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ftm Radio Page - week ending September 29, 2017

A summer of distraction, loud and clear
Goodbye, oldies

No more faithful sign of autumn’s onset is the release of French research institute Médiamétrie’s summer national radio audience estimates. It is always an interesting snapshot of how French people, away from their usual routines, spent their holidays. This past summer slightly more French people were listening - 75.4% from 75.1%, year on year - and they were listening on average slightly longer - about three minutes. Sample sizes being different, comparisons with normal survey periods are impossible.

Starting with the top of the ratings, the first observation is French people this past summer tuned to news channels less. While nothing change with the top rankings - RTL and France Inter remained, in order, the top two - but both national channels with significant news and information output dropped in audience share one year on; RTL to 10.7% from 11.9% and France Inter to 9.7% from 10.8%. Regional network France Bleu, usually a homing point for holiday weather reports, was lower on aggregate; 5.8% from 6.5%. All-news France Info, however, was almost unchanged; up slightly to 3.7%. (See French national summer audience estimates trend chart here)

On the other hand, talk channel RMC moved into 3rd place for the summer, 6.9% audience share from 6.2%, year on year. Perhaps this was for the sports talk-shows. In the middle of the survey period football club Paris Saint-Germain signed Brazilian star Neymar for the astronomical sum of €220 million.

On the musical side, both NRJ (loud) and Skyrock (louder) showed increases. Cherie FM was also up, 2.9% from 2.1%, last summer’s number suspiciously low historically. Radio Classic and France Musique were up; classical music can be loud, too. Nostalgie and RTL2 were down; oldies, apparently, off for the summer.

New license scheme changes local broadcasting
otherwise, go digital

The Belgian Flemish media ministry created recently a new radio license class and assigned to it four broadcasters. The region’s FM frequency plan for local broadcasters was redrawn in April, increasing transmission range “to make the future of local radio more economically sustainable,” said the ministry statement at the time. There would be four new radio network licensees chosen for “diverse programming and diverse audience.”

Those four were revealed earlier this month: SBS Radio, Hit FM, VBRO and Stadsradio Vlaanderen. The new licenses will be effective January 1st. What disappears is the practice of local FM licensees leasing to bigger radio operators.

Broadcasters left unchosen and cut out of the previous scheme are, quite naturally, not happy. Several are appealing to the State Council. A petition to keep dance music station TOPradio on FM collected more than 55 thousand signatures, reported Flemish daily Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN) (September 24).

“There is a great injustice here,” said TOPradio director Bruno Heyndrickx. “TOPradio and Mint Radio are the channels with the largest growth opportunities in the national advertising market. They will now be replaced by two products that we know are not sustainable and, thus, cannot make quality radio.”

Culture, Youth, Media and Brussels Minister Sven Gatz indicated no possibility of a reversal. “We have worked with six independent reviewers just to avoid subjectivity. The broadcasters who do not agree can, indeed, go to the State Council or go digital via the internet or DAB.”

Radio Page week ending September 22, 2017
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Radio Page week ending September 15, 2017
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Radio Page week ending September 8, 2017
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Radio Page week ending September 1, 2017
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Radio Page week ending August 25, 2017
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Radio Page week ending August 4, 2017
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Radio Page week ending July 28, 2017
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Radio Page week ending July 21, 2017
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