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talkSPORT Radio

An in-depth presentation of the radio station talkSPORT that I focused my research upon as part of my AS Media Studies.

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talkSPORT Radio

  1. 1. TalkSPORT Radio OLIVIA GARNER
  2. 2. What is TalkSPORT Radio? Launched in 2000, talkSPORT is the world’s biggest sports radio station and is the Global Audio Partner of the Premier League. It’s the only national radio station broadcasting sport 24 hours a day, it broadcasts brings passionate and informed coverage of the most exciting sports events of the year, as well as interviews with the biggest names in the sporting world from specialised presenters and special guests. Most importantly, in the UK, the station is an official broadcaster of the Barclays Premier League, the FA Cup, England internationals, the Capital One Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby. talkSPORT has never had more live football broadcast rights, than now, as it is broadcasting major Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup games, as well as two Premier League matches almost every weekend throughout the season and key England fixtures too! Globally, talkSPORT broadcasts live commentary of every Barclays Premier League match all around the world in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Mandarin, as well as key FA Cup and Capital One Cup matches.
  3. 3. Where did it start? The station was originally launched as ‘Talk Radio UK’ on February 14th 1994, with the first ever broadcast being the Talk Radio Breakfast show presented by Sean Bolger and Samantha Meah. Original Presenters included: Scott Chisholm, Tommy Boyd, Anna Raeburn, Gary Newborn, Terry Christian and Dale Winton. Also, Caesar the Geezer and Wild Al Kelly, were dubbed as shock jock style presenters for the show, and presented slightly different programmes, such as ‘Caeser the Geezer's phone-in’. A year later, it launched a new breakfast show, presented by Carol McGiffin and Paul Ross and former BBC Radio 1 DJ Simon Bates joined the station too.
  4. 4. How did they transition to sports radio? They purchased their first sports event rights, for the broadcast of the Football League, from BBC Radio Five Live for the 1997/98 season. Then, they broadcast their first FIFA World Cup from France in 1998, as they bought the Sky Sports commentary team in to commentate on the major matches. Talk Radio also acquired up the rights to broadcast Manchester United matches in the Champions League for the 1998/99 season.
  5. 5. Who Originally Owned It? Originally, The Wireless Group owned it, but on 12th November, 1998, TalkCo Holdings purchased it (who was consortium of companies such as MVI and LMC Radio, headed up by chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie the former editor of The Sun newspaper.) They purchased the Group and consequently the radio station for £15.5miliion in 1998! This led to a mass clear out of presenters including with them putting in place a more sports oriented programming schedule, including ‘The Sportszone’ with different presenters and former Century Radio sports editor Dave Roberts presenting the weekend edition of The Sports Breakfast. The company became the fifth largest UK radio group when it purchased The Radio Partnership in 1999, gaining control of its nine local commercial stations. In 2000 the station Talk Radio was relaunched as talkSPORT.
  6. 6. 2000 Relaunch In late 1999, TalkCo, announced a relaunch of Talk Radio to become the UK's first national commercial sports radio station called ‘TalkSPORT’. They wanted to relaunch the station with a pure focus on delivering quality sports radio in the UK. The relaunch occurred at midnight on 17 January 2000 and was accompanied by the station moving from Oxford Street to a new studio in Hatfields on the South Bank of London at the same time.
  7. 7. Programme Changes Also, the programme line-up was drastically altered, with a new greater focus on football, beginning the broadcasting day with The Sports Breakfast show, a mid-morning motoring show called The Car Guys, then with further sports programming in the afternoon and evening. Almost all the station's talk show presenters were axed at the time, including The Big Boys Breakfast with David Banks and Nick Ferrari, with only James Whale, Ian Collins, and Mike Dickin surviving the cuts.
  8. 8. Sporting Events TalkSPORT purchased the rights to broadcast: Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle in the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup England football internationals UEFA Cup England's winter cricket Tours to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and India Rights to the Super League Rugby League World Cup World Title Boxing Fights.
