The declining state of British radio

I have worked in radio for many years, including periods as a BBC freelancer and time spent owning and running independent radio networks. I have watched the gradual demise of real 'local' radio, overtaken by giant networks playing out the same boring playlists and presentation links from centralised studios, and seen the local BBC networks lose more and more funding and support, and going much the same way.

The only stations that seem to promote new or indie talent these days, are the small Internet based radio stations and local community radio, both of which usually have very small listener bases. So what can unknown and unsigned artists do to get airtime?

You can of course, market your music directly through the public online platforms, but even then, to reach the kind of numbers you need to get a return, means spending thousands of pounds of marketing and advertising in the hope enough people will buy and download your product.

In our case with Tall Stories on Short Street, our only regular airplay to date has been on Internet networks in Canada and New Zealand (at least THEY can hear how good our product is!). I have pushed it very hard to BBC Radio 2 here in the UK with absolute zero response, and I feel sorry for all the excellent musicians who took part in the making of the album FREE OF CHARGE, whose only possible return was from airplay (PPL) and performance via sales.

I probably won't bother making a follow-up or any further albums from hereon other than for my own enjoyment, after all what is the point? How can I continue to ask freelance musicians to keep working for nothing?

In my opinion, not only is the radio industry ageist, it is also still 'governed' by the larger record labels and the majority of the playlists prove this. BBC Introducing was encouraging when it started out and for a very small minority, it has ended up in national airplay and festival appearances etc.

I am about the announce the final single from the album shortly, after consultation with Tim Bragg and if it again falls short of airplay, then I see no further place to go with what is a VERY GOOD, well-produced album, with a wide variety of potential hit songs.

Sorry about the downbeat blog this week, but I feel battered and bruised by radio's decision makers :(

Ross Hemsworth


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