July 5, 2015 by johnnyseifertradio
Last night Stephanie Hirst returned to the radio airwaves for the first time since she left hosting the biggest breakfast show out of London. Stephanie, or Simon as she was originally known was bringing in 1.4 million listeners daily to ‘Daily Dose Of Hirsty’ on Capital FM Yorkshire before transitioning last year.
Airing on a Saturday night from 22:00-00:00,Nothing But The 90’s broadcasts on BBC Manchester in direct competition with Sara Cox hosting her Sound Of The 80’s on BBC Radio 2. The show in isolation was a brilliant listen! The music playlist was great with some well known songs and some relatively unknown ones by artists that we may just know their bigger hits. More importantly, I trusted Stephanie. The links were perfect, I trusted that Stephanie had chosen the music. I trusted that Stephanie had a care for that song. I trusted that Stephanie wanted to be with us as her friends as we carried out a karaoke version of Madonna. But, most importantly, Stephanie had done her homework and it really came across. For example, before playing a Take That song from 1992, she referred to the fact that in Gary Barlow’s autobiography that he refuses to ever play the song as he is so embarrassed by it.
However, my problem was the station that was chosen to broadcast the show. When presenting a decade’s nostalgic show, the target audience is the audience who were merging from children to teenagers in that year
and who hold nostalgic memories of that time period. The BBC Manchester audience caters for the Daves’ and Sues’ who are too old for BBC Radio 2 aged 65+ and whom like to have some intellect. Therefore, why did BBC Manchester choose to air a show that has no relevance to their audience. Even more so, instead of hiding this fact, they had callers on to the station who were under 40 years old. My question here is, is this the potential audience they are really reaching out for? I am twenty-two and do listen to Iain Lee on BBC Three Counties Radio Breakfast Show, but I am not there target audience! I am not local to the area nor am I being spoken to but it is an enjoyable show. I am not going to help their RAJAR’s or reach out to Jonathan Vernon-Smith mid-morning as I like the Breakfast show. On the contrary, Heart FM made a brave decision in hiring TOWIE star Mark Wright to host their Club Classics show. Mark has a massive following from a teenage audience who are the next generation of Heart listeners and it helped them become aware of the stations output. However, I felt that in this case from looking at Twitter the audience of the show were from Stephanie’s fan base and they would have followed her anywhere she went local radio, community radio, commercial radio or BBC national where she belongs.
See, the thing is that listeners are coming from all over the country who technically Stephanie is not talking to:
What I do not understand is why this show was not put on BBC Radio 2 either as an hour to go after or before Sara’s show to ease her in to a new audience. Over the past year, Stephanie has built up a new fan base and is seen much more as a celebrity now with appearances on Lorraine on ITV to name an example. This has meant that there is a listenership alongside her existing fan base already that would listen to her show no matter the station she appears on. It just does not make sense why a local BBC radio station would do it. The only thing I can think of is that with budget cuts that local BBC Radio will have at some point in the future we will have Mark Forrest hosting 19:00-21:00 followed by a weekday music decades show with Stephanie from 21:00-23:00 before BBC Five Live networks from 23:00 through the night. But, if this is the case, why not start Stephanie with the 60’s and 70’s decades which are more targeted to the BBC Local Radio over demographic?
I will be listening again to the show because I love the decades and Stephanie but is that the right reason? Or should I be listening because of the radio station it broadcasts on and therefore be listening to more output from the station?
I want to know, what did you think about the show and the station choice?