Reload your brand – The Chris Evans Story on Virgin Radio

The UK radio market has some really big players.  BBC, Global, Bauer and Wireless it’s a busy market. Mike Cass came to Radiodays Asia to talk about stealing talent and what happened next.  Chris Evans is a famous radio broadcaster in the UK, he even shared the naming of his new twins with his listeners. Mike gave the audience a history of Chris Evans’ career in radio, TV and then his return to the Radio 2 breakfast show where he had 9.1m listeners making him the biggest show in Europe. “If there is a better broadcaster (Chris Evans) I haven’t heard of him”, said Richard Branson.  Before Chris Virgin had 447,000 weekly reach and 1.7 million weekly hours, so why did Chris leave? Chris Evans announced his departure on BBC Radio 2, it was the talk of the news in the UK – the lead story on all major stations and in print and online. And then there were the record daily app downloads for Virgin and the increase in listening (97%).  The next step was to find a partner and that’s ‘Sky’, this allows an ad break free breakfast show. It also gives exclusive content, exclusive competitions including winners going to the Grand Prix and access to big stars. There is no limit to what can be spoken about on the show, they are more than happy for the show to speak about their competitors. Because Sky has a parity with what will be spoken about on the radio, said Chris, everybody wins.  With the sponsor and the talent in place getting the audience it was decided to use just one image of Chris, one slogan, one message ‘Breakfast without Ad Breaks’, and then they told people how to listen. There was a take over of websites ‘The Sun’, plus digital bill boards and a TV commercial. The marketing team also thought about how to link the Sky branding into the marketing for the new Breakfast Show.  Launch week was a baptism by fire for some of the team in a new studio but it worked and it was great! The guest part of the show is one of the most successful parts of the show, mainly due to Chris Evans and his skills as an interviewer. The Chris Evans breakfast show podcast went to no.2 with the Reverend Rush Scott podcast, who died of cancer, people wanted to engage and listen it was a powerful piece of radio.  “We started with a bang and it only got better” Bob Supphiah, Sky’s Director of Promotions and Marketing.  The list of what the show has done since then is too long to mention but it’s a pretty amazing and innovative. The station had more downloads on the app on 21 Jan when the show started was incredible. They now have 1.5m listeners per week…no more needs to be said. 

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