CEO Today - May 2022

Listen to Boom Radio here: You’ve had a long career in the UK radio industry, working with some of the biggest brands. What were the key challenges in getting Boom Radio on the airways, and as a startup, how does it compare with being the boss of big business? What we are doing nowwas impossible just a few years ago. In order to run a radio station then you had to “win” a licence from the regulator (OFCOM) for an FM frequency, or alternatively spend a few million pounds buying an existing operation. Only the advent of DAB with its increased capacity — and the rise of online streaming — has allowed operators to simply start up a station if they think they have a good idea. So building a business up from scratch was exciting — and highly risky — and a completely different experience to big boardrooms. I’d highly recommend it! The biggest hurdle to getting on the air was the fact we were launching during a pandemic. This inevitably meant we had to build a “remote” operation, with presenters working from home, doing their shows in sheds, spare bedrooms and attics. In the end, this has been the making of us. We couldn’t have attracted the line-up of talent we have if we’d said to our team they had to come into some plush London studios. Most are semi or almost completely retired. Working from home was a gift for them, providing a new lease of life. We have presenters all over the country — and three beaming in from Spain! One significant change from running a big group is that I don’t think David and I have ever been so close to our listeners. Boom has a completely flat structure so we are incredibly close to what’s going on. We see our minute-by-minute streaming numbers every day; we get feedback on Facebook all the time; we already have close to 10,000 listeners on our database, and they respond enthusiastically to our regular surveys. And their feedback has been amazing – they are constantly telling us howwe have transformed their lives, bringing back music they thought they’d never hear again and supplying the companionship they thought they’d lost from the bigger stations. It’s been really moving for us, this late in our careers, to feel we are still making a difference. What do the next five years look like for BoomRadio? Our internal motto for the station is to help our listeners live their best lives – “still busy living” is our ethos. I’d hope in five years’ time that’s exactly what we are still doing. David is 61 and I’m 62 so we’ve got a few years left in us. Our long-term goal for Boom is to reach 1 million listeners and I think we are well on the way. But we know it will be hard – you have to win people over one at a time. And along the way to those goals we want to continue having fun. Radio is the best business in the world in my opinion, and I’m glad I’m still in it. THE CEO INTERVIEW

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