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James Cridland’s International Radio Trends: Capital – Taylor’s Version

James Cridland, radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website media.info and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes podnews.net, a daily briefing on podcasting. Buy James A Coffee HERE


In the UK, national CHR station Capital has launched an additional channel, Capital (Taylor’s Version). It’s available on broadcast radio (DAB), and online via the Global Player.

It ties in with Taylor’s tour of the UK (Edinburgh, Liverpool, Cardiff and London) which are going on over the next few weeks.

I tuned in and listened for a few hours (thanks to having a daughter squarely in the target group); she was thrilled that there was an entire radio station dedicated to Taylor Swift, and enjoyed listening in the car.

They say young people don’t listen to the radio; but Capital (Taylor’s Version) has audio clips from fellow “Swifties”, all saying how excited they were at seeing Taylor Swift. One listener told us she was making friendship bracelets; another that she didn’t get tickets but her and her mother are going to stand outside the stadium for the next four fours; and another that they “were sitting outside Sainsbury’s guessing the songs – and we’ve got every one right so far!” – exactly how my daughter was listening! We were invited to send in voice notes via WhatsApp.

The station is mostly automated (with voicetracked “hand-holding” from the Capital DJs just before a commercial break), but has presenters in the late afternoon (until 7pm) and then again after 10pm – because it’s designed as the station you put on when you drive to the Taylor Swift concert.

A neat trick: it has a proper top-of-hour, as all Capital stations do, and the fun tagline “the UK’s number one Swift music station” – a little nod to the main station’s “number one hit music station”.

And, yes, it carries advertising. Of course it does.

Excellently programmed, it encapsulates what every young girl loves about Taylor Swift; and once more shows the power of a flexible transmission platform like DAB, which can ably cope with pop-up, temporary stations like this. It also means that Capital will own Taylor Swift’s fans this summer: a perfect piece of marketing for the station, and an on-ramp for new listeners.

Most impressive.

Here’s some of the imaging, including a listener voicenote and a presenter into a break, in a scoped half-hour.

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Brad Hill

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