  9. 9. Current Ownership - UTV In May 2005, it was announced that the Northern Ireland media company UTV plc (now UTV Media) had made an agreed offer to buy the company, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. In June 2005 the takeover proceeded, with McKenzie being replaced by UTV executive Scott Taunton. On 12 September 2005 it was announced that the company was to be rebranded as UTV Radio. The management at talkSPORT is: Callum Macaulay Managing Director Liam Fisher Programme Director Laurie Palacio PM Executive Producer
  10. 10. Current Programming The weekday schedule begins with the award winning morning's sports news, debate and reaction on The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. Every weekday from 6- 10am Alan brings listeners a mixture of exclusive interviews, fun, frolics, debate and the latest sports news to sprinkle on your cornflakes Colin Murray takes over from 10am until 1pm with exclusive interviews, hot debate and humour surrounding the day’s sport. Hawksbee & Jacobs present through the afternoon with sports gossip, interviews, big comedy names and chat focused upon unusual sports. This is followed by Drive Time with talkSPORT’s voice of football Adrian Durham and ex-cricketer Darren Gough round-up the day's sports news with debate. Kick Off, hosted by Mark Saggers, then guides listeners through the evening's sporting action with live commentary and discussion, from 7pm during the week and Richard Keys and Andy Gray doing the same on Fridays. The Sports Bar at 10pm where Andy Goldstein hosts and takes further phone-calls and casual debate on The Sports Bar, post-match wind down. Then they hand over to the late night team, including Mike Graham and Russell Hargreaves with Extra Time, an overnight sports show with news, interviews and action from around the globe.
  11. 11. Weekend Programming If you need live football, Match Day Live, provides exclusive commentary of two Barclays Premier League matches on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon Stan Collymore and Sam Matterface deliver live commentary of the 3pm match live from the ground and bring listeners all the excitement of the pre-match build-up as well as the elation and deflation in the post match phone-in. On Saturday and Sunday, Talksport has full coverage of the weekend's sport, Georgie Bingham and Micky Quinn kick off the action starting with The Weekend Sports Breakfast. Following them at 11am is The Warm Up, hosted by Johnny Vaughan on Saturday and Max Rushden on Sunday; the show takes a humorous look at the day’s sport with fun features and studio . Every weekend, you can follow the latest news and scores from around the grounds on Matchday Live and Sunday Exclusive, including live Premier League commentary, followed by a post-match phone- in hosted by Stan Collymore on Call Collymore and The Press Pass on Sundays, a quick-witted analysis of the week's sports stories combined with reaction to all the Premier League action hosted by Ray Stubbs
  12. 12. Specialist Programming TalkSPORT also broadcasts specialist programming, including Up The League presented by Geoff Peters, My Sporting Life with Danny Kelly, an in-depth interview with sporting legends, and Full Contact with Brian Moore a regular rugby-based magazine show. Then there’s long-running fishing-based phone in, Fisherman's Blues, hosted by Nigel Botherway, Howzat!, a cricket show with Dominick Cork Fight Club, a monthly boxing programme hosted by Gareth A. Davies!
  13. 13. Key Events September 2011: TalkSPORT broadcast the 2011 Rugby World Cup, with exclusive commentary of all 48 matches in New Zealand. November 2012: TalkSPORT secured exclusive broadcast rights in the UK to the 2013 British and Irish Lions Australian Tour. June 2014: TalkSPORT broadcast the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with live commentary of all 64 matches in Brazil.
  14. 14. Notable Presenters Alan Brazil – UEFA CUP Winner (80 League Goals) Ray Parlour – 3 Premier League and 4 FA Titles Darren Gough – 58 Test Matches and 159 ODI’s
  15. 15. Ways to Listen - Free online streaming service - DAB Digital Radio wherever you are in the country - simply search for 'talkSPORT' - On 1089 or 1053 AM - talkSPORT's App, you can Listen live 24/7 to breaking news, live commentaries, the latest sporting debate, transfer rumours and big name interviews. Plus get the latest news and features from talkSPORT.com. - Through your TV on the following channels: Sky: Channel 0108 Virgin Media: Channel 927 Freeview: Channel 723 -To listen to talkSPORT around the world you can phone to listen to the programmes, worldwide!
