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Radio Republic Keeps The Revolution Alive

Ex-Corrie actor Graeme Hawley talks about the re-birth of ‘The Rev’

Written by . Published on December 1st 2011.


Radio Republic Keeps The Revolution Alive

WHEN the popular Manchester radio station, Radio Revolution, was bought by seasoned commercial radio veteran Steve Penk in 2008, there was an air of discontent among The Rev’s DJs.

“We had to beg steal, steal and borrow everything to get it up and running,” Hawley explained. “All of the sound-proofing material was off eBay.”

Almost all of them resigned on the spot. Graeme Hawley, best known for his role as John Stape in Coronation Street, and music lover, was one of those DJs.

“We all left together,” he said. “Let’s just say we had a different idea of what the radio station should be like compared to the new ownership.”

The Rev had suffered low Radio Joint Audience Research (RJAR) figures, FM licensed radio’s way of calculating how many listeners are actually tuning into the station, but many at The Rev felt they were inaccurate.

Hawley said: “We’d do our own independent research and discover we actually had loads more listeners than RJAR were saying.”

But it wasn’t enough. The Rev, as Manchester music fans knew it, was dead.

The spirit, however, remains alive and Hawley, along with a host of help from Radio Revolution old-boys, is bringing it back in the form of Radio Republic – a new online radio station from Manchester.

“It’s Manchester DJs and Manchester radio,” said Hawley, “but obviously as it’s online people can listen all over the world.”

Graeme Hawley. Photos by Cavendish Press.Graeme Hawley. Photos by Cavendish Press.

 

The move to online was one of necessity rather than choice. When Hawley got together with mates such as Jeff Hordley, Martin Coogan and Mani, they had a budget or virtually nothing.

“We had to beg steal, steal and borrow everything to get it up and running,” Hawley explained. “All of the sound-proofing material was off eBay.”

An FM licence is expensive, and Radio Republic didn’t have any money. But Hawley believes that whilst the move to online was forced upon them, it’s opened up a lot of doors they weren’t expecting.

The DJ’s can work under no constraints now that they’re not owned by anybody. Hawley said: “It’s just us now, the playlist is there’s no playlist. The DJ’s can play whatever they like as long as they are good tunes.”

And the RJAR figures are no longer the issue they once were.

“It’s a lot easier to track the listeners now,” Hawley said. “The Mixcloud technology we use means everybody who listens for more than five minutes is registered as hit.”

The team set a target of 200 hits in their first week, but were delighted when they saw listeners tip the 2,000 mark after just five days, using only Twitter and Facebook to get the word out.

Hawley said: “It was nice to see that the listeners we always thought existed, were actually there.”

For now the shows are recorded and uploaded to the Radio Republic site for download or stream, as podcasts, but Hawley hopes to start recording live shows soon.

“It’s just costs at the minute,” he said. “We want to get back into recording live shows, but we need to sort out a few cost and licensing issues.”

Music fans can find Radio Republic at www.radiorepublic.net featuring shows by Phil Beckett and Martin Coogan, Kate Coogan, Jeff Hordley, Graeme Hawley and more.

 Follow David on Twitter @DavidPMcCourt

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