Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Hang the DJ as 2XM cut back on talk

The digital switch-on has begun in earnest at RTÉ with plans announced this week for six trial digital radio stations. The stations, including RTÉ Junior for children and RTÉ Gold for classic hits fans, will initially be accessible to DAB …

Fri, Jun 15, 2007, 09:58

   

The digital switch-on has begun in earnest at RTÉ with plans announced this week for six trial digital radio stations.

The stations, including RTÉ Junior for children and RTÉ Gold for classic hits fans, will initially be accessible to DAB radio set holders in Dublin and along the north-east coast.

The most interesting of the six debutantes is 2XM, which according to RTÉ’s digital music co-ordinator Mark McCabe, will specialise in new music.

“These days, everyone has their own iPods and music collections, but they might not have the time to be continuously updating their music. That’s where 2XM comes in. We’re a music source which will be constantly updated.”

2XM will operate as a DJ-free station, a policy which London station XFM has also recently embraced. “We did a lot of research about the exact kind of services people wanted from a station,” explains McCabe. “The feedback we got was that people were sick of DJs talking crap so we got rid of them.”

McCabe admits this may change as the station evolves (“We’re planning to broadcast from the various summer festivals, so there may be changes as we provide content which is relevant to the audience”), but he is adamant about 2XM’s music policy.

“The main thing about 2XM is the music. Daytime radio is daytime radio and commercial radio is always going to be commercial, so this is an outlet for music you wouldn’t usually hear at 2pm.

“After all, Mary the hairdresser in Carlow who has 2FM on in the background doesn’t want to hear an Arctic Monkeys or Klaxons b-side in the afternoon. But 2XM could, for instance, broadcast a session recorded for the Dan Hegarty show at that time and reach a different audience. What 2XM is today is not necessarily where it will be in six months or a year.”

A lot depends on the public’s reaction to and uptake of digital radio. “If people don’t go and buy the radio sets, digital radio is dead in the water,” says McCabe bluntly.

However, a big demand could conceivably lead to more stations. “RTÉ is a content provider and we have the resources to put on air a station of any genre in a cost-effective way,” explains McCabe.

“Your TV licence could well be paying for 20 different stations down the road.”

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