Yesterday, I said goodbye to an old friend. Hereward Radio, in one shape or another, has been around for about 30 years. Peterborough's first local radio station. The station you can call your own. In stereo. But as of yesterday it was gone, replaced by a big shiny new one called Heart.
Yesterday, I said goodbye to an old friend. Hereward Radio, in one shape or another, has been around for about 30 years. Peterborough's first local radio station. The station you can call your own. In stereo. But as of yesterday it was gone, replaced by a big shiny new one called Heart.Now, it would have been really easy to get all sentimental and sad about this name change, but there's really no point.
Things, like people, evolve. Move forward. Improve even. And that's exactly what is happening to the station I work on. Standing still, like in any business, is a recipe for disaster, and not one the new owners of Hereward were about to adopt.
Put simply, the days of local radio being a really easy bike to ride, have vanished.
Commercial realities kick in. And the way people consume radio (and in fact all media) has changed beyond any measure of what it was 10 or 15 years ago. You can listen on your mobile phone, through your computer, on a digital radio, and even through your television. There's also hundreds more stations than there ever was, all fighting for the same advertising dollar to make money.
In all honesty, the changes which have taken place are not all that dramatic. There will be Heart stations across not only Peterborough and East Anglia, but also the rest of the UK, so a strong brand of stations is built. And yet each station will maintain its best local bits. They have to.
So for us, myself and Abby will still do the breakfast show each weekday morning. Deeping lad Lee Warren has been promoted and will do the afternoon drivetime show. And in between, Toby Anstis starts his new networked mid-morning show. (You can get loads more information on www.heart.co.uk) There will be the same local news and travel. And here's the best bit, because it's what the research says people want, there will be even more music played, and slightly fewer ads.
Our studios have been given a fantastic facelift. We suddenly have a marketing budget to promote ourselves. And in a climate when there are sudden job losses within so many companies, ours, we are assured, are safe.
I understand the tinges of sadness from Greater Peterborough people who have grown up listening to Hereward. It's got heritage, and was well-loved. But in all honesty, all the best bits are still there, just under a different banner. So my own sadness is extremely muted by the fact that the changes are all pretty minimal. It's still on 102.7 and it's still a music driven radio station. But instead of Hereward, it's now Heart.