Just been listening to a new radio station, both the most and least diverse in the history of broadcasting.
Same fm plays every kind of music every day. Light classical in the early morning, Rock around the clock, for fifteen minutes every other hour on the hour, a symphony in the afternoon … even a poem every other hour on the other hour. And jazz in the wee small hours. But the reason for its name and its USP — well, its Point which is certainly Unique, but, many would say, not exactly Selling, is that it plays exactly the same pieces, in the same recordings, at the same time each day.
At least the announcers, the DJs, the continuity people, are ‘live’ — even though they say exactly the same words at the same times each day. And the adverts are equally unchanging, which will make things interesting if one of the sponsors ever wants to change or goes out of business.
But this isn’t as gimmicky or even downright nuts as it sounds, insists the station’s founder, Nerys Weems.
“People want a station that’s familiar, that they can return to like an old sofa”, she says. “It’s not as if there aren’t a hundred stations out there where things change every day.”
So, if you are particularly fond of Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic’s 1975 recording of Anton Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony, you always know where you can find it at three in the afternoon. And perhaps insomniacs will enjoy knowing that they can hear the same selection of easy listening hits in the wee small hours every sleepless night, even if shift workers might go elsewhere in search of a little less predictability.
Weems also points out that many well-known cable channels on television now show same stuff over and over, but in unpredictable ways. Looking closely at the schedules for movie, crime and comedy channels shows that they can only really afford the rights to a certain number of programmes at any given time.
“You might have to keep scanning the schedules of Gold to find that episode of The Good Life that you love, but if you’re a particular fan of Philip Larkin reading This Be The Verse, with Same fm, you know you can hear it at 11pm — every night, should you wish to.”
It remains to be seen if this channel will catch on, perhaps spawning many imitators with their own line-up — or whether the gimmick will rapidly wear thin. But your reviewer must be off now, as he notices (without even having to check their website) it’s time for Led Zeppelin.
It’s not been a long time since Rock and Roll. Twenty-three hours and fifty-six minutes to be precise. Well, as the station’s publicity says, “The more things change, the more you need Same fm”.