week, at the weekly playlist meetings.
Record companies and artists want to get plays and a good position on the weekly playlist to generate a good number of plays each week on the radio, and in turn to encourage sales/downloads/clicks.
Radio stations want to help define their brand, and build a particular audience using the music they decide to put on their playlist. That playlist is then used to program a great deal of the output of the radio station each week. At BBC Radio 1, I was responsible for promoting how it helped champion new artists and genres that commercial radio stations would not have risked playing, and supporting investment in live music on-air – and the playlist helped build audiences for this.
If you would like to see more about how the playlist is used to schedule a day’s radio output, watch their video here.
If you would like to see this week’s current BBC Radio 1 playlist, see here
We at the PR Fraternity are going to create our own version of the playlist. We want you to champion two different types of tracks/artists to our equivalent of the weekly playlist meeting, to be put on two specific playlists we are compiling to help us:-
– one list will explore the concept of the reputation; #ReputationRadio
What track/artist do you think deserves the accolade of ‘all-time towering reputation’ above all others?
– one list will help us understand our audience – the membership of the PR Fraternity (each other) – through our taste in music; #PRplaylist
What music do you like listening to? Look at other people’s choices – can you judges a book by its cover?
- You can watch a short video to find out more about what you need to do here.
- You can see a slightly longer presentation here.
Reputation, for example, could be demonstrated by:-
– number of times the track has been covered by other artists;
– influence of that artist on popular culture or other musicians or genres;
– the power or poetry of the lyrics;
– the number of awards won by that track/artist, like the Grammys or Brits;
– your technical knowledge of that track (for example, it was the only time that artist recorded in the US);
or whatever you deem fit – there is no right or wrong answer.
If you want to know more about this, I will be covering it more in a session I will be doing for the PR Fraternity on Wednesday 27th January at 2pm in Room SL101.
Once you know your choices, you need to email them to me at paul@dutchHQ.com together with a sentence to justify each choice.
- You can start to see the Pinterest boards assembling at: https://www.pinterest.com/prfraternity/
- Look out for the #ReputationRadio and #PRplaylist boards
- Similarly, you can see the YouTube playlists – details coming soon.
Thank you – and look forward to hearing your choices!