  16. 16. Latest Audience Figures As published on RAJAR, in the latest Quarter, from March 2015 to June 2015, the following Audience figures were recorded: The total population that the station could reach was, 53,575,000 (as it is a national station) but it had 3,033,000 listeners per week which is just 6% of the population it reaches. This is a considerable drop from 3.25 million listeners which was recorded from the previous quarter.
  17. 17. My Views I believe this figure is as a result of the station being one purely focussed on sport (a hobby) and therefore, it will narrow the demographic of people that will listen to it. Even though it is a national station, it will be difficult to draw in a large percentage of the population as it not a generalised station, providing music and news, instead, it is targeted at a niche market, which is reflective in only 6% of the population it reaches actually listening in per week. Additionally, the drop from 3.25 million to 3.03 million listeners shows that although in the first quarter of the year, the audience had increased by 8% since the previous quarter, the audience was once again dropping considerably. In my opinion, this is due to the amount of special events covered by the station decreasing in the months of March to June. Audiences will be eagerly awaiting the start of the Premier League coverage that will begin in the next quarter, which could also explain the temporary drop in figures due to the lack of consistency in the commentary that talkSPORT is broadcasting, as the league was yet to begin.
  18. 18. Hours per Listener The hours listened to per listener was 6.7 per week. In comparison to other National Stations, Absolute Radio recorded 7.7 hours, BBC Radio 2 recorded 12.2. However BBC Radio 1 had less hours per listener at 6.5. The gap between Radio 5 Live, talkSPORT’s main rival listeners and them decreased too, to 2.3 million listeners, meaning that talkSPORT’s dominance over National sports radio is slowly being threatened. However, talkSPORT owns far more broadcasting rights to sporting events than Radio 5 Live and also broadcasts globally, unlike 5 Live, meaning that talkSPORT do still have a huge advantage of the variety of sporting content they can broadcast in comparison to Five Live. Plus, talkSPORT can broadcast to a far greater, global audience, in more languages other than English, further restricting 5 Live in comparison.
  19. 19. Too much chat? These figures show that talkSPORT listeners on average don’t listen to as many hours per week as most other national radio stations. In my opinion, this is a result of no music being played upon the station. The programmes are not broken up by musical tracks or performances therefore, many people will become bored or tired of listening to talking constantly, with no reprieve. This means many more listeners will turn off the station quicker than others such as BBC Radio 2 which has a far greater diversity of programme type.
  20. 20. Target Audience The target audience for the station is males aged between 18-44 with a passion for sports. Stereotypically, males will have a greater interest in sport (however this is rapidly changing in society) and so will listen to the station more as its content is purely sport orientated. Furthermore, this is reflective by the majority of the presenters being male. It has unfortunately been proven that male listeners would prefer to listen to a male presenter discussing the sport, rather than a female, as they believe they are more passionate, knowledgeable and experienced in what they are discussing. Therefore, even though this is highly sexist, the presenter line-up will remain the same as RAJAR has proven that 84% of their audience is males and so, they will tailor their format to ensure they keep those listeners. Furthermore, it will target those with a true passion for sport as it is the only 24 hours a day sports radio station in the UK. It creates unique, intelligent and entertaining content as a result of this status. The station never focusses on any matters except from sport, or with a sporting link, in order to serve this target audience. Additionally, in my opinion, it is attempting to gain even more broadcasting rights to a greater variety of sports, such as rugby, cricket etc in order to appeal to a wider audience who have interest in other sports, rather than football too.
