Thursday 22 February 2018

New radio station grooves to exclusively British music

Union Jack listeners will be able to hear everything from rock'n'roll to punk to Britpop
Union Jack listeners will be able to hear everything from rock'n'roll to punk to Britpop

A new national radio station playing exclusively British music will launch on Friday morning.

Union Jack listeners will be able to hear everything from rock'n'roll to punk to Britpop by tuning in online or via DAB+ digital radio from 11am.

Co-CEO Ian Walker said the station would be "inclusive" and would celebrate the "rich heritage of what British music has done for this country".

He told the Press Association: "The response that we got from most of the research and focus groups that we did was this is a fantastic idea, we don't hear enough British music.

"After the success of Team GB, for example, at the Olympic games, there's a real groundswell of people who are proud of the heritage of this country."

But he said that the station had in no way been inspired by Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

"We're aware that Brexit is an issue and that's a topic at the moment, but we're certainly not aligned politically at all and we don't want this radio station to be seen as a vehicle for political views to be broadcast," he explained.

"It all comes down to celebrating the success of British music and celebrating the fact that it's such a great export for this country."

Crucially, the station is planning to put the power to decide its playlist in the hands of listeners.

Using the app or website, music fans will be able to up or down vote songs, and will also be able to suggest new artists.

Walker said: "What we wanted to do with this radio station was to give up and coming rising stars the chance to be played on the radio station, because I think at the moment, from what I hear from artists that I speak to, they can't get radio airplay."

He added: "Programmers in the past have been too restrictive and they're nervous, to be honest, about letting something new go on the air because it's almost like they're scared people are going to tune out.

"Traditional radio hasn't really been at the forefront of giving new acts the ability to shine."

With the interactive element, Walker and his co-CEO Donnach O'Driscoll are planning to "gamify" the way people listen to radio.

"F or new artists, they're going to love talking to their fans about the fact that there's a radio station that's actually playing their music, and their fans will actually be able to come on to the mobile app and vote that song up to be played," Walker explained.

Union Jack will not use DJs, instead investing in comedy writing to air between songs.

Press Association

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