In a world full of different ways to listen to your favourite radio station, how many ways to listen should we be promoting? And is frequency still important?

Back in the day, I would have argued that frequency was important; especially for some heritage commercial radio brands, and stations that actually broadcast across multiple frequencies within the same region.

Take Fox FM in Oxford for example; 102.6 in Oxford, 97.4 in Banbury. During the GCap days, the frequency was prominent on the lips logo, and even before those days, presenters would always reference 102.6 Fox FM.

But now, with over 80% of new cars across the UK having DAB pre-installed, is it time to call an end to the frequency?

Heart, after 21 years, have not only dropped their More Music Variety tagline in favour of Turn Up The Feel Good, but they’re slowing moving away from frequencies, which are now displayed in a tiny font next to the main logo.

And in reality, you never hear them at the top of the hour give any frequency, do you? “On FM, Online and on DAB Digital Radio, this is Heart”. Nice, simple, concise (And repetitive, if you have it on at work all day).

Capital, Kiss, Free, Signal 1 – you name it, stations are slowly declining in mentioning frequencies, because after all, if you love a station, you’ll happily flick through the dial until you’ve found it.

Of course, there are still stations that keep their frequency, but because it forms part of their title. 106 Jack FM in Oxfordshire for example. Better known as Jack FM, but the 106 is still referenced in on air branding.

However, this does mean you have to be careful with your marketing, both in print & online.

Take this tweet – a print advert from Heart. On first glance, if you didn’t know what the slogan meant, or what Heart was, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s some kind of fitness advert. The frequency is tiny, there’s no call to action (to visit a website or listen); it’s just promoting a show that takes place from 6am. The assumption? You’ll know what Heart is, you’ll know who the presenters are, you’ll know it’s a radio station

Although a staple in ensuring you’re broadcasting to an area, frequencies in station names, and stations referencing frequencies is ending.

Perhaps it’s the right time, given the amount of ways you can listen to radio these days. Brand names, station names are now more significant in attracting listeners. If you’ve got a reputable name, people will most likely stick and listen.


Ian Pinnell

Ian Pinnell is an award winning broadcaster & creative from Oxfordshire. He currently serves as a Trustee for two charities, and Publicity Officer for Radio Cherwell, hospital radio in Oxford.

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