In the late 1980’s, exploiting a loophole in the broadcast law of the time, an upstart new pop music station began broadcasting to the UK from a gigantic 250 metre transmission mast in Ireland. The presentation style and music choice were fresh, irreverent and unpredictable. It became (unofficially) the UK’s first national commercial radio station, armed and ready to disrupt an entire industry. This… was Atlantic 252 and it was a great listen! If you could hear it, that is. As it could only be found on the ‘long wave’ radio band.
“Right time – wrong place”, was how one programmer described the new venture.
While a Radio 1 spokesperson went further, suggesting that the launch was… “Like opening a Victorian Lantern Theatre – next to the Odeon Leicester Square”.
With their desperately poor quality reception, the fact that the “Long Wave Giant” - as they became known, managed to keep going for 13 years in all, was a testament to the station’s never say die spirit. But in truth, it was little short of a miracle that they lasted even 13 months.
It’s a shame they didn’t wait a decade or two to enter the commercial radio market with their game-changing format. They’d have discovered that today’s broadcast landscape is no longer confined to quaint parts of a traditional receiver dial. But one liberated by DAB, Freeview Radio, Unlimited Fibre, Connected Devices, Online Players, Bluetooth and cars with Interactive Dashboards and Wi-fi.
And the more competition that ‘traditional’ radio is perceived to be up against, the more it seems to thrive. According to the industries regular independent Rajar figures, which show that listening via DAB digital radio and connected online devices continues to blossom.
Sure, the outlets for us to obtain our entertainment are multiplying, but in tandem with that, so are the opportunities to listen and interact with our favourite broadcasters. Whether via that multitude of connected devices, or a good old fashioned transistor set.
Atlantic 252 suffered the fate of so many pioneers. But they’ll certainly be remembered, as trailblazers who had the right idea, just sadly… on the wrong platform.
In today’s radio world though, there really is no such thing as the wrong platform. For you, your business, or your brand. So talk to the creative specialists here at Get Carter Productions, about the benefits of producing a creative radio campaign for any audio outlet. And don’t worry… we definitely won’t be recommending ‘long wave’!