Sharing ideas about money. But will it make any? We try and understand London’s new all-talk financial radio station.

Listened In is 2ZY’s regular air-check blog, where we listen to a random twenty minute sample of a station or programme in the news.

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WHO  Unidentified man and Louise Cooper.

WHAT  Morning Money on Share Radio

WHEN  0700, Wednesday 8 April 2015

News: BG/Shell Merger, Super Rich Tax, French Air Strike, Passport Scans, Deflation, South Carolina Police shooting, Greedy House Prices

ID: Morning Money on Share Radio

Reads markets information.

ID: Morning Money on Share Radio (the same one as above)

Reads Sport

ID: Morning Money: the Markets, the Papers, and the City. Today’s ‘need to know’ on Share Radio.

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There is a slightly laboured intro, cluttered with too many ways for the listener to get involved (and in the next twenty minutes, no-one does) and it includes the wonderful sentence, “Today you need to know that Japan has posted its biggest current account surplus in three and a half years.”

Male presenter sounds unsure as he gets back into the show “We’re gonna get straight to the big news that has just been announced, Lousie is with me back in the studio.”

Then suddenly it all comes alive and shows the potential of this station. Louise is a bit of a star. She’s on to talk about the BG/Shell merger, a big, breaking, financial news story. And clearly she knows her stuff. There’s great discussion and commentary as she picks apart the announcement. “There’s 49 pages, and I’m only on page 2,” she jokes then someone appears with more information, “Oh look, some more pages have arrived.”

There’s a good bit where they explain that ‘pre-tax synergies’ actually means ‘cost cutting’. “You can cut half a board away if you have one company or two.”

ID: Morning Money: the Markets, the Papers, and the City. Today’s ‘need to know’ on Share Radio.

Recaps headline on the big story and some more ‘need to know’s. Throws ahead to ‘Consuming Issues with Georgie Frost’, and her savings expert and – “would you buy a house with a perfect stranger?”

ID: Share Radio Traffic and Travel

Perfunctory read.

ID: Morning Money on Share Radio

Introduces a segment summing up some airline figures and results with John Grant from OAG, who is introduced by some Wikipedia reading out. “OAG, formerly Official Airline Guide, is a United Kingdom-based business providing aviation information and analytical services sourced from its proprietary airline schedules, flight status, fleet, MRO and cargo logistics databases.”

“I’ve got Louise, Louise Cooper with me, market analyst and commentator.”

John’s also a great guest (on the phone) and knows his stuff. “We’re in the Summer Season – so welcome to European discontent”

Good chat about mergers and acquisitions in the airline industry and how airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet are so much better than heritage carriers at filling their planes. “We have 168 airlines in Europe. In China, there are 29.”

SUMMARY

From this listen, here’s a great little radio station – in desperate need of a programmer. They’ve done the difficult job – finding good contributors who know their stuff. Trouble is, they’ve been let loose in the wild open empty spaces of speech radio without a sat nav.

When they’re mid-discussion, it’s very good. But around the important edges – the lubrication, the hour open, the plodding station sound, the BBC Local Radio circa 1982 show names – it’s a all a bit lacklustre. Especially when your speech competitors are Radio 4 and LBC. Share has a clear point of difference. And it’s using it well – look at the stories in the news at 7. That’s a mix of stories you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. Even if their inflection was a bit “The Day Today”. Louise didn’t get a surname until nearly at the end of the 20 minute listen. And I still don’t know who the main presenter was.

If you have a strap like ‘need to know’, make sure it’s stuff I need to know. I don’t even know what “Japan’s current account surplus” means, let alone why I ‘need to know’ it. And here’s another problem – who is this station for? Even in the discussion of the top merger story (which had pace and excitement and carried me along – no mean feat) they used some financial terms that a layman wouldn’t have a clue about. I guess the Share Radio issue is that to explain too much annoys your pink newspaper readers. To explain too little leaves the casual listener cold.

More worryingly, on a commercial radio station about money, there was no commercial content in my whole listen (and for another ten minutes after). No sponsor tags, no ad breaks, no S&P.

So what it has is good financial journalists. What it needs is a big dose of radio thinking, and a clearer, better-communicated idea of what it is and who it’s for.

 

Not that kind of Cher.

Not that kind of Cher.

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