Media Analysis: Appealing to the breakfast crowd

Breakfast radio is ripe territory for capturing millions of Britons as they awake from their slumbers. As some of the most high-profile slots change hands Joe Lepper investigates the PR opportunities these shows provide.

With Chris Moyles taking over Radio 1's breakfast programme this month and Johnny Vaughan poised to take over from Chris Tarrant on Capital FM, the flagship breakfast radio slot is taking on a more laddish feel.

Such shows, with their vast - and vastly suggestible - audiences, have always taken pride of place in media agendas for mass-market consumer brands. But as Markettiers 4DC managing director Howard Kosky, warns: '(Moyles and Vaughan) are just two presenters. There's 340 other breakfast radio presenters out there. What's going to appeal to them? That's what PROs need to be asking.'

Try to think what makes DJs tick

Former Radio 1 head of press Paul Simpson says: 'There's a lot of research about the breakfast radio audience, but PROs need to take that one step further and find out what makes the DJs tick.'

The latest figures from radio audience measurement body Rajar suggest that listeners are prone to switching stations to find the personality that most appeals to them.

The figures, covering June to September last year, showed that Sara Cox, Moyles's predecessor, lost 130,000 listeners, while Virgin's Pete and Geoff increased their audience by 9.2 per cent nationally. In London, Tarrant lost 342,000, while Kiss 100's Bam Bam gained an audience of 651,000 and Xfm's Christian O'Connell 258,000.

Joe Dyble, divisional head at the radio-specialist PR shop The Radio Consultancy, says preparation and flexibility are invaluable assets for PROs targeting breakfast shows. 'Find out when their programme meetings are and make someone available before 9am,' he advises. 'It means getting up a bit earlier, but it's worth it.'

One radio insider says: 'If someone wanted to get a presenter to a film premiere, they might be better going through the press office. This is a PR opportunity for us as well.

'In other cases it would be better to go to the relevant show's producer, or sometimes direct to the entertainment department. It's important that PR people know and understand how we work.'


Rachel Jones producer

The Chris Moyles Show

What is your target audience and which subjects interest them?

'It's 15 to 24 year-olds. Entertainment, showbusiness, music and sport, particularly football.'

Give us an example of a typical great story brought to you by a PR professional/agency

'Link-ups with TV are good. We did something with Big Brother; we helped each other out.'

How and when should PR professionals get in touch with you?

'Email me or the production assistant. I leave the office at 1pm, but there is a voicemail message with a contact name. I'll look at my emails when I'm in at 4am.' Describe a typical great call from a PR professional

'Nuts, the new lads' magazine, contacted us last month to tell us what they were about. We haven't done anything on it yet, but they've established contact.'

And a bad call?

'Someone who's unsure of themselves, who doesn't even sound convinced of what they are promoting.'


Tony Moorey producer

The Pete and Geoff Show

What is your target audience and which subjects interest them?

'It's 25 to 44 year-old men and women. At that time in the morning we want to give them anything that will put a smile on their faces.'

Are there any particular PR tactics likely to warm you up

'One sweet firm did its research and sent a personalised letter to Pete and Geoff mentioning places they grew up in. They also sent a package that was skewed to nostalgia.'

What's the best way to get in touch? And when are you available?

'By phone or email. The best time to call is between 10am and 1pm.'

What annoys you about PRs - something they should avoid?

'Anybody coming in dressed up in an animal suit. There's nothing sadder than seeing someone looking embarrassed, dressed as a giant dog in the reception.'

But surely there must be ways of impressing you as well?

'Something that's genuine, and that they think will be good for us, rather than just being on some mail list.'

HEART 106.2

Nick Pitts producer

Jono and Harriet at Breakfast

What is your target audience and which subjects interest them?

'Women aged between 25 and 44. Their interests are celebrity, lifestyle, fashion, health and fitness, socialising, new bars to go to, eating out and holidays.'

What is likely to impress you about a pareticular PR firm?

'One that shows they understand the audience we are targeting.'

Give us one example of a great story brought to you by a PR person?

'Surveys are always a good way in, especially those with a London angle; they often give us something to hang a phone topic around during the show.'

And what's likely to miss the spot?

Our strap line is 'Get up with a Giggle', so there's no point in phoning us with something really depressing.'

Technically, how and when should PR professionals get in touch with you?

'If it's a press release, email and post. If they have to phone, be brief and to the point. Best time to call is between 11am and 2pm.'

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