Published: January 7, 2022 | Updated: January 8, 2022
Hot news: Radio station’s ‘coup’ as it appoints first commercial director and also joins RAJAR
It’s taken four years to turn around its fortunes but now – in the words of its boss – Hot Radio has “joined the big boys”.
This week the not for profit station, which covers the BCP area and beyond, welcomed its first Commercial Director, Alan Smith.
The 52-year-old sales professional has decades of radio experience.
He started his media career with the former 2CR-FM before moving to Fire Radio as Station Manager and then, following industry acquisitions, Celador Radio and, latterly, Bauer Media Group.
But, said Alan: “I’m back where I feel most comfortable on a local radio station which has its heart in the community.
“There’s massive potential here and I love the feel and ethos.
“It genuinely feels like a family and, although it may sound corny, I regard it as my family now.”
In another major development Hot Radio is also to become one of the first community radio stations in the country to join RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research).
Jointly owned by the BBC and the Radiocentre, on behalf of the commercial sector, it’s the official body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK.
Hot Radio will receive its first official audience figure in October.
Kevin Scott, Director, who took over the running of Hot Radio on January 4, 2018, said the time was right to join RAJAR as well as appoint a seasoned professional such as Alan.
He said: “The commercial side is the area we’ve left to the end but we had to get everything else right before really going out to the business community.
“I am absolutely ecstatic that Alan has decided to join us. In fact, I’m over the moon.
“Within two days of joining us we’re putting new advertisers on air thanks to Alan.
“Our message to businesses is that we’ve been here for you, especially during the pandemic, so please support us now.
“Unlike the corporates, who stream programmes from many miles away, we’re right in the community.”
Programmes on both Hot Radio and Hot Gold are broadcast from its Ringwood Road studio complex in Poole, pictured.
The station has three paid members of staff – Kevin, Sue Bright, Chair who looks after the accounts and administration, and Alan – together with 91 volunteers.
As a community asset, it’s allowed to get up to half its income from commercial advertising and the rest from donations and grants.
By day Hot Radio’s main playlist is positive and upbeat rhythmic music from the mid-90s to today’s current chart hits with the best in dance, soul and RnB.
It’s aimed predominately at a 20 to 45 year age group.
Evenings and weekends feature specialist music programmes from established local and well-known international DJ’s, specialising in playing house, garage, funk, soul, rock, reggae and more.
Sister station Hot Gold plays positive music from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Hot Radio – ‘The Rhythm of the South’ – broadcasts to the BCP conurbation on FM.
It’s also on DAB digital radio across the whole of Dorset, Hampshire and the South Coast and online or via smartspeakers.
Hot Gold – ‘The Soundtrack of your Life’ – broadcasts to the whole of Dorset on DAB digital radio and also online and on smartspeakers.
Kevin, 53, started his radio career with Bournemouth-based 107.6 The NRG – now Fire Radio 107.6 – before working at a variety of stations including the then named Spire FM in Salisbury, 3TR in Warminster and Voice FM in Southampton.
He said: “Alan’s appointment as Commercial Director is a real coup and has come at just the right time.
“Together with joining RAJAR it feels like we’ve joined the big boys.
“The next step will be to build a commercial team around Alan and I’d like to think we can start doing that from later this year.”
Alan, who’s a qualified chef and also worked for eight years as an overseas travel representative, said Hot Radio and Hot Gold had launched ‘Welcome to Radio’ advertising packages for small to medium-sized businesses.
He said: “I’m known for giving honest, frank advice.
“If it’s not right for a client I won’t suggest it, even if it means turning away money.
“Genuine local radio has really come into its own during the pandemic.
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to be working here at a real community station.”