Pop-Up Radio Stations
Sometimes it feels as if a station’s format comes and goes in a matter of days, but in the UK this week that is exactly what is going on. BBC Radio is launching its third-ever “pop-up” radio station; BBC Radio 2 Country. It is just in time for the big Country to Country Music Festival at the O2 Arena.
“There is huge growth for Country music in the UK,” BBC Radio Head of Digital Brett Spencer tells me this week on the Radio Stuff Podcast. “It’s really being led by a couple of acts here. One called Ward Thomas, two twin sisters, and another is the band called The Shires.”
The Shires released their debut album “Brave” yesterday and Sunday of next week it is likely to become the first UK Top 10 album by a UK Country act.
Creating the four-day “pop-up” radio station is quite literally a patch-work of personnel and digital space. Spencer and his small staff all have other duties and responsibilities outside of “pop-up” projects. The technology works much the same way, “We take bandwidth from lots of other radio stations in and around the BBC; other digital stations. And take some of that bit rate and compile that to allow us enough bandwidth to be able to broadcast that station.” Spencer continues, “So, things like Radio 4 which broadcasts on long wave on digital radio — that goes away for few days. We’ll degrade a couple of the other stations a little bit to allow us to broadcast. And that gives us enough over four days to power our radio station. So it appears on digital radio, you will be able to hear it on the iPlayer radio app and also on the UK Radio Player app.”
And the talent being used are from other stations too. Listeners will hear their favorite presenters as usual on Radio 2, but immediately following their regular shows, the presenters will do something else exclusively on the “pop-up” station in an effort to drive digital listening.
BBC Radio 2 Country launches at Noon UK time on Thursday, which is 7am ET, 4am PT and continues until Midnight Sunday. More details at the official BBC Radio 2 Country website.
For weekly updates on radio stuff check out the Larry Gifford Media “radio stuff” email.