Sunday, December 10, 2006

In Honor of Iain Lee

For the next couple of weeks, my "top friends," on Myspace, will be dedicated to "The 3 and 1/2 Hour, 3 to 6:30, Iain Lee Afternoon Wireless Show" (Blogger readers can view my Myspace at: ). This is in recognition of the demise of Iain's "Afternoon Wireless Show," due to management blunder. The show, which airs on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177 and via the net, at: ) has been the best thing on UK radio, for just over a year. LBC's management have decided to move Iain to the 7PM -10PM slot. I think this is a major mistake.
Iain was originally given the afternoon drive-time show, which is radio prime-time, to try to draw a new audience to LBC. It worked. I used to listen to LBC for no more than thirty minutes per day; fifteen minutes each way, while driving to and from work. Iain got me listening hours per day. He motivated me to tune in LBC, in the house, and not just listen in the car. I also started listening to other presenters, as well as calling in and emailing. In general, I became a much more active listener and Iain deserves the credit.
In typical radio management fashion, I suspect that LBC management have not been entirely comfortable with Iain's show. It's different from what they are used to. A bit edgy, it nudged them out of their comfort zone. Another mistake they may be making is in thinking that the eccentric callers Iain and producer, Agent Chris, put on air are typical of the people listening. They aren't. The majority of listeners don't call in. They listen passively. Management have decided that, given the type of listener Iain draws, the show would be better placed in the evening. I think they are mistaking the callers as being representative of the listeners. Sure, the mentals who comprise the majority of the regular callers will follow Iain to just about any time slot, but I suspect a lot of the high value listeners won't. In afternoon-drive, Iain was able to pull from a large potential audience. It was a good time to listen to radio, as there isn't much good on television at that time and most employed people are driving, where they can't watch TV. At 7PM to 10PM, Iain will be competing with prime-time Television. I fear this will cut down on Iain's audience. I am not wishing it will, but I fear it will.
Iain also motivated me to start using Myspace. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be on Myspace and would have never started this blog. It will be interesting to see how the move affects Iain's ratings and how the ratings on the afternoon drive slot are affected. My guess is that both will be reduced and that, from a radio management perspective, will not be an improvement. But let's not focus on the negative. Let's spend the next couple of weeks honoring the comedic star of UK radio.


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