Media: 'Quirky' content still a hit for Evans

BBC Radio 2's breakfast show pulled in a record 8.1 million weekly listeners at the end of last year, making the show Europe's most popular breakfast programme and a coveted target for PR professionals.

This means Chris Evans was always going to have a tough job proving himself to the 'Togs' (Terry's Old Geezers and Gals) after taking over from the much-loved Terry Wogan as presenter of the show last month.

The presenter comes with a mixed reputation, having left Radio One's breakfast show under a cloud after just two years in 1997.

Thankfully, critics and PROs alike have largely been favourable to the ginger one thus far.

Taylor Herring managing partner James Herring comments: 'Production-wise, the show certainly feels very interactive and engaging.'

The show's executive producer Helen Thomas, part of the entire production team that came across with Evans from the former drivetime slot, says the team enjoys a good relationship with PR professionals.

She welcomes 'good topical ideas or relevant information, which Chris can then relay to the audience'.

But this being the BBC, product placement is not permissible and product names are not mentioned.

Also, apart from the mystery guest - a daily feature in which Evans interviews a topical mystery guest - the show does not have an interview slot. Nor does it feature a competition. For this reason, PROs will largely need to look for non-traditional opportunities.

Catherine Bayfield, Shout Communications director, advises selling stories with personality: 'Evans still likes quirky, slightly eccentric stories - the sort you'd talk about in the pub with your mates.' But she notes: 'He's toned it down slightly as a concession to the Togs, with a matey, cosy feel to the show and not too much celebrity razzmatazz.'

Bayfield adds that she normally sells into Thomas directly, who typically likes two to three days' notice and an email first, followed by a phone call.

Markettiers4dc editorial managing director Helen Moore says: 'My main tip would be to build relationships at this stage, be selective in the guests you offer, and if you're doing something creative that might get them out of the studio for a feature, then give it a punt.'

Moore adds that production team member Johnny Saunders is often interested in hearing about sports guests for the show's 'sporting challenge' slot.

USP Content head of broadcast and digital PR Louise Gardner advises: 'Know the audience demographic. For example, the average age of a BBC Radio 2 listener is 49, yet it appeals to a younger and wider audience. Any research or surveys must be robust.

'And spokespeople must be knowledgeable and reputable in what they are talking about - not just a celeb fronting a brand for the sake of it.' A MINUTE WITH ... Helen Thomas, executive producer, Chris Evans Show

- Who listens to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show?

The show appeals to a wide family audience, including those getting ready for school and work, and those who are retired.

- What has changed on the show since Evans came on board?

Similarly to Wake up to Wogan, The Chris Evans Breakfast Show is aimed at a broad 35+ audience and features a wide range of quality music from across the decades, listener interaction, news, Pause for Thought, and travel news with Lynn Bowles. The show contains a number of elements not previously featured in the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, including The Friday Sporting Challenge, Moira's Golden Oldie, The Wrong Bongs, Top Tenuous and Head to Headlines.

- Describe your relationship with PROs

We welcome contact from those PROs who approach us with good topical ideas. For example, this week an on-air conversation about bluebells resulted in contact from The Woodland Trust, which was able to clarify the best time of year for listeners to see the flowers.

- How should PROs pitch to the show?

The best way to contact the show is via email - and every email is read by a member of the team daily. If there is good editorial content, a member of the team will be in contact.

QUICK FACTS

Listeners Not yet available, but Terry Wogan pulled in 8.1 million listeners a week (source: Rajar)

Transmission time Monday to Friday from 7.05am

Website bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/chris-evans/

Launched 8 January 2010

Owner BBC

Contact email chris.evans @bbc.co.uk and follow up with a call to Helen Thomas

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