  21. 21. Controversy February 2003: Talksport received over 200 complaints for giving a platform to the controversial Muslim extremist cleric Abu Hamza. Hamza and his aides are invited into the station to contribute to a religious debate on The James Whale Show, alongside other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim delegates. On the night of the live broadcast, 24 February, a mass of protesters gather outside the station's London studios. Despite this, both presenter James Whale and head of programming Bill Ridley defend the station for having invited Hamza onto the programme. May 2008: James Whale was dismissed by Talksport after twice urging listeners to vote for Boris Johnson in the 2008 London Mayoral Election. The station was subsequently fined £20,000 by Ofcom in December 2008 November 2008: Rod Lucas was dropped by Talksport and claimed they "no plans to use him in the immediate future" after the membership list of the BNP which was leaked on a Google blog named him as one of its members. The station clarified that this wasn't a sacking as Lucas was only a temporary member of staff. The presenter himself claimed that his membership of the party was part of a covert research project.
  22. 22. Alan Brazil March 2004: Alan Brazil sacked by Talksport after his failure to show up to present The Sports Breakfast on Friday 19 March after spending three days at the Cheltenham Festival. Less than three weeks later, Brazil is reinstated to his role, ay 2006: Alan Brazil is reportedly given three months notice by Talksport after bust-up with the station's management. Less than two months later, Brazil and Talksport management held talks and the former Scotland international footballer signed a new long-term contract with the station. Most recently, Brazil has faced extreme controversy after making insensitive comments on his show about Robin William’s suicide, labelling it selfish, saying he didn’t have any sympathy for him, stating ‘What you leave behind is diabolical. I’m really annoyed about that.’
  23. 23. Awards 2011 – SONY Radio Station of the Year 2014 – Radio Academy Awards, Speech Radio Personality of the Year Nominee, Johnny Vaughan 2014 - Radio Academy Awards, UK Station of the Year Nominee
  24. 24. Other Stations talkSPORT is involved in one of the bids for a new national digital radio licence from Ofcom (as part of Sound Digital's bid for the second national commercial DAB multiplex.) If they’re successful, they are proposing a new station to launch in 2016 - talkSPORT 2. They promise coverage of a broad range of live sporting action from the UK and around the world along with complementary sports talk programming. These will include cricket, rugby, horse racing and athletics They will also re-launch talkRADIO, which will offer a unique take on live news, current affairs and entertainment, and talkBUSINESS, the UK’s first national radio station dedicated to business and finance. Finally, they promise to bring back iconic radio station Virgin Radio too.
  25. 25. talkSPORT South Africa In 2014, UTV were awarded a broadcast licence to launch South Africa's first 24-hour sports radio station – TalkSPORT South Africa. The medium wave licence enabled broadcasting to a potential audience of eight million people covering Gauteng province and taking in the commercial and administrative hub of Johannesburg . However, it is unclear whether or not the station has been established yet, or progressed further and it has minimal online presence – a rarity in the radio industry today.
  26. 26. Other Media They run a talkSPORT/Selco Predictor app, which can be downloaded on most smart phones and is a live results predictor, with prizes of up to £1 million if you correctly predict every result in a game week (Premier League.) They also publish ‘Sport Magazine’ which is a sport dedicated magazine, with a mix of brilliant imagery, superb writing, big name interviews and packed previews of all the weekend's sport, along with the latest male lifestyle news. It is available on the Free Sport Magazine app brings you a brand new edition every Friday, and so is easily accessible on most devices by its target audience.
  27. 27. My Views In my opinion, having these other media outlets as part of the radio station is for money purposes only. As they are a commercial station I believe, that they require other forms of creating revenue as they aren’t publically funded and rely off of profit. In my opinion, they shouldn't have these other attached projects, as it limits the attention upon the radio station which should be the main focus and also means that the budget is being spent elsewhere than the Radio Station which is a vital part of the industry as it is the only National 24 hour sports dedicated radio station in the UK. They understand these different pieces of media will appeal to their target audience, thus it is a clever tactic which I believe is morally wrong and proves that talkSPORT is no longer about broadcasting and sharing a passion for sport audibly, but its purpose is to make money and profit.

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